Famous for having the longest street-food lines in New York City since 1990, The Halal Guys are bringing their American Halal Cuisine (and the legendary white sauce) to bricks-and-mortar locations throughout North America. The company has partnered with developer and deal-maker Fransmart (which counts Five Guys among its wins) to roll out its franchise-development program. Kicking off in 2014, The Halal Guys and Fransmart signed up franchise partners for 225 units in the first year with the count now up to approximately 400 locations.

A year and a half into the project and the pace of store openings by early franchisees is beginning to quicken. We’ve seen 8 stores open since May, with another 4 confirmed for September.

The minimum required commitment for potential franchisees is 5-10 units. The three largest deals to date divided California among three master franchisees. SoCal from Santa Barbara south to Mexico went to Halal or Nothing LLC (50 units projected over the next 10 years with 3 locations currently up and running), parts of San Francisco and East Bay along with the Las Vegas went to FOMO Investments in a 30-unit deal (first location opened this month) and a group led by Patrick Mock signed up for San Francisco and Northern California (a 20-unit deal with one location open).

Other major markets confirmed by Chain Store Guide to be under active development by franchisees include Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Milwaukee, New Orleans, northern Virginia, Washington DC, New Jersey, Connecticut and King of Prussia, PA. Of these territories, Chicago has seen the most activity with two locations open and a third set to come online in September. In addition to these markets, 5-10 unit deals have been announced in Arizona, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Ontario and Quebec, among others.

New store openings have been accompanied by significant local media coverage and viral buzz (“We’re getting a Halal Guys!” “Where’s it going to be?”) along with long lines like those found in New York. The standard footprint of the stores has something to do with the latter.  Space requirements are listed as 1,000 to 1,400 square feet with 30-40 seats plus patio, and some of the first franchised units to open have been on the low end for square footage and seating.

With the first franchised locations now open and additional franchisees ramping up development, Chain Store Guide estimates that we’ll see 20+ total locations by the end of the year and double that in 2017. As momentum in existing markets quickly builds and additional large markets are signed, Chain Store Guide will bring its subscribers and clients the research they need to act on the opportunities that growth presents.