Recipe For Franchise Success: Amsterdam’s Falafel Shop


Amsterdam Falafel Shop logo

For those in the restaurant industry, “franchise” is a four letter word. You’d be hard pressed to find James Beard award-winning chefs behind the counter of a chain restaurant.


Or would you?


Scott Bennett, formerly of award-winning Cashion’s Eat Place in Washington, D.C. and his wife, Arianne, started franchise Amsterdam Falafel Shop seven years ago for one reason: because they, “never found good falafel in the U.S.,” says Arianne.


These days, Amsterdam Falafel Shop’s original Adams Morgan location in D.C. has earned its fair share of positive press, from Yelp to the Washington Post, heralding the franchise location as one of the best places for tasty late night food.  In all honesty, Amsterdam Falafel Shop is much, much more than that.


“What is lacking in fast food and franchising is fresh, nutritious food,” says Arianne Bennett, President and CEO. Her husband, Scott, serves as Chairman.


The franchise sells only two major items: falafel balls and French fries. Specializing in these two menu offerings allows Scott, Arianne and the franchise’s other employees to focus on making things fresh, homemade and to order.


“Balls take three minutes,” says Arianne of the falafel balls which are “all fresh ground, fried right in front of you,” Arianne adds. From there, the falafel balls are served in a split open pita, which is baked right around the corner from a local bakery. Then it’s up to the customer what happens next.


“In a lot of places you point through a glass at what you want and they swipe it on,” says Arianne of her competitors. Such is not the case at Amsterdam Falafel Shop. The 22 toppings bar is completely self-serve and full of pickly, garlicky, and yummy items that are all made in-house (except for two traditional items imported from the Middle East). Tiny tasting forks allow customers to try out dips, spreads and other toppings before adding it to their pita. Arianne likes that her customers have complete control of what and how much goes into their falafel creations.


Foodies, vegans, vegetarians and people who just like good food frequent the Amsterdam Falafel Shop. It’s no wonder the same types of people with a passion for fresh food, flavors and falafel are interested in becoming franchise owners, too.


Though Scott and Arianne have never been franchisees before, they’re certainly on the right track to becoming excellent franchisors. “We don’t ask our franchisees to do anything we haven’t done ourselves,” she says.


Ideal Amsterdam Falafel Shop franchisees have restaurant experience, “so they know what it’s like to be an active participant,” she explains, referring to franchisees who are hands-off managers or owners.


“We want people who will have a sense of pride in their business,” Arianne says. Employees can’t help but be affected by their franchisee bosses, and the Bennetts want that to be in a good way. Admittedly, employees aren’t making a six-figure salary, but if they really enjoy coming to work, that’s the next best thing. Plus, happy employees stick around longer, lending to the franchise’s non-chain vibe.


“We’re also looking for people who are always asking, ‘Can we do this better?’” Unlike so many franchises where franchisees are told what to do instead of invited into the boardroom, Amsterdam Falafel Shop wants forward-thinking dynamos. “We want your restaurant like an individual entrepreneur’s, not a franchise.”


Contact Franchise Clique if you’re interested in becoming an Amsterdam Falafel Shop franchisee.

Franchise Clique Finds Franchisee For ExpressPros


Looks like we’ve done it again, folks! We couldn’t be happier to announce that one of our great clients, franchise Express Employment Professionals has signed a new client thanks to our lead generation campaign efforts on their behalf:

Just wanted to let you know we signed a new franchisee last night that was a Franchise Clique lead! Her name is Bettie and she opened in Greenbelt, MD. Thanks!

Rachel R., Express Employment Professionals




3 Things to Know This Afternoon

CBS — Veterans returning home from Afghanistan and Iraq are being courted by franchises at the franchise expo in Miami Beach this weekend, thanks to program Vet Fran. — Read why Baby Boomers who just aren’t ready to retire are perfect for franchising.

Inc magazine— Missouri’s Sam Graves, chairman of the House Small Business Committee, has outlined what he’d like to see from the President on behalf of small businesses.

Pinot’s Palette: A Fun Franchise That Will Make You Fear No Easel

Pinot’s Palette wants you to fear no easel. Instead, the company’s three co-founders just want you to have a good time painting a canvas while enjoying a glass of wine.


The idea for Pinot’s Palette was actually a golf course collaboration between co-founders Craig and Charles. “Craig and I were bouncing ideas back and forth,” says Charles Willis, “and Craig had the idea to bring entertainment value to an art class.”


Charles and Craig, who both have major corporate business experience, put the idea on hold for awhile, until Charles’ wife, Beth, pushed the three of them into business in 2009. The first Pinot’s Palette, formerly Pinot and Picasso, opened in the Houston area in 2010. Now, the franchise is looking to expand everywhere.


Pinot’s Palette, as a concept, is fairly simple. Customers arrive at the studio with their own wine and snacks, Pinot’s Palette provides ice buckets, wine glasses, paints, brushes and everything else you need to become your own Picasso, Van Gogh or Matisse. One of Pinot’s Palette’s artists will walk you through the creation of your very own, guiding your every brush stroke so you’ll proud enough to hang it on your own wall.


For those behind the scenes, it’s equally important to Pinot’s Palette that their franchisees have a good time, too. Part of that involves a great deal of extensive training. Charles, Craig and Beth go over all marketing, operations and technological aspects of the business during a franchisee’s training period.  In addition, Pinot’s Palette has a proprietary software system that helps each franchisee manage daily to-do’s, giving them more time on the more important things like growing their customer base.


If you’re interested in becoming a Pinot’s Palette franchisee, you of course need the concept’s required amount of investment capital and a go-getter attitude, but Charles, Craig and Beth are looking for someone who loves being around people and will make sure customers have a great time every time. If you think that could be you, well, they’d love to hear from you

Franchise Clique Helps 360 Clean Find Two Franchisees

Sorry for the blogging hiatus, everyone. As I’m sure you know, the holidays are rarely a relaxing time of year. We’ve been very, very busy!

One of our wonderful cleaning franchise clients, 360 Clean, contacted us this week to share some great news: thanks to our lead generation efforts, they’ve welcomed two new franchisees to their concept!


FranchiseClique is a great resource for our lead generation. We have found that FranchiseClique is innovative in their approach to lead generation and we are excited that it produced two new franchisees for 360clean in the Fall of 2011.  We look forward to more franchisees from our relationship with FranchiseClique.”

– Barry Bodiford, 360 Clean CEO