The Franchise: Astoria, New York-based The Halal Guys Inc. is a fast-casual restaurant that serves traditional Middle Eastern halal cuisine, which is food considered to be lawful for consumption according to Islamic law. It first started in 1990 as a Manhattan food cart when founders Mohammed Abouelenein, Abdelbaset Elsayed and Ahmed Elsaka saw a demand for halal food from Muslim cab drivers. It has since grown its operations to 350 restaurants worldwide.
The Guadagnos plan to open two additional locations this year, in Milwaukee and Madison, Tammy said.
2016: Tammy Guadagno has been a franchise partner at Chick-fil-A in California since 2005 when she first tries food from The Halal Guys. Falling in love with the food and the concept, she begins taking interest in the company as a customer.
August 2017: As Tammy and her husband, Paul Guadagno, consider a move to Wisconsin to be closer to family, Tammy finds out that a Halal Guys restaurant in Milwaukee is for sale.
“The owners were needing to sell and it just so happened to be right when we wanted to move,” Tammy said.
December 2017: Tammy, Paul and Paul’s father, Luigi, purchase the franchise. Tammy and Paul move to Wisconsin shortly after.
April 2018: The Halal Guys, located at 3133 N. Oakland Ave., celebrates its reopening with new ownership. After officially taking over operations in February, the Guadagnos made improvements to both the 1,560-square-foot space and to the business.
The franchise fee: The initial cost of opening a Halal Guys franchise is $60,000. Franchisees must commit to opening a minimum of five restaurants.
“It’s been great,” Tammy said. “If I said it was where I’ve wanted it, I wouldn’t be an entrepreneur. I don’t like to settle. We want to keep growing, but we’ve been able to grow it and we’ve doubled the sales.”