Serving Mediterranean Cuisine Across the GTA
Written By: Cheryl Long
Produced By: Milos Bulatovic
Anyone who enjoys truly authentic Mediterranean cuisine will be glad that Sam Osmow branched out from a background in business to explore his passion for the culinary arts. The owner and founder of Osmow’s is delighting customers with his unique selection of healthy Middle Eastern recipes served fast food-style throughout the Greater Toronto Area.
Surprisingly, it all began in a submarine shop in Toronto’s Streetsville district. Osmow took over Polar Submarine in the late 1990s and decided to introduce some Mediterranean food options to his customers. As the more culturally diverse menu items grew in popularity, Osmow closed the submarine business and reopened as a fully Mediterranean restaurant in 2001 in Mississauga.
“…I gained experience and unleashed culinary talent through working in high-end restaurants in Cairo and Kuwait,” Osmow explained. “That’s where I discovered the secrets of delicious Mediterranean and Middle Eastern recipes. As a young chef and business man, I experimented with my own recipes and came up with what Osmow’s is today.”
That recipe for flavourful, healthy fast food also turned out to be a recipe for business success. Today, Osmow’s employs 120 people, has seven locations of which five are franchises, operates a food truck, and is scheduled to open five additional restaurants in the next six months. He sold his first franchise in November 2010 — a move that was encouraged by customers who wanted to see Osmow’s locations closer to their homes.
“…after opening three locations of our own, it only made sense to start branching out into franchises from there,” Osmow said. “We received multiple requests from people to purchase franchises, which in turn met the demands received from our customers.”
Shawarma is one of the most popular items
Those demands were a result of the fresh, creative dishes that customers enjoyed each time they visited an Osmow’s location. One of the most popular menu items is the shawarma; in fact, Osmow admits that it’s his favourite dish. But though shawarma fans tend to stick with the same order each visit, he does encourage customers to try some of their other selections, such as shish taouk, souvlaki, falafel or lamb kofta. There’s a generous selection of salads, sandwiches, main dishes and beverages on the menu, and even baklava for those who like to end the meal with something sweet. Online orders for both pickup and delivery are an added convenience.
Customers have voted Osmow’s the No. 1 shawarma restaurant in Mississauga, and the brand has developed a loyal customer base, Osmow said. They’ve received many positive reviews from diners, along with requests from potential franchisees interested in investing in the business.
The level of quality and standards are consistent across each restaurant, which helps new locations turn a profit quickly. That success has encouraged current franchise owners to purchase additional locations. “They see the value the franchise brings them and therefore invest in more locations,” Osmow explained.
“In terms of the future, the sky’s the limit. We’re growing at a fast pace and we’re seeing tremendous success through our franchise owners,” he said. “They’ve been doing a great job in keeping the brand consistent and increasing our brand awareness without sacrificing taste or quality.”
Customer satisfaction is a priority
All of the dishes at Osmow’s are prepared from scratch, Osmow said, which adds an authenticity that customers appreciate. Because the restaurant’s popularity has increased steadily, they’ve been challenged to keep their wait times low to ensure customer satisfaction. Faster and better service are areas where they continually strive for improvement. They also try to engage their customers via social media, offering contests and customer feedback promotions through Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram.
“We would love to hear back from customers. Any feedback is greatly appreciated, whether good or bad. It is definitely taken into consideration,” Osmow said. “We thank our valued customers, dedicated staff and franchisee owners for the continued support and loyalty given.”
To learn more about Osmow’s and their Mediterranean cuisine, visit mrosmow.com.