There are few people who would ever consider making a career out of the first job they ever had. However, Ammar Jali is one of those few.
Jali began his career as a part-time Domino’s Pizza delivery driver in 1991, until he decided to go to school for electrical engineering. After some time in the engineering world, he realized that’s not what he wanted to do in life. Instead, he found that Domino’s Pizza was his calling so he returned to the franchise, but this time not as a driver.
“Domino’s pizza made sense to me,” he said. Jali started wondering what it took to become a franchisee, so he went back to his roots – the same Domino’s where started as a driver – and decided to leave his job as an electrical engineer. 22 years ago, Jali purchased his first store in Long Island and the rest, as they say, is history.
Though Jali got his start in New York, eventually opening 13 Domino’s locations in the Long Island area, he now also owns almost all of the Pennsylvania locations.
In 2006, he moved into the Pittsburgh area with the intention to develop the entire market. Jali said Pittsburgh was a market no one was interested in expanding into so he “wanted to bring the market back to life.”
Now the proud owner of 35 stores, he’s setting his sights on an even larger goal: owning 100 stores in the Pennsylvania market. In fact, he said, he has leases, plans, and permits in place to open four more stores just this year. And, he said, “I will continue to buy and build in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and surrounding markets.”
Jali said he wants to make each new store better than the last. “I want to run faster than anyone else,” he said, “That’s what gets me excited.”
But there is more to Jali than meets the eye.
He is the proud owner of multiple Gold Franny’s, an award handed out to Domino’s storeowners that have ranked in the top 2 percent in sales performance, product quality, community involvement, store crew morale, and other criteria.
A Domino’s press release wrote of the honor, “The Gold Franny Award is the most prestigious honor bestowed on a Domino’s Pizza franchise owner.”
Jali is also one of 10 Strategic Growth Partners with Domino’s, having been the first to sign up. This is an agreement Domino’s only offers to a handful of franchisees. Being a Strategic Growth Partner gives Jali discounts on marketing and royalties in the first two years of owning a new store.
Working with Direct Capital
Over nine years ago, Jali was introduced to Matt Goyette, Direct Capital’s Vice President of Major Accounts, through marketing efforts focused on Domino’s franchisees. Direct Capital was a preferred Domino’s lender, so Jali decided to give the company a shot, as he was frustrated with the lengthy process to acquire funds from his previous lender.
Direct Capital, he said, “Made sense and was almost too good to be true. I did the first few deals and then brought all of my business to Direct Capital.” And since then, he said, he’s been able to build 3-5 stores a year in Pittsburgh.
“When you do a deal,” Jali said, “time is of the essence. That’s why I love dealing with Direct Capital. No other lending institution connects with their customers like they do.”
Jali and the team at Direct Capital have a “very healthy relationship,” he said. Jeff Matos, Direct Capital Lending Solutions Manager, who in addition to Goyette, works closely with Jali, mirrored that sentiment. Matos said, “In a word, working with Ammar Jali is inspiring. His positive energy is infectious and forces you to strive to be the best you can be. I’m honored to call Ammar a client and, more importantly, a friend.”
Because his relationship with the team is so strong, Jali trusts Direct Capital to get the job done. He said, “Direct Capital has always been there for me. That’s huge for me, that’s magic for me.
“I’m blessed to have an opportunity with Domino’s,” and, he said, to have the chance to work with everyone at Direct Capital. “Direct Capital gets it done. That’s the bottom line.”
To discover ways that Direct Capital can help your franchise grow like Ammar’s, visit our Franchise Financing page!