For years, in front of the LaGuardia Community College, the Halal Guys food stand has been a favorite amongst the Thomson Avenue locals. Here, you can get a falafel wrap, a lamb gyro with rice and a chicken pita filled with vegetables for less than $20.
In an incredibly generous gesture, the Halal Guys have donated $30,000 to LaGuardia, the equivalent of 4285 chicken wraps. It’s not the first time the yellow carted franchise has handed over their hard earned cash. In 2013, when the Halal Guys were just a two food stand business, they donated food packages to hungry people during lunchtime.
Now they have over 335 franchises, some even in the Philippines. The original Halal owners are Egyptian immigrants; Mohamed Abouelenein, Ahmed Elsaka and Abdelbaset Elsayed started their business with a Manhattan hot dog cart. After seeing there was a demand for Halal food from taxi drivers in the early 90’s, they switched their menu and have not looked back since.
This donation comes from the Halal Guys scholarship fund and has been funded by the chief executive of Fransmart, Dan Rowe. Fransmart is the restaurant consulting firm currently working with the Halal Guys, and Rowe promised to donate his commission to LaGuardia if the company signed a deal with South Korea.
LaGuardia opens its doors to over 50,000 students each year, most from disadvantaged backgrounds with many coming from immigrant homes. The college has a personal meaning to Mr Abouelenein, a founder of Halal Guys, as he sent his children to study there. Luckily for him it paid off, one of his sons went on to manage the company.
If you happen to find yourself on Thomson Avenue at lunch time you will find yourself spoilt for choice of food. From coffee to waffles and cheeseburgers, you will see how busy the place can get. Not surprisingly, the Halal Guys have stepped up their service and have an employee dedicated to manage the queue of hungry customers. Helping people make their choice and keeping the ravenous crowd happy is one of the extras you don’t see on many food carts. They are so busy they even hire a bouncer on weekend nights to manage any rowdy customers.
When the news of the $30,000 donation spread, many of the people we spoke to were impressed by the Halal Guys generosity. The donation has given the Halal Guys a personal touch, which so many of their customers appreciate. I don’t know about you but I think it’s time to head over there for a falafel or two.