America is considered to be the land of opportunity, and for one immigrant family, they harnessed the power of that to have a successful business. Armed with a desire to succeed and a variety of traditional Lebanese family recipes, the Chebat family brought their culture’s cuisine to the Woodbridge, Virginia, area. Not only has their restaurant survived, but it has thrived in the ten years since they first opened their doors. They have learned a lot of lessons along the way regarding what it takes to succeed in the restaurant business.
“Layla’s Lebanese Restaurant is a success story of one immigrant family coming together to build something special,” added Michael Chebat, the father and chief operating officer. “Many people believe that family shouldn’t work together, but if you have the right mindset and shared goals you can thrive and grow a successful business. Our success depends on our family synergy and happy customers, combined with our commitment to offering people high quality traditional recipes.”
When Michael started the restaurant with his wife, Mathil, they wanted to offer people a variety of authentic Middle East dishes. Each of the dishes served at the restaurant comes from traditional family recipes and are the same dishes that the family has eaten in their home for generations. The unique flavors and atmosphere help to create a dining experience that brings people back time and again.
The restaurant is run by the Chebat family, which includes their eight children. Together, they have created a menu that appeals to many, including those who are health-conscious, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and seeking organic options. Not every family can come together to create a successful business. There are lessons that they have learned and share regarding what it takes to succeed:
- You have to approach what you are doing as a labor of love, and never forget who you are doing it all for, which is the customer.
- Everyone on your team needs to be committed to growing the company and invested in helping it to succeed.
- Define your core values and build your business around them. At Layla’s, their core set of values include love, family, trust, quality, and flavor.
- You should infuse your business with your own styles, culture, and unique offerings, but always keep in mind what the market wants. For example, Layla’s Lebanese Restaurant has identified the growing trend in people wanting vegetarian, vegan, and organic foods when dining out, and they are happy to meet that need.
- Have the team make a pact that they refuse to go anywhere but up. There is no failure; there is only multiple ways to succeed, and you have to find the route that will get you there.
- Define your focus and don’t be afraid to stick to it. At Layla’s, they have committed to focusing on the family. Their entire business model is focused on the family, both within their team and in reaching their customers. They aim to bring families together and help them have a great dining experience.
“We wanted to introduce people to our food and culture, and a restaurant as well as a new product line was the perfect way to do that,” explains Jimmy Chebat, the uncle and president of Layla’s Lebanese Restaurant. “With that in mind, we worked to create something that would infuse a bit of our culture and flavors into the area. We are thrilled that it has been well received and look forward to many more years to come.”
Layla’s Lebanese Restaurant, located at 2217 Old Bridge Road in Woodbridge, offers a menu filled with authentic Middle East dishes, including kabobs, falafel, hummus, grape leaves, beef shawarma, meat pies, stuffed cabbage, a Lebanese version of steak tartar, and a wine and beer menu. The restaurant also offers full catering services for birthdays, graduations, business events, work lunches, and more. Those who sign up for their email list will receive 10 percent off their next visit. For more information about Layla’s Lebanese Restaurant, visit the site at: laylas.net.
The company also offers a line of ready-made products that are available in stores and farmer’s markets throughout Virginia and New York. The Layla’s Food Company product line includes Layla’s Garlic Whip, available in original, honey garlic, jalapeño cilantro, cranberry, and sun-dried tomato, and Layla’s Hummus, available in original and black bean. The website offers recipes and a free cookbook that can be downloaded. For more information about Layla’s Food Company, including which stores carry the product line, visit the site: laylasfood.com.
About Layla’s Lebanese Restaurant
Located in Woodbridge, Virginia, Layla’s Lebanese Restaurant has been serving up authentic Middle East cuisine for over 10 years. Family-owned and operated, the company offers a wide variety of traditional dishes made from family recipes. The restaurant also offers catering and has a dip product line that is available in stores. For more information, visit: laylas.net.