One million reasons to ‘like’ Just Falafel
For every 'like' on Facebook, Just Falafel will donate one dirham to education programme in the region
March 4, 2013 1:33 by M. Aldalou
Just Falafel is a home-grown regional restaurant that serves…well, just Falafel. Over the past couple of years, it has had enough growth, franchising opportunities and digital omnipresence to keep its plate full for quite some time; it now has more than 650 locations scattered across the globe. And a lot of it is thanks to the community they’ve managed to grow on Facebook.
Last night, when Kipp spoke to the company’s CEO, Fadi Malas, the brand had about 997,000 ‘likes’ on the social network. This morning, they’ve crossed a million. Why should we care?
Well, Malas tells us that with each new ‘like’ that they receive on Facebook, JF will donate one dirham to an existing seed fund of AED 1 million to support education across the region. In fact, they’ve already awarded a secondary school scholarship to a 16-year-old named Aqil Rashid, who has also founded the 1 Well, 700 Lives programme, which works towards providing access to clean drinking water in Afghanistan.
“We’ve initially said to Aqil that we will pay for his university fees, but since he still has a few years to go – and we didn’t want to make him wait – I’ve promised to pay his fees for each school term as long as he gets straight As,” says Malas. “That happened in the last quarter. I haven’t seen his grades for this one yet, but we want to motivate him. He’s a very smart young man.”
Malas says when Just Falafel had about 100,000 fans (approximately a year ago), they realised that they’ve built their whole brand primarily around the people that follow them, and wanted to give something back. They asked their social media followers to submit two-minute videos on why they should have their education paid for. “Instead of us picking the winner ourselves, we asked the fans to vote for the best videos, and they all voted for Aqil,” says Malas.
Mohamad Bitar, Founder & MD at Just Falafel, says the brand owes a great deal to the ‘grassroots’ support they’ve received from fans of all ages. He says it’s not just about ones that ‘like our food’ but those who have built a digital relationship with them. “The ‘One Million Fund’ expands on our commitment to education by enabling new Facebook fans to ‘like’ us and exponentially increase the size of our fund,” he says.
Kipp wasn’t able to reach 16-year-old, but he does say that ever since he won the scholarship, the most common question he’s been asked is what plans he has for his future. “Well, the plan right now is to study, study, study and get into an extremely good university for International Development Studies,” he says.
*Applicants for the brand’s ‘One Million fund’ can apply for consideration by the application committee through emailing email@example.com.