Wednesday, September 22, 2021

[UPDATE] Franchise "Kings" Shutter The Hummus & Pita Co. After Mere Months in Business

The Hummus & Pita Co. has closed its lone Atlanta area unit after less than a year in business.  Located at 4511 Olde Perimeter Way in the Super Target-anchored Perimeter Place Ashford Lane shopping center, Hummus & Pita opened November 21, 2020, and closed in early August 2021, according to sources in the area.  Brother-in-law franchisees Jay Gill and Patrick Sidhu signed a five-unit development deal with the New York-based franchise in March 2019, with plans to open the restaurants over a two year span across metro Atlanta. “The Hummas & Pita Co. has unlimited growth potential," said Gill and Sidhu at the time. Clearly things didn't work out as planned.  

Yelp indicates the restaurant is "temporarily closed" and is scheduled to reopen September 30 while Google indicates the restaurant is permanently closed.  We visited the restaurant Tuesday night to confirm that yes, according to signage in the window, The Hummus & Pita Co. Dunwoody is indeed closed for good.  We first reported on the restaurant's planned opening in November 2019 when we noticed coming soon signage at the space, meaning that the restaurant spent more time "coming soon," than it spent actually open.  

ToNeTo Atlanta visited the restaurant on day one and found the food good but not extraordinary, and not worth the drive compared to our more easily accessed and locally-owned Sahara Café.  The one thing Hummus & Pita did have going for them was the Chickpea Chiller, a "better-for-you" chickpea-based milkshake, that was actually pretty tasty.  

According to online reviews, service and food were hit or miss shortly after opening, and those elements no doubt played a role in the restaurant's inability to continue operating.  Gill & Sidhu are not novice restaurant operators but their experience is primarily in burger joints - specifically Burger King - where they are one of the largest franchisees.  The operation of any restaurant is similar to an extent, but a Burger King - its food quality, service level and guest expectations - are very different from that of a premium, fresh-made, fast casual restaurant.  

It's worth noting, too, that at 2,800 square feet, the Atlanta Hummus & Pita was significantly larger than the roughly 1,000 to 2,000 square foot size that the company describes as typical of its restaurants in marketing materials.  This added square footage [cost] no doubt made the unit economics of the restaurant quite challenging.  

Dave Pesso, co-founder of The Hummus & Pita Co.  called Gill and Sidhu at the time of the development announcement "the perfect franchisees" and said "we are beyond humbled to have them on board. We will learn a great deal from Jay and Patrick, and I look forward to a long and mutually rewarding relationship.”

As we noted in our earlier coverage, a separate Hummus & Pita Co. franchise in Denver opened in January 2019, but by October 2019, was closed.  Gill & Sidhu's company, Premier Kings, Inc., also opened a Hummus & Pita Co. franchise in Huntsville, Alabama in December 2020, which by July of this year had also closed.  

Hopefully Pesso and the team at The Hummus & Pita Co. do learn a lot from Jay and Patrick's failures and are in a better position to prepare franchisees for success in the future.  

Did you ever eat at The Hummus & Pita Co. in Dunwoody?  Have you tried the Chickpea Chiller?  What kind of restaurant would you like to see open in place of The Hummus & Pita Co. in Dunwoody?

Please share your thoughts below.  


Anonymous said...

First time I went there, we stood in line for 20 minutes without moving at all, so we gave up and went to the Pita Street Food place around the corner. Second time it was just meh, still a line but the food was no better than Pita Street Food. I did get the feeling that they were selling the fact that their food was somewhat healthy, but I thought the gyro meat was pretty greasy. I did sample the chickpea shake, and it was actually pretty tasty, if you were in the mood for that sort of thing.

Anonymous said...

Did they sell anything besides hummus and pitas? Sounds kinda dull and monochromatic to me! :)

Anonymous said...

How in the hell do experienced business people make such poor decisions? Remarkable, really. One could spot this as a failure from a mile away.

Anonymous said...

I was a fan but they closed at 8 so I often went somewhere else. Still think of the Spanish eggplant.

Anonymous said...

😒 bankruptcy

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