Wouldn’t you love to be wandering Israel’s streets right now and getting lost with their delicious fresh foods? Definitely a much better plan than sitting in front of our computers all day! But we’ve got news for you, and it doesn’t require spending all of your salary in an airplane ticket. On the corner of 3rd avenue and 50th street, a small restaurant called The Chick Shop will teletransport you through their dishes. Using only the highest quality, natural ingredients available, this restaurant brings “a modern take on classic Middle Eastern street food”. Try their warm, fluffy pitas and crispy falafels and you’ll get why we write so highly of them.
Nir Kahan is the co-owner of The Chick Shop. He grew up in Israel, and mentioned how the food was always a main stage event in his daily life. As you all may know, food is extremely important in Israeli culture. Every single “chef”, from street food vendors to those in upscale restaurants, tries to offer the most high-quality, locally sourced, fresh, seasonal ingredients he/she can find. So when Nir moved to New York in 2009, he felt frustrated. Not a single Middle Eastern restaurant met his expectations, and so he decided to create it himself by opening The Chick Shop.
Before his restaurant, Nir worked in Finance. Even though he made more money back then than he is now, Nir has never felt happier and more motivated. This is his baby; it is an extension of himself. He knows this business has the potential to make a lot of money, just like in Finance, with hard-work, the right mindset, and the right team. Nir in fact mentioned how the team he has now is the best he’s ever had in years. They’ve become a little family and his top employees who have been with him for a while now know the operations so well that it’s allowed them to grow the business and expand the menu. Their service, along with the unique influences combined on their menu, has allowed them to differentiate themselves from their competition. For The Chick Shop, there are a lot of competitors like Toum and Taim. Funny enough, Taim is just a block away. But when asked how he felt about it, Nir responded with no worry. “It is good to have Taim just a block away for two main reasons. First, together we drive more foot traffic to our stores. And second, having Taim next to me keeps me on my toes to always be our very best at every moment. You can’t be affected or intimidated by your competition. If people like the food, they will spread the love for you!”.
One of the most rewarding parts of the business for Nir is to see returning Israeli customers. This not only means his food is consistently delicious, but that he uses authentic and fresh ingredients like those found back home. Thanks to social media and online ordering platforms, Nir has more exposure to new clients that either order for themselves, refer his food to coworkers, or want to incorporate The Chick Shop as part of their corporate lunches. As for future business plans, franchising to reach a larger audience and have them know what a real falafel tastes like is on the top of the list. So many recurring customers have given Nir the confidence to know a second opening will definitely be a success.
Nir’s focus is continuing to provide the friendly service and high quality-food to create that long-lasting relationship from its customers. “My goal right now is to be as good as I can, on the counter or on the back-end, and bring happiness through my food”.
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