Tareq Qarman’s first job out of high school was cashiering for the Golden Corral located in Orlando’s Hollywood Plaza.
And soon, he’ll open a MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes franchise location in that same plaza.
“It was pretty trippy when I thought about that,” laughed Qarman.
MOOYAH is not Qarman’s first foray into business ownership, though—for the last decade, he’s cut his teeth as a five-unit franchisee with Ben & Jerry’s.
“When I was 12 or 13 years old, I used to write ‘Qarman Group’ on a list of hotels and restaurants,” he said. “I always had the idea. I was just figuring out everything. I’m still figuring out everything.”
Qarman has lived in Orlando since his parents moved from Palestine in search of a better life and education for their children in 1993. Upon graduation from high school, he began working at Golden Corral and was quickly promoted from cashier to assistant manager. He eventually became an associate manager, going on to work for the company for a total of 16 years.
“You don’t always think an experience will carry on through your career, but I learned the restaurant business from that environment,” he said. “I was part of a busy, high-volume Golden Corral near Disney and Universal Studios that was very touristic. I learned every position. It’s a massive operation, from employees to product and everything that comes with it.”
In the late aughts, Qarman began looking for a franchise opportunity that would allow him to utilize what he’d learned. “At the time, Cold Stone was huge. I started going in the ice cream direction,” he said. “One day, I was walking the aisles of the supermarket. I thought Ben & Jerry’s was an amazing brand, but I didn’t know if they franchised. I grabbed a pint, looked at the back, saw ‘Franchising Available’ and gave them a call.”
Qarman opened his first location in 2010 on International Drive—yes, the very same street where Hollywood Plaza is located. Call it the Rule of Threes. The next year, he opened his second location as a kiosk at a premium outlet mall and quit working at Golden Corral. He’s since opened two more stores and purchased an existing Ben & Jerry’s.
“I’ve learned a lot with my experiences at Ben & Jerry’s, and I’m looking forward to taking my background and applying it to my new ventures with MOOYAH,” said Qarman. “There are so many exciting initiatives going on with the brand, and now is the time to join and get involved with a franchise you can be proud of.”
Approximately three years ago, Qarman decided it was time to branch out from dessert in order to use his 16 years of foodservice experience. “You can’t go wrong with burgers,” he said. “I looked at MOOYAH’s Instagram and was drawn in by the photos of the food. I liked that it didn’t serve alcohol and had a family atmosphere. I also liked the touches of decoration in its stores—MOOYAH takes pride in how the stores look inside.”
Qarman finally got to taste MOOYAH’s “better burgers” when he visited the brand’s HQ in Dallas. “It was amazing,” he said. “I loved the idea of sweet potato fries, and as an ice cream guy, I was really impressed with the milkshakes. They use real ice cream, not just sugar and milk. They care about creating a quality product. That’s what sold me right there.”
So far, one big difference between his past franchising experience and that of MOOYAH has been the real estate hunt. “For ice cream, you look for a movie theater or a mall. Ice cream isn’t a destination; it’s an impulse sale. But MOOYAH is a destination,” he said.
Indeed, Qarman’s MOOYAH is one of the biggest destinations in the franchise system thus far. “This is going to be one of the biggest MOOYAHs: 4,200 square feet including a 900-square-foot arcade,” he said. “We are partnering with a company that creates arcade rooms at Universal and all over Florida. We’ll also have a nice view and an outdoor seating area. It will be a fun destination for families.”
And yes, it’s at Hollywood Plaza. “I started as a cashier there and now I’m an owner,” said Qarman. “I want to always make the consumer feel special. That’s what I want to focus on: a good family atmosphere and quality customer service. We’re not in the burger business—we’re in the customer service business.”