In this exclusive Q&A, we get to learn about Taboonette from its co-founder and CEO, Danny Hodak.
Franchise Chatter (FC): Can you tell us how Taboonette got its start?
Danny Hodak (DH): Taboonette was born from an idea that came to me while I was vacationing in Israel with my wife, a native of the country. We were at a famous Palestinian street food counter attentively watching as long boards filled with creatively topped flat breads slid into a wood-fired oven that tasted absolutely incredible when the thought hit me – let’s bring this authentic quality experience back to America.
I then met renowned Israeli chef and international rising star of the kitchen, Efi Naon, and I knew this crazy idea had a real shot. Together, we brought the dubbed “Middleterranean” concept to New York and opened Taboon, a fine-dining restaurant.
After achieving award-winning success with the full-service location, we set out to build a franchise model that could bring our Middleterranean™ food to consumers nationally. Taboonette Middleterranean Kitchen was then launched in 2012 with a corporate-owned location in New York City, and soon the demand for more restaurants began to rise.
FC: How does Taboonette differentiate itself in the restaurant industry as QSRs continue to gain popularity?
DH: As QSRs remain a hot franchise category, Taboonette offers a unique take on the space by creating internationally-inspired food that capitalizes on the Mediterranean diet, a top food trend for 2019, while also being rooted in hospitality and awarding a viable franchise opportunity backed by vast corporate support.
When we first opened Taboonette, it was our goal to bring the sophistication and complexity of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food to America; we’re truly pioneers of the Middleterranean concept. We’ve created gourmet and inventive offerings by introducing the restaurant’s open-air, wood-fired taboon oven to the forefront in America. Having a classically trained, renowned Israeli chef to lead our menu innovation and top-quality recipes has also been instrumental in solidifying our success.
Our elevated customer service and guest experience is another core competitive advantage. Our customers are afforded the efficiency and comfort expected in quick-service environments, but with the attention to detail and thoughtfulness that reflects Taboonette’s fine dining pedigree.
Technology is a key player in creating a high-quality guest experience. From our self-ordering kiosks to cutting-edge self-cooking stations, we’re constantly looking to innovate and enhance the guest experience.
FC: Can you share with us more detail about the new franchise prototype store?
DH: We’re opening our official franchise prototype this spring in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City. While creating a model for what subsequent Taboonettes will look like, the new restaurant will also serve as a hub for franchisee training, hosting new partners for three of their five-week training process. It is an absolutely stunning store that makes a strong brand statement and takes a big step toward fulfilling our promise to support our franchisees’ success.
FC: What qualities does Taboonette look for in a potential franchisee?
DH: We’re seeking entrepreneurs who are passionate about being in the QSR or fast-casual franchise space, who have an appetite to create a curated, socially responsible business which aims to have a positive impact on its surrounding community.
Restaurant management experience is preferred but not necessary to find success with the brand as our corporate team offers a comprehensive training program with management tools covering all facets of operating and managing the business.
FC: What’s next for Taboonette?
DH: We’re poised for nationwide expansion and we’re confident the new franchise prototype will ignite franchise development as we seek to expand our footprint throughout the New York Tri-State area and across the country.
Taboonette represents a unique, trailblazing franchise opportunity for today’s savvy investors to tap into the lucrative and high growth rate in the QSR franchise space. We can’t wait to form long-lasting partnerships with experienced business owners as we aim to expand to 25 locations by 2021.