Meeting customer demand proves successful for growing Mediterranean food empire| Food Truck Spotlight


Mohammad Altawaha operates 15 meals vehicles (and 5 restaurant areas) below his Abu Omar Halal model throughout Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Florida. His tricks to newcomers to the meals truck world are easy: Have a transparent plan in thoughts, do not try to be all issues to all folks and determine your specialty and persist with it.

Meeting customer demand proves successful for growing Mediterranean food empirePicture supplied.

Meals Truck: Abu Omar Halal
Proprietor(s): Mohammad Altawaha aka Abu Omar
Date based: 06/2011
Location: Houston, Texas

What number of vehicles do you use below this model?
Now we have 15 meals vehicles throughout Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Florida with extra areas coming quickly in Florida and North Carolina.

Do you use brink-and-mortar areas below this model as properly? What number of?
Sure, we’ve 5 brick-and- mortar areas, with an extra brick-and-mortar location coming quickly in California.

How did you give you the title?
Abu Omar was a nickname given to me, shorter and simpler to say than Mohammad Altawaha! Initially named “Abu Omar Taco,” our meals truck initially served a combination of Mexican and Mediterranean dishes that adhered to halal meals practices.By tapping into this beforehand untouched area of interest market, Abu Omar Taco turned a fast success in the area people. In these early days, the truck served largely halal tacos, however after realizing the overwhelming demand was for our specialty rooster shawarma, we shifted the menu focus to serve solely Mediterranean classics. With the brand new focus and menu choices, we determined to vary the enterprise title to Abu Omar Halal.

What prompted you to begin a meals truck?
I moved to america in 2008 to pursue a grasp’s diploma in Houston, Texas. Whereas at school, I labored in numerous eating places throughout Houston, the place I rediscovered my lifelong ardour for cooking. After years spent refining my cooking abilities and studying the enterprise facet of restaurant possession, I made a decision to open my very own truck and fill the void I felt was current in my neighborhood’s meals scene.

What’s in your meals truck menu? Why did you select this delicacies?
I’m initially from a small city in Jordan. We grew up consuming shawarma and I felt the sort of meals was severely underrepresented in Houston on the time. Our hottest merchandise remains to be the traditional rooster shawarma, however we do produce other gadgets similar to falafel and gyros. We provide salads, rice bowls, and naturally different sandwiches that make the most of our 100% halal meats. All of our vehicles are halal and I felt it was necessary to maintain this custom all through.

Do you make all of the meals on the truck or do you utilize home-based kitchen or commissary area?
We make all of our meals on the truck. Every truck is provided with a rotating vertical spit for the genuine shawarma expertise. Like “al pastor” cooking, conventional shawarmas are a combination of meat and spices which can be layered onto a spit and sluggish roasted so that every piece is evenly cooked and caramelized to perfection earlier than serving. I felt that was an important side of conventional Center Japanese delicacies that wanted to be preserved.

What’s the perfect a part of being a meals truck operator?
The meals truck expertise is sort of totally different from different hospitality industries. There’s a sure authenticity that comes with having the meals cooked instantly in entrance of a buyer in such an informal environment. It is a enjoyable expertise for each clients and staff and you do not get that very same kind of interplay in a restaurant setting.

What is the worst a part of working a meals truck?
The climate, significantly in a metropolis like Houston, is our worst enemy. The warmth, hurricanes, and freak winter storms like we noticed in early 2021. It’s a must to be fast in your ft, to maintain your staff, clients, product, and property secure.

What classes have you ever realized since launching the truck?
Too many to rely, however largely I’ve realized to have endurance that I by no means would have thought conceivable earlier than. Meals vehicles are full time jobs and so they do not change into a hit in a single day. It’s a must to be affected person and chronic to make the sort of enterprise a profession. In any other case, it is a pricey weekend pastime.

Is there something you’ll have accomplished in another way initially?
I do not consider so. Each mistake I’ve made was a possibility to study.

Any suggestions/recommendation to others considering of launching a meals truck?
Have a transparent plan in thoughts. You’ll be able to’t be all issues to all folks. Determine your specialty and persist with it. Expertise within the kitchen and restaurant administration can also be a plus.

Do you will have any anecdotes about operating a meals truck? Aany distinctive interactions or particular occasions you have been booked at?
We have booked loads of music festivals —Day for Night time, Astroworld, and so on. Once I’m working, I hardly acknowledge folks I do know personally, a lot much less celebrities, however I’ve seen a number of celebs at these occasions and had no clue. My staff and clients will likely be freaking out and I am simply frightened in regards to the shawarma. Cardi B walked proper in entrance of me at Day for Night time and I had no thought till somebody advised me. My spouse was fairly upset I did not get a photograph along with her. Our success over the previous few years has additionally allowed us the chance to offer again to our neighborhood as properly. Most lately we teamed up with a nonprofit known as The Alliance to supply meals to these in want after Houston suffered from the Winter Storm in 2021. Now we have additionally feed entrance line staff over the previous yr, distributing meals to native space hospitals.

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