Amsterdam Falafelshop Expanding Rapidly

Since opening in Washington, D.C. eight years ago, Amsterdam Falafelshop has become somewhat of an institution in the nation's capital. Run by founders Scott and Arianne Bennett, their unique recipe for the popular vegan Middle Eastern fried balls of goodness has brought them a lot of popularity, along with the restaurant's European-inspired d├ęcor and choice of 21 different sauces and toppings and option to go pita-free.

Two years ago the duo began a franchising program geared toward expanding the restaurant beyond D.C. proper. Within the past 12 months, they've signed deals to open nine new franchises.

In July 2012, the first franchise opened, in Somerville, Mass.'s Davis Square. So far it's been successful, and three more are set to open in Boston, two more are coming to Washington, D.C., and three more are slated to open in Maryland and Virginia.

As for the secret to their success? "People are still eating out in this economy; they're just being more selective and cost-conscious of where they go, and that works in our favor," president and CEO Arianne Bennett said in a release. "An Amsterdam Falafelshop customer can get a full meal for between $5 and $10."