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Just Falafel. Just Digital. Just works.
CEO of Just Falafel, Fadi Malas, says that the brand has done to Falafel what Starbucks has done to coffee.
November 8, 2012 6:13 by Muhammad Aldalou
Fadi Malas may not be a household name but Just Falafel is certainly on the fast track to becoming one. If you don’t believe that then ask the 713,000 (and counting) fans that follow and engage with the brand on Facebook on a regular basis. In under five years, the company has not only been on an expansion frenzy with a goal – that would be unrealistic to most – of opening a new franchise every single week, but has built itself up from the ground without traditional media or advertising but rather simplicity, engagement and most importantly, social media.
“We don’t even consider traditional marketing or advertising. It doesn’t exist to us,” says Malas, the Chief Executive Officer and one of the founders of the brand that has quickly grasped global recognition. Kipp may not always be the easiest chap to impress but witnessing the transformation of what at one point was considered ‘street food’ into a multinational brand almost entirely through Facebook is worth talking about. The company has received thousands of franchise inquiries from all around the world and more are continue to roll in but, it wasn’t Malas’s initial intention.
“Before we used Facebook for any business purposes, we thought that as a community tool it was really fascinating. From a consumer stand-point we were very happy with it. Once we did look at it for business purposes, we knew there was a digital revolution that is now integrating both social and business circles and it was a great idea to connect with them directly rather than trying to reach them with indirect ways,” he says.
Kipp enjoys reading about local success stories, as it undoubtedly provides an element of inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs and growing SMEs, especially in the UAE. Considering that the brand has become the first in the GCC to be used in a Facebook case study says enough about the restaurant’s popularity, but Kipp can’t help but wonder if JF could do it, why couldn’t others?
“There are too many elements that you have to get right before you try to commercialise anything. We are the first people in the world to adapt this particular food category to a 21st century lifestyle. We’ve done to Falafel what Starbucks has done to coffee, basically. We were also able to secure prominent retail locations because they quickly realised that if they miss out on providing Falafel then they will have a gap in the food market. Of course, there is the health factor element too, which is quite an awesome and overwhelming one because this is a category that is fundamentally healthy so we did tick a lot of the boxes,” says Malas.
“There are many stories, probably even greater than ours but the challenge is how do you tell people about it? How do you expose your story to as big of an audience as possible. That’s where we found the quickest way to communicate,” he added.
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