#075 – Ahmed Abouelenein: How The Halal Guys Brought Halal (and the White Sauce!) to America
August 14, 2018
In 1990, you had to go out to Queens if you wanted a Halal meal in New York City. So the three original Halal Guys – Muhammed Abouelenein, Ahmed Elsaka, and Abdelbaset Elsayed – opened up a food cart for all of the hungry taxi drivers. Today, that food cart has grown into a fast casual restaurant with new locations opening up throughout the world – an entrepreneurial success story if I’ve ever heard one!
To learn more about this incredible story and how The Halal Guys is growing like crazy today, I sit down with Ahmed Abouelenein, CEO of The Halal Guys and son of one of the founders.
“During all these years, day and night, The Halal Guys was there for our customers. Whenever customers came to us, we were there. And that’s not something everyone did. During hurricanes, snow storms, all of that – we were there!” –Ahmed Abouelenein
We also discuss:
How the original food cart found a huge and hungry audience
What does “Halal” mean?
Growing up in Egypt
Working at the original cart during the summers
The restaurant’s distinctive yellow branding was actually taken from NYC cabs!
The Halal Guys were the only cart open in the city during Hurricane Sandy
What’s on The Halal Guys menu
The distinctive Halal Guys “white sauce”
Beginning to franchise with Fransmart in 2014
Just four years after beginning to franchise, the Halal Guys currently has 76 locations open!!
The Halal Guys name actually didn’t exist until around 2006
How they monitor and assure that all of their product is genuinely Halal
Ahmed Abouelenein is the CEO of The Halal Guys and son of one of The Halal Guys founders, Mohammed Abouelenein. Ahmed grew up working the original cart on 53rd and 6th and in 2007, became CEO. Since then, he has grown the concept to more than 70 locations within North America, Indonesia, South Korea and the Philippines through franchising with Fransmart.
I love the world of food and beverage, everything about it, it’s soo damn sexy! Every time we eat and drink it ignites us sensually…the look, texture, taste, smell, sound all in a unique combination, encapsulating a moment in time. The act of sharing a meal with friends, chatting, eating, and drinking together is so forking perfect. It is a feeling that echoes a sense that All Is Good! Very, Very good!