Earlier this year, falafel-focused restaurant Falafel Inc. debuted in Washington, D.C., and announced Boston as a potential target for future expansion. Those plans are now coming to fruition: The restaurant — which uses a portion of proceeds to help feed refugees — is coming to Cambridge’s Kendall Square neighborhood.
Falafel Inc. plans to open a Kendall location (at a yet-to-be-announced address) sometime this fall, according to owner Ahmad Ashkar, who told Eater that the location makes sense because it’s teeming with college-aged and working millennials who want a good meal for a fair price.
“It’s cheap, it’s affordable,” said Ashkar. “You can get a sandwich for $3 or a bowl for $4.”
Perhaps the best part of Falafel Inc,’s business model — food notwithstanding — is its commitment to helping refugees around the world find work.
“I start for-good, for-profit enterprises around the world,” said Ashkar. “I focus on thematic investing, and this year the theme was the refugee crisis.”
Ashkar wants his patrons to know that every dollar they spend is making an impact.
“We do two things. Buy one, get one: Every $10 spent in a store, we’re able to feed a refugee for a whole day. We also have a refugee-to-franchisee program. We help move refugees through the work paradigm. We hire refugees, and we look for growth opportunities within the company. What better person to help manage your company?”
Ashkar said that Falafel Inc.’s ultimate goal is all about “revolving impact generation.” The company hires refugees; those refugees become franchisees; those franchisees hire more refugees.
So far, the lines have been out the door in D.C. But Ashkar isn’t all about long lines at the end of the day.
“I hope this model makes more businesses think about whom they’re hiring. You can take a refugee crisis and turn it into a positive economic opportunity for these people who need that.”