Have you heard of The Halal Guys? Of course you have! The food cart famed for its authentic Middle Eastern-Mediterranean fare has a cult following in New York City and beyond. We caught up with Naveen Mohiuddin, owner of The Halal Guys in King of Prussia, to get the scoop on the hottest menu items and what’s up next for this booming franchise.
What’s the story behind The Halal Guys? When did you open and how did you get involved?
The Halal Guys started as a chicken and rice cart in New York City almost 30 years ago and now it’s one of the most recognizable food carts in the world. It was originally a hotdog cart, but as the business grew Muslim cab drivers started asking for Halal chicken – so they started cooking it. After a while the food cart began attracting Wall Street and the hungry late-night crowd. The Halal Guys became a cult following with no marketing.
Two years ago The Halal Guys started to franchise into brick and mortar stores. Now there are over 70 restaurants nationwide and a handful globally. They reached out to me to become a franchisee and I signed on in January 2016. I was a longtime customer of The Halal Guys because my sister lives in New York City. In our community, everyone knows who The Halal Guys are. Once I realized they were franchising and I saw what they were doing, I was sold. We opened our first restaurant in King of Prussia near the mall in October 2016.
What would you say is your best-selling dish?
Our best seller is the combo platter with chicken and beef over rice topped with our world famous white sauce. It’s a huge hit with Fooda customers and in the restaurant.
What’s your personal favorite dish?
The same! I love the combo platter with chicken and beef over rice.
What inspires the menu creations at The Halal Guys?
Our menu is super simple; there aren’t a lot of frills. We keep it authentic to the food cart in New York. Over the last five or six months we started offering spicy BBQ chicken, spicy hummus, and a few limited time offers. We get some pushback about not having lamb but we want to keep the menu authentic to the original food cart.
Why do you think Fooda consumers voted you best lunch in Philly?
The food sells itself, so we kicked up our efforts with customer service. We put a lot of care into our Fooda setup and service and we explain the meals to our customers. With Fooda we have a very corporate lunch crowd that doesn’t have time to go out to eat, so we bring the brand to them.
What food trends are you seeing in Philly, if any?
The food truck market is really big right now. The Halal market has boomed in last few years, too. We want people to know that The Halal Guys are the original Halal chicken and rice carts.
Do you have any exciting plans for The Halal Guys in the near future?
Our plan is to open five more stores in the next few years. We just opened our second restaurant two weeks ago in northeast Philly, and we’re scouting locations for a third restaurant now. We really just want to get The Halal Guys name out there and be the pioneer in Halal quick service.
Fooda consumers voted The Halal Guys the best lunch in Philly! The next time you’re craving an authentic gyro or crispy falafel sandwich, look no further than this fan favorite.