Reston Kabob is getting a chance to uplift its immigrant-owned business through an accelerator program operated by DoorDash.
The Reston-based eatery is part of the first cohort for DoorDash’s Accelerator for Local Goods, an education program designed to support consumer-packed goods that are owned by entrepreneurs who are female, transgender, immigrants or people of color.
Through the program, Reston Kabob will get an extra boost to bottle its sauces, which are made from scratch.
Store manager Masoud Shoja says customers have been requesting the business, which opened in 2003, to bottle its sauces for years. He is an Afghan immigrant who came to the U.S. in the 1980s with his family as a baby. The family fled the Soviet invasion.
After reopening in January 2020, the business explored bottling its sauces, but the pandemic and associated supply chain issues derailed that opportunity.
“Earlier this year, we were finally able to source the bottles, make labels, etc and we started bottling the sauces to sell in store and potentially on 3rd party delivery apps or our website,” Shoja said. “Coincidentally, a week later we received an email to participate in the accelerator program and we saw it as a great fit. The accelerator program highlights packaged goods from local markets.”
Shoja said he opened up to the opportunity to sell beyond Reston Kabob’s platform because of the pandemic.
“The pandemic taught us to be versatile and adapt,” he said. “One way we adapted is to package our sauces where they can be shipped or sold to customers as opposed to customers coming into the physical brick and mortar restaurant location. The accelerator program essentially ‘accelerated’ this opportunity for us.”
The inaugural cohort includes a broad swatch of business owners from Chicago, New York City and the greater D.C. area.
In addition to a six-week education program, Reston Kabob will receive a $5,000 grant to support growth, access to marketing and sales support from DoorDash, and the chance to sell their items via DashMart, a DoorDash-owned and operated grocery and convenience store.
“We hope to gain new customers and grow from there,” Shoja told FFXnow. “If it’s successful, we can launch newer products and flavors and potentially rebrand it to have a more broad appeal as opposed to a localized one.”
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