For every $20 in sales, Falafel Inc. will donate $1; which is enough to feed a refugee for 2 days. “We will literally take total sales on a weekly basis, every Sunday, and make the donation via the ShareTheMeal app,” Ashkar says. Ashkar’s goal is to grow the concept of Falafel Inc through franchising and reach a point where he can target donations directly to refugees in the Middle East.
Ashkar wants to hire and train refugees, give them the opportunity to move up through the ranks until they can get their own franchises. The Falafel Inc model is designed to be simple to make the task of starting a business less daunting: all that is needed is a fryer and a small oven in a 700 to 800 square feet space.
Ashkar says he is inspired by the founder of McDonald’s and that his story convinced him that franchises are “for the little guy. They are the best way to create and grow jobs and take a hard working ‘average Joe’ and turn them into a thriving entrepreneur.”
“People associate refugees with bad things in the West like terrorism and bringing conflict and crime to communities… We need to be proactive, not reactive, in generating opportunities for them before the problem gets too big.” With Falafel Inc., he says, “We really hope this brand will raise awareness, create jobs, and restore dignity to refugees who work for us and around the world.”
Ashkar wants to open 100 Falafel Inc. franchises, which would be enough to feed a million refugees for an entire year. He has already made partnerships with entrepreneurs in Los Angeles, Dubai and Boston. His ambition goes beyond Falafel inc: “I created the falafel concept, and then I’ll reverse engineer it for five to 10 other brands that fall under a ‘food for good’ category.”
“As a Palestinian who went to Catholic school, I can say food is the ultimate equalizer,” Ashkar says. “Everyone can agree on a delicious, satisfying meal.”