Atomic Wings: Interview with Entrepreneur Zak Omar
Atomic Wings is a food chain owned and operated by brothers Zak and Ray Omar whose parents came to the U.S. as refugees in 1980 from Afghanistan’s Soviet War. Their father, Mo, owned a fried chicken food truck in NYC which became very popular among businessmen on Wall Street. From there, Mo Omar became very successful, eventually owning one of N.Y.C.’s largest coffee supply and distribution warehouses.
Zak and Ray worked with their father. In 2004, Zak graduated from Hofstra University and found a job as an IT specialist on Wall Street. He eventually moved to Washington D.C. where he was diagnosed with leukemia and returned to New York for treatment and to be closer to family. During this ordeal, he connected with Adam Lippin who was the founder of Atomic Wings and purchased the company in 2017.
Meanwhile, Ray Omar Army Special Forces and attained the rank of Captain before he took a position as a civilian consultant to the Army in 2006. He learned business ownership skills while in the army and eventually teamed up with his brother. They currently own and operate six Dunkin’ stores in Maryland and another on the Kentucky-Tennessee line, near the Fort Campbell military base. He also helps his brother operate Atomic Wings.
Recently Zak discussed his career and working with his brother via an exclusive interview.
Meagan Meehan (MM): When did you first discover your love for food and when did you each decide to make this your career?
Zak Omar (ZO): I first discovered my love for food while working with my father at his mobile fried chicken truck outside of One Chase Manhattan Plaza in the Wall Street area. My brother Ray and I would always be messing around with different sauces and combinations. My father had one regret in his life, and that was passing up on an opportunity to open a Dunkin’ Donuts franchise in New York back in the 80’s. When we were presented with the opportunity to open up a Dunkin’ franchise in the Washington, D.C. market we had to jump on it. He sacrificed his whole life for us and he influenced my brother and me that this was the best path for our future.
MM: What made you decide to focus on Atomic Wings and Dunkin’?
ZO: We initially focused on Dunkin’ while my father was alive because of his love for the brand. After he passed away, we decided to purchase the Atomic Wings brand in his honor. He started out in the fried chicken business and this was a great way to honor that beginning with a brand that has a great New York presence.
MM: Which is more challenging, being a franchisor or franchisee?
ZO: Being a franchisor is more difficult in my opinion because you are so vested into every location succeeding. You want your franchisees to do well and be very profitable. All eyes are on you and you have to be available at all times.
MM: What is it about the fast food industry that most appeals to you?
ZO: The customer service of fast food appeals to us. Putting a smile on our guests’ faces. Guests usually frequent our restaurants 2-4 times a week. It helps build relationships between the staff and our guests.
MM: Do you enjoy working together or is it challenging?
ZO: I definitely enjoy working with my brother. In business you never know who to trust, but working with my brother puts that to bed. We have great trust between each other. We also divide tasks based on our strengths. We each know what we are good at and what we are not good at.
MM: What are your biggest goals for the future and what is coming up next for you?
ZO: Our biggest goal for the future is to build our Atomic Wings brand beyond the New York area. We want to take our awesome brand to every state in America and taking it to the next level!