Episode 56:

Zak Omar is a career entrepreneur and he can tell you about his journey as owner and CEO of Atomic Wings, a NYC-based Buffalo wing chain, and his plans for both international and domestic growth. But Zak’s story is so much more than Buffalo wings. He gets his business chops from his father, an Afghani refugee who started a Wall Street mobile food business before food trucks were popular. Inspired by his dad’s hustle and success, Zak became a multi-unit Dunkin franchisee alongside his brother, Ray. The pair then chose to invest in Atomic Wings in 2013. The company’s founder was so impressed by Zak that he turned the company over to him. That same year, Zak’s father passed away and Zak was diagnosed with leukemia. Rather than slow down, Zak used his diagnosis as inspiration to grow his business. Today, the brand has 11 locations open for business in New York and Maryland. There are an additional 16 locations set to open in the near future, including abroad in Abu Dhabi and Southeast Asia and in the U.S. in Nevada and Arizona.

What the podcast will teach you:

  • How being in the right place at the right time led to Zak becoming the CEO of the Atomic Wings restaurant brand
  • What challenges Zak experienced growing to and beyond the million-dollar growth plateau, and how attracting the right people to his company was one of the key challenges
  • Why having a clear, strong vision and core values for the franchise were critical steps to help power Atomic Wings’s growth
  • How Zak finds and brings in the right people, what qualities he looks for in new team members, and why he still sometimes struggles with bad hires
  • Why Zak appreciates honest feedback and pushback from his team, and why he appreciates competitive, driven team members
  • How Zak is dealing with the challenge of expanding into multiple states, and why systems, processes and partnerships are crucial for continuing to grow
  • How Zak’s leukemia diagnosis became a source of inner strength and drive, and why having a positive mindset helped Zak achieve remission
  • What key lessons Zak learned from his cancer diagnosis that he was able to bring into his business leadership
  • What current challenges Atomic Wings is facing, and what steps Zak is taking to break through and achieve the company’s future goals
  • Why creating a consistent experience for diners across all restaurants in the franchise is vital for the business and its success


Additional resources:

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