Shawarma Press Continues Steady Growth And Expansion With Two Attractive Business Models For Franchisees


Shawarma Press®, the nation’s first authentic Shawarma Franchise, was founded in 2016 by Sawsan Abublan and Dr. Ehap Sabri in Irving, Texas.

Known for its healthy, made-from-scratch Mediterranean fare such as delicious Shawarmas, “world-famous” hummus, falafel, soup, salads, and wraps, Shawarma Press quickly endeared itself to customers in Texas before, during, and after the pandemic.

Two Unique Business Models for Franchisees

Since the first location opened in 2017, Shawarma Press restaurant franchise has experienced steady growth and expansion with two distinct franchise business models for franchising. The first one is stand-alone restaurants that are earmarked for shopping plazas, city centers, near universities, or other high-traffic locations. The second is a unique model to operate Shawarma Press restaurants inside select Walmart locations throughout the country.

The Strategic Walmart Partnership

“It was absolutely a game changer when we were awarded the opportunity to operate inside Walmart,” noted CEO Sawsan Abublan. “With an average of 10,000 cars per day visiting any Walmart store, the foot traffic and brand awareness is amazing. With this business model, we’ve been able to attract new customers who have never had the chance to try Mediterranean food.”

Current Shawarma Press Franchise Operations

Currently Shawarma Press has four Texas stores operating at Walmart locations in Arlington, Georgetown, Plano, and San Antonio. Dr. Tarek Salman, the first Shawarma Press Franchisee to operate a location inside Walmart noted that shoppers in Arlington were happily surprised to see a healthy Mediterranean concept operating inside their neighborhood store with diverse menu options and an inviting dining atmosphere that welcomes customers to linger with family and friends.

Stand-alone versus Walmart Locations

While Shawarma Press is increasing its footprint in Walmart locations, other franchisees prefer the stand-alone business model, which offers access to diverse geographic and demographic areas. With stand-alone stores operating at the company’s headquarters in Irving, a franchise store in Frisco, and upcoming grand openings in Dallas and Atlanta, Abublan said there are numerous territories open and additional franchise units planned for Kansas, Oklahoma, and other states in the next five years.

The Authentic Mediterranean Concept and Its Origins

Co-founders Abublan and Sabri created the concept for Shawarma Press after moving to the states from Jordan more than two decades ago and discovering they could not find the authentic Mediterranean foods they craved. In the Middle East, shawarma is a popular street food marinated in spices and slowly cooked by stacking thinly sliced beef or chicken that rotates on a large skewer or spiral cone. The couple was determined to bring the same bold and delicious flavors to the States and were fortunate to find a diverse customer base in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Customers of all ages appreciated the fresh, authentic dishes, and those who were looking for healthier QSR franchise options often found them at Shawarma Press.

Healthy Mediterranean Offerings and Market Niche

“We’ve been delighted to carve out a niche with health-conscious consumers who are looking for nutritious, heart-healthy options that can be consumed daily without sacrificing health goals or flavor,” explained Abublan. “Our menu offerings are aligned closely with the Mediterranean Diet, which is consistently ranked as the healthiest diet in the world. There is a definite need for healthier Mediterranean franchise options in the quick service industry, and this is one of the main differentiators that sets us apart from competitors.”

Future Expansion and Franchisee Opportunities

Shawarma Press is on track to open five additional locations in 2023. With numerous other units in the pipeline at different stages, the brand envisions adding as many as 50 locations during the next five years by focusing on meaningful growth that ensures supply chain health and strong franchisee support. The brand is looking for franchisees from all cultural and business backgrounds who are eager to learn about opportunities in the marketplace and growth potential. The ideal candidate would also embrace the company’s core values of Integrity, Trustworthiness, Social Responsibility, and Excellence. Most importantly, Abublan stresses it is vital for anyone exploring the franchise world to educate themselves about the opportunities in their area by creating a business plan.

Shawarma Press’ Core Values and Importance of a Business Plan

“A business plan is important because it helps franchisees discover any gaps in their market and narrow down concepts they are interested in pursuing,” Abublan said. “In addition, some people find FDDs intimidating so they don’t read them. However, we find the more FDDs that potential investors read, the closer they will get to the franchise that is the right fit for them. Franchisees should choose a concept that has proven results as well as franchisors that provide thorough pre-opening franchise training and strong post-opening support.”

Shawarma Press’ Franchisee Motivation and Support Strategies

Once a new franchise store is up and running, Shawarma Press motivates franchisees by showing them creative ways to increase sales, retain employees, and get positive reviews. Franchisees also appreciate it when their feedback, suggestions, and ideas for new items or processes are acknowledged.

“It’s a win-win situation because franchisees can benefit from motivation and support while franchisors can hear valuable feedback that can often improve overall operations,” Abublan noted.

About Shawarma Press®

Since opening its first restaurant in Irving, Texas, in 2017, award-winning Shawarma Press® is the nation’s leader in fast casual Mediterranean cuisine and the first authentic shawarma franchise in the US. The brand is rapidly expanding with multiple locations in Texas, and more to come in Oklahoma, Kansas and Georgia.

With an emphasis on fresh, healthy menu items that align with the globally recognized Mediterranean Diet, Shawarma Press serves hand stacked premium chicken and beef shawarma in a variety of wraps and over bowls along with homemade staples such as falafel, hummus, and pastries.

Co-founders Sawsan Abublan and Ehap Sabri, Ph.D., were the recipients of Fast Casual’s Top 100 Movers and Shakers award as well as the Innovation Award presented by Franchise Update Media for the Most Innovative Supply Chain.

The company stands true to its core values of Social Responsibility, Integrity, Trustworthiness, and Excellence and has donated more than 20,000 meals to homeless shelters and non-profit organizations. For information about franchising, visit Shawarma Press, going the extra mile to imPRESS!

Shawarma Press Franchise

Shawarma Press Franchise

Shawarma Press® is the shawarma franchise proud to present the authentic taste of Mediterranean food. It's a fresh, healthy food franchise, in its most flavorful form!

Our QSR franchise team is on a mission to share compelling flavors and offer you a chance to bring them to a location near you! Let's meet our team now.

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