Fanshawe OSLT grad eager to use skills with Burger Factory

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: EMILY STEWART
Burger Factory London owner Alaa Senjab (left) and founder and CEO Chef Medo (right) served several customers during the London location's grand opening.

Burger-lovers of London were so determined to try one of Burger Factory’s cheeseburgers during their grand opening, they stood in a line that extended to the Oxford Learning Centre.

Alaa Senjab, a graduate from Fanshawe College occupation-specific language training (OSLT) program, owns Burger Factory’s London location and celebrated the restaurant’s grand opening. Senjab said he was surprised with the number of people eager to check out Burger Factory. The 2-580 Fanshawe Park Rd. East restaurant began its grand opening day on Jan. 24 at 11 a.m., and people were all ready lined up at 10:30 a.m.

As people were eagerly waiting to try a new burger restaurant, they were told that starting at 5 p.m., the first 100 customers would receive free burgers. After that, the burgers were 50 per cent off.

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Burger Factory’s soft opening in London also saw many customers.

“I’m so excited to start my job here in this area,” Senjab said.

Before coming to Canada, Senjab lived in Syria and worked as a pharmacist for about a decade and then in a managerial role for a pharmaceutical company for around another decade longer. The pharmacist moved to Canada in 2019 and studied OSLT’s Workplace Communications Skills for Professional Managers course to gain an understanding of Canadian culture and improve his workplace communication skills.

“It was a very good course,” he said. “They help us a lot to understand the workplace here and understand the business culture here, how to start your life, and they even helped us to give us connection(s) to some important organization(s) here to find out what we need and to start our business.”

Through the course, Senjab made connections with the Small Business Centre and felt their cooperation and seminars were beneficial.

When thinking of what business he wanted to run, Senjab was looking for a growing business with quality products. He became interested in Burger Factory after hearing about it from a friend in Mississauga and thought the burger was delicious when he tried it.

Senjab also liked that the burgers are prepared with fresh, premium ground beef, as opposed to burgers made with frozen patties and/or preservatives. All of the ingredients are Canadian made and the beef is fresh either daily or every two days.

According to the restaurant’s website, Burger Factory has 13 locations across Ontario, from Windsor to Ajax and all burgers are Halal. Along with beef, chicken, and veggie burgers, Burger Factory also serves milkshakes, sliced potatoes on a stick known as tornado fries, and funnel cakes. Senjab encourages cheeseburger enthusiasts to try their Juicy Lucy burger, which features a beef patty stuffed with cheese.

Throughout his interview with Interrobang, Senjab expressed gratitude towards Fanshawe and the rest of Canada for helping him establish his life in Canada. He’s told the College to connect him with any students looking to work at his restaurant and support themselves, as a way to give back to Fanshawe. There are also high school students working at Burger Factory in cashier positions.

Before serving customers their free cheeseburgers, Senjab said the restaurant would prepare 100 meals for people experiencing homelessness on Jan. 25 as a way to say thank you to Canada.

“They helped me when I come here.”

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