In this exclusive Q&A, we get to learn more about Naf Naf Grill from its CEO, Paul Damico.
Franchise Chatter (FC): Can you share a little bit about the Naf Naf Grill concept and how it originated?
Paul Damico (PD): Naf Naf Grill was founded in 2009 by the late Sahar Sander who wanted to create a restaurant that embodied the welcoming hospitality and amazing flavors that are prevalent in the Middle Eastern culture. The word Naf Naf means to “fan the flame” on the grill and is used as an invitation to friends and family to enjoy a meal together.
Using his favorite family recipes, Sahar stayed true to his Middle Eastern roots in developing our menu and we pride ourselves on delivering the best flavors of the Middle East from our freshly baked pita, savory chicken shawarma and handcrafted falafel. Guests can come in and customize their bowl or pita sandwich with a variety of authentic toppings and sauces.
FC: Why did Naf Naf Grill decide to offer delivery?
PD: Delivery is the next phase of our digital ordering strategy following the launch of our mobile app in January. Our guests are at the center of everything we do, and we understand their need for flexibility and choices. Through delivery, we’re able to give our Naf fans a delicious meal to enjoy how and where they want it.
FC: Can you touch on what you did in the community with Chicago service workers surrounding the launch of your delivery service?
PD: We are extremely proud to be based in Chicago and it only felt right that we celebrate this announcement by thanking those that serve us every day. The Naf team went around and delivered a catering lunch to fire stations, police departments and hospitals in downtown Chicago as a small token of our gratitude. We served over 500 awesome people that day!
FC: What operational changes were made to enable a smooth transition to offer delivery to Naf fans?
PD: Over the past year, Naf Naf made fundamental changes to ensure a seamless guest experience. We installed a second line at all our locations that is dedicated to delivery orders. It was important that delivery orders did not inconvenience our guests who come to dine-in. All Naf locations also have online ordering racks that allow our pickup guests or delivery drivers to walk in and grab their order. There is no need to talk to a cashier and slow the process down.
FC: How does Naf Naf stand out from other fast-casual concepts?
PD: We are committed to culinary excellence and bringing the best of Middle Eastern flavors to the masses. At Naf Naf, we handmake our food in our restaurants with traditional methods, like our pillowy, oven-fired pita, crisp and tender falafel, and award-winning spit-roasted shawarma.
When we say handmade, we mean it. We don’t buy our pita — we make it in-house in our bakery with six simple ingredients and our team members crush chickpeas every day so that we can make our falafel from scratch.
Customers enjoy the freshness of our food, while trying something different than their normal lunch or dinner routine. We pride ourselves on keeping things simple and accessible for the guest, allowing them to customize their Middle Eastern dish to their liking.
FC: With delivery now under your belt, what’s next?
PD: The team is focused on launching our franchising program. There has been great interest in franchising this brand and we are excited to partner with the best in the business to take Naf Naf into new markets.
FC: How can someone learn more about franchise opportunities with Naf Naf?
PD: Visit nafnafgrill.com/franchise or contact our VP of Franchise Sales, Dave Vernon at firstname.lastname@example.org