‘Tom opened one door after another for us’

PFS helped couple address a gap in fast-casual dining market

At first, a pharmacist and an industrial engineer may not appear to be the sort of people who would launch a Mediterranean fast-casual restaurant franchise. But for Sawsan Abublan and her husband, Ehap Sabri, the business model was what appealed to them most.

“We’d never run a restaurant, but we looked at this as a business project,” Abublan explained.

The couple spent more than 25 years in in corporate America. “They were rewarding and successful careers, but they weren’t our successes,” she said.

“The American ideal is to achieve your dream, have a business that’s your own,” Abublan continued. “We wanted to own our own business, and we knew from the start we wanted it to be a franchisable concept.”

They looked around their Irving, Texas, community for inspiration and ideas. They love shawarma, but they couldn’t find any restaurants serving it.

“Mediterranean food is so popular, and the health benefits are sought by so many people, but we couldn’t find it anywhere near us,” she noted. “We realized there was a gap in the market.”

They researched recipes, decided on the ambiance and hired the talent to do the cooking.

In 2017, they opened Shawarma Press.

What they needed next was guidance to franchise the concept beyond one location.

Abublan and Sabri’s attorney connected them with Tom Parks of Premier Franchise Solutions.

“Talking with Tom opened one door after another for us,” Abublan said. “He helped with franchise growth assistance, operations, sales. He answered all our questions.”

Many who own their own business fall into the trap of taking on all the day-to-day work rather than running the business itself. Abublan said Premier Franchise Solutions helped them avoid that overload.

“Yes, we’re in the restaurant every day, but Tom and his team helped us keep our vision focused on the bigger goal – franchising,” she said.

Working with PFS has helped Abublan become more educated and confident as a franchisor.

“Tom’s patience and expertise help me not only award the franchise to the right person but also to say no to many others,” she emphasized. “That’s harder than saying yes sometimes. You have to be very careful who you award your franchises to – it’s a long-term relationship.”

She said having someone to bounce ideas off and ask questions of is invaluable.

“Ideas and dreams and ambitions are great, but they cannot sustain themselves by merely thinking, ‘I want to do this.’ People who are new to franchising need to get expert support. My experience with Premier Franchise Solutions has been phenomenal.”

Key support from PFS:

  • Premier Franchise Solutions was instrumental in making Shawarma Press appear in the first two Google search results in its market segment.
  • With support from PFS, Shawarma Press has a cost-per-lead three times below the industry average.
  • Shawarma Press awarded its first franchise in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area and a multi-unit owner in San Antonio, Texas, with many others on the way.
  • PFS wrote the operations and training manuals for Shawarma Press and streamlined its distribution process while at the same time negotiating more favorable dealer and vendor programs for franchisor and franchisees alike.

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