Ali Babataher began his career in the restaurant industry in December 1998. Through the years, he had the opportunity to work in several capacities and familiarized himself with all the facets of the industry.
In July 2006 Ali opened the first location of Porta Via™ in Etobicoke, Ontario, and in January 2011, a second location in Markham, Ontario. In September 2011, Porta Via ™ Franchise Corporation was established, with Ali heading up the company as President.
BeTheBoss.ca: Tell us about the Porta Via concept.
Ali Babataher: Porta Via is a fresh food concept centered on innovative meal creations. We believe real food should begin with real ingredients. At Porta via, we cherish that and make all of our products from scratch using an array of only natural food ingredients. If we can’t pronounce it, we don’t use it.
BTB: When did you become involved with Porta Via and what was your background before?
AB: The Porta Via concept was established in the summer of 2006. We began offering franchise opportunities in 2012 and have since then opened three franchise locations. I've been involved in all areas of the food industry since 1998.
BTB: What are some of the advantages in being a Porta Via franchisee?
AB: As a franchisor, we are passionate about what we do and want to bring the same success to other families. We provide an exceptional one-on-one support system and even let potential franchisees run our corporate store in order to give them the confidence needed to operate their own locations. We value our franchisees’ business goals and understand the value of their success. That is our foremost goal.
BTB: Who is your ideal franchisee?
AB: Our ideal franchisee is someone who shares our belief that “real food begins with real ingredients” and aspires to succeed in the franchise food industry by offering the freshest, highest quality product and exceptional service. This is at the core of our mission statement. The franchisee owner/operator has outstanding leadership and communication skills, and is a team motivator. Experience in the food industry is not critical, as extensive training is provided. While hours of operation are dependent on the location, the Porta Via concept will also appeal to those who may want to limit their hours of operation to morning and afternoon, giving them the opportunity to maintain a career and personal life-balance.
BTB: Tell us a little about the restaurant franchise Market?
AB: The QSR market is filled with food ideas that are not focused on quality, but rather simplicity. Pre-cooked and processed products are used extensively in today’s market. At Porta Via, however, we are mindful of our menu, and take pride in offering a selection of high quality products made with the freshest possible ingredients. That has been the root of our success. We want our franchisees to share in our pride and success.
BTB: What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned in growing this franchise?
AB: Find the right person to advocate the name and brand and treat him or her as if you were in their shoes. Be open-minded to their suggestions and concerns and make their success more important than your own business goals.
BTB: Do you have a mentor and is there someone you use for inspiration?
AB: My business partners - Steve Rogers and Kevin Watson; my father and Chef Jamie Oliver.
BTB: What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Franchise?
AB: Do your research before approaching us to understand the difference we are offering you.
BTB: In your opinion, why do you think that Porta Via would be a great opportunity for someone?
AB: We are a start-up company with a great and proven concept. Amazing offers. Real Estate availability. We have a great team of forward-thinking franchisors.