Successful Mediterranean quick-service restaurant chain continues expansion
Shawarma Press, the leading Mediterranean cuisine quick-service franchise, has one thing to say about their growing success and expansion during the past five years: it would not have been possible without their loyal and dedicated employees. With National Food Service Employee Day on September 25, Shawarma Press co-founders Sawsan Abublan and Dr. Ehap Sabri, are recognizing and thanking all the chefs, managers, line cooks, cashiers, and all crew members who are integral to making the restaurants run smoothly.
“With appreciation and amazement, we are looking back five years ago to our humble beginnings in Irving when we opened the first Shawarma Press with just five employees,” said Abublan. “Despite some challenges during the pandemic, our employees worked diligently to help us stay open. Today, it is remarkable that we are celebrating six locations throughout Texas and have close to 50 employees to thank for our success.”
Food service is the second-largest industry in the United States. According to DataUSA, more than 12 million were employed in the food service industry in 2019. The special day of recognition occurs annually on September 25 and is set aside to recognize restaurant and food service staff members. Although the restaurant and hospitality industry are currently experiencing unprecedented labor shortages, Shawarma Press is taking measures to support and encourage its employees.
“Initially, some applicants are drawn to us because we pay well above the minimum wage,” explained Abublan. “But they also learn very quickly there are opportunities for growth and that we promote from within. We have promoted entry level cashiers and line cooks to leadership and management positions after gaining essential experience and skills, and we support everyone with training and incentives.”
Abublan also believes it’s the little things that count and go a long way towards boosting employees’ morale. Birthdays are celebrated monthly with parties and recognition, and exceptional work is often rewarded with gift cards and raises. The team at one location received a well-deserved celebration for earning an “A+” rating from the City health inspector for five years in a row. Efforts to continually recognize employees for their achievements has resulted in the restaurant’s original core team remaining firmly onboard.
“Since we first opened in 2017, four of our five core team members are still with us,” Abublan said. “We are really proud and fortunate to have this kind of continuity.”
Noted for its authentic Mediterranean food and commitment to healthy menu offerings, Shawarma Press is operating in six locations throughout Texas, including Arlington, Plano, San Antonio, Georgetown, Frisco, and the company’s flagship headquarters in Irving. The restaurants feature innovative Mediterranean dishes, including shawarma wraps made with all-natural chicken and premium beef, made-from-scratch hummus and falafel, and fresh soups, salads, and pastries. From the authentic Chicken and beef Shawarmas, the spicy Tandoori Press and the media-featured Tex-Mex Press, Shawarma Press offers delicious, nourishing, heart-healthy selections guests can feel good about. The menu reflects the brand’s alignment with the Mediterranean Diet, consistently ranked as the healthiest diet in the world, and a nutrition calculator is available on the website to assist guests who are curious or following restricted diets. With inspired menu items, an enthusiastic workforce, and plans for steady expansion, Dr. Ehap Sabri said Shawarma Press will open as many as 100 restaurants at stand-alone locations and inside Walmart stores during the next five years.
“We have several locations throughout Texas in development, but we are also excited about having restaurants in Kansas, Georgia, and Florida in the pipeline,” Sabri said.
Proudly serving made from scratch, authentic Mediterranean cuisine, Shawarma Press incorporates chicken and beef shawarma into a variety of wraps, bowls, and platters, with additional homemade staples like falafel, hummus, and pastries. Shawarma Press serves up a diverse menu that bursts with authentic and fusion flavors to please a wide variety of palates from the conservative to the adventurous. The company stands true to its core values of Social Responsibility, Integrity, Trustworthiness, and Excellence. These values are also extended to its customers and community. The business engages with local charities to ease families’ hunger and give back to the community, something that started locally, but one day will expand globally.
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