Dubai’s falafel goes to New York

UAE-based restaurant chain opens branch in the ‘Big Apple’

Dubai, United Arab Emirates – AWJ Investments has announced the successful opening of Operation: Falafel’s first international location in New York. Marking the ongoing success of the holding group which currently runs 12 unique culinary concepts across 38 outlets in the Middle East.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of its international expansion plans the established and beloved UAE homegrown brand, Operation: Falafel opened its first store in June, in one of the food capitals of the world, New York City. The first store is located at 232, 7th Avenue Chelsea, Manhattan, and channels Operation: Falafel’s distinctive restaurant design, that has impressed diners visiting the new hotspot. The almost 2000 sq ft restaurant seats 60 and serves even more for take-out and delivery options. 

As the first location in AWJ Investments international portfolio, the new restaurant has seen huge success within its first few weeks, with sales exceeding targets by 40% within the first week.

The popular restaurant chain, known for its modern twist on casual Middle Eastern street food, offers an adapted menu for the Western market as well as the classics including shawerma, pitas, bowls, salads, hummus and of course the brand’s namesake, falafel.

Manhal Naser, Group CEO and Co-Founder of AWJ Investments, says: “With the UAE celebrating 50 years of prosperity, development, and inclusivity we wanted to pay homage to our home and continue to break moulds as a proud UAE homegrown pioneer moving into the western market.

“Our goal following the onset of the pandemic was to continue with our global expansion, which we have successfully completed with the opening of our New York location. We are thrilled to still be in a position to share real Middle Eastern street food with the world, taking a monumental step into western markets. We’ve seen an increase in interest in franchise opportunities, proving the success of the dine in and delivery concept in the market.”

“Customer feedback has been exceptional, in terms of flavour, the quality and freshness of our dishes as well as value for money. By remaining authentic to our brand roots, we are able to achieve a perfect balance that provides customers a healthy, delicious, affordable and on-trend dining experience in an effective operational model. We’re looking forward to welcoming more customers into our new location.”

The success of the opening has proved encouraging for AWJ Investments, with the company now accelerating its plans to open more outlets across the Big Apple, including 10 stores in the Downtown area of Manhattan and signing a further 350 units throughout the USA by 2023. Operation: Falafel will also continue its growth mission by opening France and UK in the coming months.


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