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Can Naf Naf's success be repeated?

Can Naf Naf's success be repeated?
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  • Can Naf Naf's success be repeated?

    Post #1 - August 20th, 2018, 7:25 am
    Post #1 - August 20th, 2018, 7:25 am Post #1 - August 20th, 2018, 7:25 am
    Two of the chain's former execs look to grow a local barbecue chain and start a chain of authentic taquerias, looking to be the ‘Lettuce Entertain You of fast-casual restaurants.'

    http://www.chicagobusiness.com/restaura ... e-repeated

    FYI - If the link blocks you, Google search the thread title and you'll get behind Crain's paywall.
    "At a formal dinner party, the person nearest death should always be seated closest to the bathroom." George Carlin
  • Post #2 - August 20th, 2018, 9:16 am
    Post #2 - August 20th, 2018, 9:16 am Post #2 - August 20th, 2018, 9:16 am
    So that's what the niche is called now...fast/casual? What I utilize these places for now, in a busy, busy world, is something logistically close & relatively healthy I can pick up quick-like during the day for the family, at around ten bucks a head. More often than not, we're all eating at different times at night so it's there for them in the fridge when they get home. And unfortunately, we don't have time during the week to sit down together.

    I always thought Naf Naf OK, a step better than Roti Med Grill but not remotely close to Pita Inn, the gold standard in my book. They haven't lost the ethnicity as of yet. But they only have, what, 4 stores?
  • Post #3 - August 20th, 2018, 9:47 am
    Post #3 - August 20th, 2018, 9:47 am Post #3 - August 20th, 2018, 9:47 am
    jnm123 wrote:I always thought Naf Naf OK, a step better than Roti Med Grill but not remotely close to Pita Inn, the gold standard in my book. They haven't lost the ethnicity as of yet. But they only have, what, 4 stores?

    Five = http://www.pita-inn.com/locations
    "At a formal dinner party, the person nearest death should always be seated closest to the bathroom." George Carlin
  • Post #4 - August 20th, 2018, 12:12 pm
    Post #4 - August 20th, 2018, 12:12 pm Post #4 - August 20th, 2018, 12:12 pm
    jnm123 wrote:I always thought Naf Naf OK, a step better than Roti Med Grill but not remotely close to Pita Inn, the gold standard in my book. They haven't lost the ethnicity as of yet. But they only have, what, 4 stores?


    Pita Inn wins on price (Naf Naf has steadily increased price points) but it's not exactly gold standard on quality any more. The rest of the market has caught up. I was at Maoz recently (a Dutch chain with only at a couple of food courts in the area) and thought their execution was excellent. Wonderful falafel and shawarma.
  • Post #5 - August 20th, 2018, 3:00 pm
    Post #5 - August 20th, 2018, 3:00 pm Post #5 - August 20th, 2018, 3:00 pm
    I still prefer Pita Inn's falafel, but even they have crept up significantly in price -- 15 years ago, a falafel sandwich, small hummos and a (non-refillable) coke was $4.01 at the original location.

    Naf Naf wins on the condiments/toppings: a bevy of sauces and vegetables that add a lot of flavor and crunch, versus the iceberg and hothouse tomatoes PI.

    Roti never seemed to gel with me. I think they try too hard to whitewash the ethnicity of their food, making it "Mediterranean" instead of middle-eastern. They're a classic example of a vanguard getting exceeded by the second-to-market. They're hardly failing, but there's nothing cool about them.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #6 - August 20th, 2018, 6:50 pm
    Post #6 - August 20th, 2018, 6:50 pm Post #6 - August 20th, 2018, 6:50 pm
    I ate twice at Roti, flavorless and limp is the best I can say.
    Added peeve, if the name of your restaurant is a a food item, it should be mandatory to sell that food item. They do not sell roti at Roti.
  • Post #7 - August 21st, 2018, 8:59 am
    Post #7 - August 21st, 2018, 8:59 am Post #7 - August 21st, 2018, 8:59 am
    jnm123 wrote:So that's what the niche is called now...fast/casual?


    I don't know about "now," but fast-casual has been a term for at least a decade now. I think places like Chipotle and Panera popularized the concept the most.
  • Post #8 - August 21st, 2018, 9:22 am
    Post #8 - August 21st, 2018, 9:22 am Post #8 - August 21st, 2018, 9:22 am
    I'm a bit nervous about them taking Blackwood big, since it's been a staple of my lunchtime routine since the day they opened. Can they keep the quality of ingredients and freshness as they scale up? I guess we are about to find out.
  • Post #9 - August 21st, 2018, 10:56 am
    Post #9 - August 21st, 2018, 10:56 am Post #9 - August 21st, 2018, 10:56 am
    Binko wrote:
    jnm123 wrote:So that's what the niche is called now...fast/casual?


    I don't know about "now," but fast-casual has been a term for at least a decade now. I think places like Chipotle and Panera popularized the concept the most.


    It has its own industry niche: https://www.fastcasual.com/
  • Post #10 - August 21st, 2018, 2:17 pm
    Post #10 - August 21st, 2018, 2:17 pm Post #10 - August 21st, 2018, 2:17 pm
    spinynorman99 wrote:
    Binko wrote:
    jnm123 wrote:So that's what the niche is called now...fast/casual?


    I don't know about "now," but fast-casual has been a term for at least a decade now. I think places like Chipotle and Panera popularized the concept the most.


    It has its own industry niche: https://www.fastcasual.com/


    Oh, indeed, and it has for a while. That website (in referring to fast casual restaurants) goes back as far as 2004 (and was registered in 2000).
  • Post #11 - October 1st, 2018, 11:56 am
    Post #11 - October 1st, 2018, 11:56 am Post #11 - October 1st, 2018, 11:56 am
    Octarine wrote:I ate twice at Roti, flavorless and limp is the best I can say.
    Added peeve, if the name of your restaurant is a a food item, it should be mandatory to sell that food item. They do not sell roti at Roti.

    What about Panda Express? :D

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #12 - October 1st, 2018, 12:52 pm
    Post #12 - October 1st, 2018, 12:52 pm Post #12 - October 1st, 2018, 12:52 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:What about Panda Express? :D
    =R=


    I stopped going after they switched to panda surimi.
  • Post #13 - October 3rd, 2018, 1:55 pm
    Post #13 - October 3rd, 2018, 1:55 pm Post #13 - October 3rd, 2018, 1:55 pm
    Agreed, spinynorman--the only good panda is stir-fried, with bamboo shoots.

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #14 - October 6th, 2018, 6:39 pm
    Post #14 - October 6th, 2018, 6:39 pm Post #14 - October 6th, 2018, 6:39 pm
    I detest these mediocre Middle Eastern concepts. bleech.
    i used to milk cows

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