Emerging fast-casual brand eyes greater expansion plans after numerous successes helped grow brand’s SoCal footprint, fanbase
Apóla Greek Grill fans know it as home to the ‘Most Authentic Greek Gyro you can get without buying a plane ticket!’ Now that there are more locations, and the secret is out, Apola is looking to build on that success.
2022 was a banner year for the emerging fast casual brand, as it celebrated its fifth anniversary by doubling in size with two new locations along with delicious new menu items, all while showing support for the community. Looking ahead to 2023 and beyond, Apola’s goal is to become the go-to restaurant for Greek cuisine across more of California while continuing its commitment to treating its customers like family.
“We can’t say enough about the work our team did across the board in 2022,” said Apola Co-Founder Yianni Kosmides. “From celebrating five fabulous years, to opening two restaurants and gaining more traction across Southern California, we could not have imagined this past year being any more successful, especially being so closely removed from a global struggle.”
While many small brands fought to survive after the plethora of issues from the COVID-19 pandemic, Apola still thrived in a big way. The brand set its sights on expansion and ended the fourth quarter of 2022 with a bang, opening its first franchise-owned restaurant – a food court anchor inside the Galleria at Tyler shopping center in Riverside – and launched a partnership with Cloud Kitchens to open a location within its ghost kitchen in Anaheim.
The brand’s expansion was the perfect gift for its fans, helping celebrate Apola’s fifth anniversary of its original Irvine location on Sept. 1 – National Gyro Day. The event saw thousands of customers join in on the fun and festivities with giveaways for prizes, Apola-branded gear, gift cards and $5 gyros.
Apola’s fifth anniversary also served as the inspiration for its holiday giveback campaign, with the brand donating 5% of all proceeds from the sales of Apóla Pita Sandwiches, Plates, and Bowls to Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County through Jan. 5 to raise money for the non-profit. Apola also gifted each of its employees five paid hours to volunteer at Second Harvest’s food bank or farm.
“We’re growing and wanted to celebrate that success with the community and employees,” said Co-founder Stefano Kosmides. “We started Apola as a small, family business and built a loyal following with our fans because of that atmosphere. As we continue to expand, we don’t want to lose that connection with our customers or communities.”
That connection also included the addition of new meatless options for its vegetarian and vegan customers as well as a decadent baklava cheesecake for those with a sweet tooth. The updated menu, coupled with the new locations helped Apola increase its overall sales in 2022 and drew the interest of local restauranter Caroline Daniel as its newest franchise partner.
Daniel is now monitoring construction of Apola’s fifth SoCal location with plans to open in the first half of 2023 in Valencia. Apola has its sights set on opening an additional two restaurants in the state and will also be redesigning the interior of its new locations to lower build-out costs and shorten construction time. With three new restaurants operating by early 2024, Apola would have seven locations systemwide.
Apola Greek Grill has been featured locally in The Los Angeles Herald and California Telegraph, and on the lifestyle TV show This is LA. The emerging concept was ranked fifth in Fast Casual’s prestigious “Brands to Watch” in 2021.
Apóla Greek Grill is taking the United States by storm with its authentic Greek cuisine. Founded by brothers Yianni and Stefano Kosmides in Irvine, Calif., the fast-casual brand has gained a loyal following throughout SoCal for its fresh ingredients and familiar vibe. It is best known for serving the ‘Most Authentic Greek Gyro you can get without buying a plane ticket!’ Despite having only two family-owned locations in Irvine and Yorba Linda, Calif., Apóla was ranked No. 5 on Fast Casual’s “Brands to Watch” in 2021. To learn more about Apóla Greek Grill or to view the full menu, visit eatapola.com or follow Apóla on Instagram.
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