Scan Magazine, Issue 115, August 2018

Page 44

Scan Magazine  |  Culinary Feature  |  FAFAS

Fast food with a fresh twist When Doron Karavani opened the first Fafa’s in 2011, he had no idea that his concept of a fast food place that sells freshly made falafels and pita breads would one day grow into a large franchise. Yet, having started on the streets of Helsinki, the concept is now spreading to the rest of Europe. By Ndéla Faye  |  Photos: Fafa’s

The first Fafa’s, located on the trendy Iso Roobertinkatu in the centre of Helsinki, is still as busy as when it first opened its doors. Although there are several places selling international food in the city, Karavani felt that something was missing. Having dabbled in various professions, he came upon the idea of opening a fast food restaurant. “When we first started, I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted to do. But the business idea grew along with the business itself,” Karavani admits. “At the end of our first week of trading, we would often sell out of ingredients before closing time, and there 44  |  Issue 115  |  August 2018

would be people queuing all the way up the street. So I knew I was onto something special, and we quickly opened new outlets.” Fafa’s currently has 24 restaurants throughout Finland and overseas — with that number set to be close to 40 before the end of the year.

A fusion of flavours Fast food is often associated with greasy spoons and microwaved, pre-packaged foods, but Fafa’s does things differently — it is all about a unique atmosphere, good food from fresh ingredients, and great people. Besides its trademark falafels

and pita breads with various accompaniments, Fafa’s also serves other quality fast food, such as kebabs and salads. “I want to combine different ingredients and flavours,” Karavani explains. “I noticed that Finns like creamy textures and flavours, so I started mixing pesto and goats cheese, and Kalamata paste with feta. All the flavours complement each other — and it clearly works, because people keep coming back for more.” Part of Fafa’s uniqueness is that, despite having evolved into a chain franchise, each restaurant has its own vibe. “The employees are a big factor in creating the atmosphere, and I’m very proud of the people who make Fafa’s what it is — a place where diners want to come to enjoy good food. Fafa’s has been chosen as the best street food restaurant in Helsinki several times and we have a

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