By Blake Sherman, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The expatriate owners of Laffa Kebab Store have not only established a thriving restaurant business in Rio, they have created a brand ready to franchise. Brothers Roni and Tomer Kanarek relocated from Israel with this intention, and in August 2012 opened a Laffa Kebab in Barra Shopping, their first franchise location.
In 2009 the Kanarek brothers opened Laffa Kebab in the heart of Ipanema on Rua Visconde de Pirajá, and filled a niche in the culinary market.
“We took the idea of the traditional kebab dishes and mixed them with an Ipanema style,” says Tomer Kanarek. The concept was new for Cariocas, “at first a lot of people didn’t know what it was,” he adds.
Yet the idea took on quick and with the success of the Ipanema location, the owners then opened another Kebab store in Leblon in December of 2010. The second location flourished like the first, and brand began to make a mark in Zona Sul (South Zone).
The Kanarek brothers decided to take their idea to the Feira de Franquia (Franchise Fair) where they presented their formula to potential investors and chain operators. The formula garnered great interest, which led to their newest location – and first franchise – in Barra Shopping launching in August of 2012.
For Roni Kanarek the formula for success lies in the product itself and sees much potential in the future. “The success of Laffa can be explained by the quality of the product combined with the agility of service. The kebabs are made by hand, with bread made [fresh to order], but without losing the speed and fast food service standard.” he explains.
“Our customers can enjoy the culinary delights of contemporary Turkish and oriental taste for Brazilians. We want to take our menu and business format already proven in Rio to the rest of Brazil,” says Roni Kanarek.
The success of the Laffa Kebab Store has come with much diligence and patience over the last few years. The process of making the franchise has been a steady progression of achievement, filled with challenges and the help of many. “You can’t franchise by yourself,” says Tomer Kanarek.
The Laffa owners have utilized consultants to formulate and package their company and they are still at the early stages of the franchise process. At this point they remain very hands-on with all things possible, to ensure their formula remains as designed, “We are helping with everything, even architecture and construction” says Tomer Kanarek.
Having three Laffa Kebab restaurants is quite an achievement for this young company, but it is only the start, and there are big plans for the future. “The idea is to become a big chain across Brazil,” reiterates Tomer Kanarek.
The Laffa owners are already in the process of opening franchise locations in other areas across Rio as well as various cities throughout Brazil. They are currently planning to open twelve more locations by December of 2013, and in five years time the goal is to reach over one hundred Kebab Stores.