I used to be a Zoe’s guy.
Now, I’m a YAFO guy.
I eat lunch there. I eat dinner there. I get takeout there.
It’s simple – YAFO is addicting because the food is fresh, fast, delicious and healthy. An incredibly rare combination in today’s fast casual world.
Honestly, you can tell by the prideful and stressful look on executive chef Shai Fargian’s face that maintaining food quality and speed is really freaking hard. I don’t know how he does it.
There are two main complaints about YAFO.
#1 It’s expensive. I get the Yafo Shawarma Bowl (Shwarma pulled chicken, Tzatziki, cucumber, tomato salad, tahini and sumac onion) almost every time I go. It costs $10.99. Do I wish it cost $7.99? Yes, of course. But you know what – call me I snob, but I don’t care. For my additional $3, I know I’m getting fresh, delicious ingredients.
You get what you pay for and I hope YAFO doesn’t start apologizing for being expensive – Living Kitchen doesn’t and they’re winning too.
#2 The line is slow. This complaint is true. The slow line does make me upset.
Because of the restaurant setup, I mentally compare YAFO’s line to Chipotle’s line – which moves 3x as fast. This issue is something that both owner Frank Scibelli and Shai are aware of and working on. The menu and order process is complicated and there’s always YAFO rookies in line since the restaurant is new.
This needs to be figured out, but this isn’t Frank’s first rodeo and he’ll figure it out.
It’s the food that makes me an addict.
The food differentiates YAFO.
This is refreshing in today’s restaurant environment that puts emphasis on decor, cocktail programs and location. Honestly, I think YAFO’s location stinks. Nobody shows up at YAFO because of the vibe or the location – they show up because they crave their food.
You either love YAFO’s food, or you’re an Applebee’s burger guy – not that there’s anything wrong with that (but of course there is).
It’s going to be interesting to see if YAFO can maintain both quality and speed as they continue to experience success. If they can, the sky’s the limit.
Oh, and I always add the feta to the Schwarma Bowl. Pro tip from an addict.