Alon Mor is the founder of Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill, a fast-casual dining establishment featuring Israeli and Mediterranean cuisine with over twenty national locations. Alon describes his journey from Haifa foodie to Colorado restauranteur, and the five key ingredients for his success, below.
As a proud Israeli-American, my journey has been colored by both my Israeliness and my Americaness, which I have found to be a perfect blend of flavors. Whether in Haifa or Denver, I have applied the same philosophy to my recipes as my business ventures: innovate, but keep things simple. With five basic principles, I not only launched a successful café franchise in Israel, but when I came to America, I turned an idea into a restaurant, Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill, and, then turned that restaurant into a national franchise. These simple ideas helped me bring a small taste of Israel to my new home. Today they help me bring Israeli innovation to the companies I help as a consultant.
- Embrace your roots
After several years launching and growing successful restaurants in Israel, I wanted to build a bigger restaurant chain from scratch in America. Embracing my roots helped me build a successful business because I felt passionate and connected to the work. I honored my abba and ema by bringing their recipes to life for hundreds of thousands of people. As the Israeli-American community has continued to grow, I have an added sense of pride that I could bring a taste of home not only to my family, but my community as well.
- Never give up
The initial motivation to start the business only took me so far. To be successful, I also needed the determination to tackle all the challenges that come with running your own company. Israel is a nation of survivors, and for most of us, “I give up” simply isn’t in our vocabulary, and we know that solving a complex challenge is its own reward.
- Learn, constantly
Even with experience in the restaurant industry, turning Garbanzo from an idea into a thriving national chain challenged me in new ways. Knowledge gaps should never be a deterrent. Instead, I saw them as an opportunity to learn the latest techniques in management, and hone my business skills. Now I work as a business consultant to pass on this knowledge, and still learn new things every day as I help other entrepreneurs tackle problems in their companies.
- Surround yourself with good company
This learning is only possible because I support my learning with different perspectives and expert advice. My business partner in launching Garbanzo was key in bringing my vision to life. Today, I work with many brilliant businesspeople, and we learn from each other every day.
- Embrace technology
Technology has transformed every aspect of our culture. While adopting new or complicated tech can be intimidating, getting familiar with the latest technology is a competitive edge in business and an important way to stay connected in life.
These five ingredients have helped me take Garbanzo from a personal dream to a national franchise. They have also inspired my involvement with IAC, which given my wife, my children and me a place to connect to our Israeli and Jewish heritage in addition to abba and ema’s recipes. I look forward to adding my key ingredients into the pot of ideas at the IAC National Conference in November, which will offer a real taste of what community can accomplish.
This blog is part three in a series featuring speakers at the upcoming Israeli-American Council’s National Conference in Washington, DC.