We are New Yorkers and were drawn to the idea of owning a company founded here. And, of course, we felt we knew a thing or two about the chicken business—ha!
Meet Our CEO: Zak Omar
Education/Employment: I have a BBA in Business Computer Information Systems from Hofstra University. I worked on Wall Street for several years and later became a global account executive for an IT company. Later, I relocated to Washington, D.C. to help run a network of Dunkin’ locations that I operate with my brother, Ray. When I was diagnosed with leukemia, I moved back to New York to undergo treatment and be close to my family. The opportunity to purchase Atomic Wings came at the perfect time, as my health was improving.
Favorite Pastime: I enjoy playing just about every sport, particularly basketball, but also baseball, football and soccer. I love adventure and the thrill of outdoor activities, such as jet skiing and other water sports.
Bone-in or boneless: Bone-in and crispy
Favorite sauce: Lemon pepper
Mild, medium, hot, abusive or nuclear: Hot is as high as I’ll go.
How did your father’s business acumen influence you?
My father was a refugee from Afghanistan and spoke limited English when he got here in 1980, although he ultimately became fluent. He started off selling fried chicken from a truck outside 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza. Later, he purchased a warehouse/garage for other food truck operators and was very successful, putting my siblings and I through college.
My dad had me working from the age of 12 in all different endeavors. I remember waking up early during summer vacations, stocking the truck and eventually driving it when I got my license. I believe my grandfather was also a businessman, in the import/export business, so I guess I inherited the entrepreneurial gene.
What made you decide to purchase Atomic Wings?
In 2013, my father passed away and I also got sick. While I was getting better, my brother and I considered operating an Atomic Wings franchise in Maryland close to one of our Dunkin’ locations. But when we learned there was an opportunity to purchase the franchise from founder Adam Lippin, we went for it. We are New Yorkers and were drawn to the idea of owning a company founded here. And, of course, we felt we knew a thing or two about the chicken business—ha!
How has your experience as a franchisee helped you be a better franchisor?
I think being a franchisee absolutely helps. We don’t want to overburden our franchisees with expenses, such as royalties and construction costs. We’ve cut out all the fat so they could get up and running and be successful.
We are flexible and let our franchisees customize their stores. For instance, stores in largely Muslim communities serve halal meat, and we will soon open our first location serving beer and wine. We are mindful of what the market needs or requires to do well.
What qualities do you look for in a potential franchisee?
We look for somebody who is going to be hands on. We don’t just want investors to pour money in and not put their hearts and souls into their stores to deliver a great product and provide excellent customer service. We have created a culture that allows our franchisees to bounce ideas off one another with the shared goal of achieving success.
Where do you see the business 5 years from now?
It’s Atomic Wings 30th anniversary and we are looking to grow quickly with locations up and down the Northeast. I see us having 100 locations and fans of our authentic, awesome wings across the country.