The start of a trend? A new concept focuses on fried potatoes in packages

Have you ever thought about putting fries in a package? If so, you’re in luck: The San Diego kebab concept just introduced the dish as its newest menu item after noticing customers have been making it themselves as a secret menu item for years.

“Being in San Diego, putting fries in your wrap was common in taco shops and stuff,” said Wally Sadat, The Kebab Shop’s chief marketing officer.

Customers wanted fries and feta cheese on their wraps so much that The Kebab Shop finally decided it was time to make it available online and in person.

“We said, why don’t we just make this a one-click item where they can just click on a menu item and already pre-customize it with the feta cheese and the fries?” Sadat said.

That’s how the chain’s newest menu came about.

The European-style kebab shop was opened by Sadat and his brothers-in-law, and for the new menu item, they took cues from Europe, where fries are often found not only on the side, but also on the menu items.

“A big thing with us is to try to get everyone to enjoy a kebab, even if you don’t even know or have had a kebab before,” he said, adding that knowing the fries is a good way to do that.

Partly inspired by Sadat’s brothers-in-law – one from Holland and the other from Germany – European influences on the shop are strong. When he traveled with his sisters and their husbands, Sadat always ate at döner kebab joints throughout Europe.

“It’s like it’s a fun outing and it’s been great to see all different walks of life eating these kebabs,” he said.

When a son-in-law took over a former kebab shop in 2007, the business was born.

Kebab Shop started as a small shop in San Diego and has now grown to 31 locations in California and Austin, Texas, along with several future openings, including the first in Florida.

“I think San Diego has such a big place in our hearts because they really saw that we were just giving it our all,” Sadat said. “They’ll give us a lot of feedback and we’ll make a lot of changes to the menu.”

The menu is made up of Mediterranean flavors, with European-style skewers available in a wrap, in a bowl with vegetables, on a plate with rice or plain. The slogan is “Mediterranean for all”, inspired by the restaurant’s clientele.

“We all noticed early on that there are so many different types of people eating our food,” he said. “So you’d look at the line and we’d have a line out the door and it was really cool to see. But the really special thing was that you got to see so many different environments.”

This line inspired Sadat and his brothers-in-law to build a business based around the kebab, something most Americans are not very familiar with.

“If you say ‘kebab’ to someone, they’ll most likely refer to a little hole-in-the-wall or a little mom-and-pop concept,” he said. “But they would never say, ‘Hey, this could be something big, or this could be a big part of America’s Rolodex of food options.’ And that was something we always believed in.”

Sadat believes the concept is not only scalable, but something most Americans and other cultures can get behind.

“It’s just slow-roasted meats, salads and some sauces and bread, and almost every culture has it,” he said.

So what’s next for The Kebab Shop? Stack testing in about 10-15 stores.

“We’re going to do a limited edition [of steak],” he said. “We do a lot of R&D all the time. And I think one thing that fuels us is that we’re always kind of paranoid.

Paranoid that the food is not suitable. Paranoid about spices. Paranoid about all the right things about a restaurant that serves food with flavor.

“I’m just never satisfied with anything,” Sadat said. “I feel like we’re always so careful about every detail.”

The brand plans to open about six restaurants in the next six months due to construction delays that delayed the opening. That’s after one just opened in January in Los Angeles.

“Some customers say, ‘Wow, you’re really opening restaurants every month,’ and we’re like, ‘Well, we didn’t want to do that. It just happens that way sometimes,” he said.

Kebab Shop’s growth plan is to flood the markets. There are 10 in San Diego, which Sadat says is the perfect number. There are already five locations in Austin, and Sadat said they hope to have at least five more in the area before moving on. The new location in Florida is just the first there and they expect to open more in the coming years.

“We’ve noticed that once we have about seven to 10 locations in a cluster, it really helps to know the customers,” he said.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *