Each Aloha Poke Co. franchise operator has an intriguing story to tell; some come from years of restaurant experience and others from none at all. Baryalay Razi, better known as just “Razi”, is somewhat of a fast-casual franchise fanatic. For this month’s Aloha spotlight, we took some time to talk to Razi about his two decades of experience as a franchise owner, the twists and turns of his life, and why he chose an Aloha Poke Co. Franchise as his latest venture.
A Unique Backstory
Born and raised in Afghanistan, Razi went to Moscow State University to complete his education and earned his Master’s degree in International Law. He went back home to work in the Administrative Foreign Affairs Department of Information and Communication and was soon sent to the Embassy of the United Nations in New York City for four and a half years. Political powers were shifting back home, and he was told to go back but decided to stay in the States.
Razi saw the United States as a great place for opportunity and an even better place to raise a family. After being in the city for quite some time, Razi wanted some change, but he had just built quite a career for himself. He didn’t want to step into a dreary corporate 9-5.
So the question became, what now? His mother’s sister had established herself in Texas, so moving his family to Dallas was the first step. Razi still had to provide for his family, so when a close relative suggested that he look into the fast-casual restaurant industry, he decided to apply to a restaurant nearby. That same day he was offered a position as manager with no experience, and so began his long journey.
“It was a big adjustment for me to go from the United Nations to a restaurant and kitchen,” he said. “But I’m proud. I’m not afraid of sweeping the floor, taking orders, and all of that stuff.”
A Family-Friendly Multi-Unit Venture
As time passed, Razi recognized that this industry had more opportunities for him. He started to invest in franchise brands as a partner and is now overseeing multiple locations across the states. Multi-unit ownership is something that he is passionate about, but he understands that the transition comes with its challenges.
“The time management sometimes gets away from me. Sometimes it could be four or five things happening in one restaurant, then you multiply that by however many restaurants you have, it can get hectic.” he said, “But my main motivation and the reason I got into this industry is because of my family.”
His oldest daughter will be helping him run his Aloha Poke Co. franchise locations and has helped him throughout his fast-casual franchise experience as a director. His other two children will also be training, and thanks to the streamlined operations at Aloha, he is confident that they will seamlessly transition into this family-friendly franchise opportunity.
“To franchise with Aloha is much easier than these other brands,” he explained. “They want to see you use this as a family business, and if you’re serious about it, stay with Aloha for many years. They are different from these other brands.”
What’s Next for Razi?
Razi is still waiting to bring his first location to suburban Washington D.C., but last year he signed a multi-unit contract with Aloha. He has found several opportunities throughout the Northern region, including Rockville, Gaithersburg, and Germantown. COVID-19 has stalled his plans just a bit, still, Razi is optimistic that once the pandemic subsides, he will be able to see his partnership through with the help of our in-house corporate team.
“These guys at Aloha’s leadership, they’re just amazing guys. They really support you, they’re there for you, and I’m just really enjoying my time with all of them,” he said. “Anytime I call them or email, they catch up with me once or twice a week. They’re available, and they are there to help.”
Razi has quite the story to tell, but now we want to hear yours! If you’re interested in learning more about the Aloha Poke Co. franchise opportunity, get in touch with us today.