Founder, Fakih Foundation
President & CEO, Paramount Fine Foods
It all started......
In 2006, Mohamad Fakih purchased a nearly bankrupt restaurant and transformed it into, what is now known as the fastest growing Middle Eastern Halal restaurant chain in North America – Paramount Fine Foods. Mohamad’s determination to change perceptions surrounding Middle Eastern food has driven Paramount’s brand success across Canada and internationally as well as advancing the global Middle Eastern food trend.
A community leader, Mohamad regularly participates in fundraisers and community events, supporting multiple causes and organizations including the Canadian Cancer Society, Islamic Relief worldwide, Sick Kids Hospital and the Make a Wish Foundation in Toronto. Both Paramount and Mohamad have donated generously to these charities and other non-profit organizations. Across his restaurants Mohamad offers discounts to all Emergency Service Workers in uniform to show appreciation for their service in our communities.
This past year after the Canadian government decided to welcome 25,000 Syrian Refugees, Mohamad made headlines in Canadian News when he travelled to Lebanon to visit the Islamic Relief Camps for Syrian Refugees to gain a deeper understanding of current relief efforts. Hoping to lead by example, Mohamad partnered with Ryerson University, Toronto for the Lifeline Syrian Challenge – allowing Paramount Fine Foods to fund employment support counsel to help recruit new Syrian Canadians during their job search. Mohamad also committed to providing up to 100 jobs for the newcomers in his restaurants in 2017.
Mohamad’s determination to uphold values of giving back to communities where Paramount restaurants are located has resulted in a workplace culture of giving to others and to supporting one another. He has made philanthropy and giving back a key part of Paramount’s culture and identity, setting it apart from other restaurants and businesses globally.
Mohamad has been featured in a number of leading media outlets across Canada including CBC and CP 24 Television, Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, Newstalk 1010, National Post and many more.
In February 2017, Mohamad was acknowledged before the Canadian Parliament by Prime Minister of Canada - Justin Trudeau - as an Exemplary Canadian Citizen and Businessman who successfully operated a Middle Eastern restaurant chain, and was applauded for his charitable work in January 2017 when he covered the funeral costs of six victims of a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque. In his business affairs and community work, Mohamad is viewed as a Canadian of Lebanese birth who transcends and brings together people of all origins in a global workplace advancing our communities and helping each other to contribute to our societies. The Prime Minister of Canada –Justin Trudeau- as well as the Premier of Ontario, Canada and several City Mayors have all visited Paramount Restaurants in Ontario.
Along with being named a finalist in the 2014 Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, Mohamad made the cover of Canadian Immigrant Magazine for both his business success and inspiring life story. In addition, The Globe and Mail titled Mr. Fakih one of Toronto’s “16 to watch in 2016”. The list, released in January included other notable Canadians such as John Tory, Mayor of Toronto and Alessia Cara (International Artist). Toronto Life Magazine named Mohamad Fakih as one of the Top 50 Most Influential People in 2017, including him in an affluent list of successful politicians, international businessmen, media and tech titans who are changing the world as we know it.
In 2018 Mohamad Fakih, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist and President of Paramount Fine Foods received an honorary Doctor of Law Degree, from Ryerson University in Toronto. Mohamad most recently received the prestigious 2018 Employer Award for Newcomer Employment from IRCC- Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
Mohamad is committed to revamping the traditional image of the Middle Eastern Restaurant industry by changing the way the cuisine is viewed and enjoyed. He believes that his hands-on approach to all aspects of his business ensures the Paramount model will sustain its growth and continue to provide jobs for Canadians including new immigrants globally as Paramount expands.
Paramount currently employs over 2000 people across its 38 locations in Canada and 14 International locations, including gourmet butcher shops, food factories, the new Fresh East Middle Eastern sandwich franchise and its Toronto international corporate head office. The Paramount brand will have 63 locations by end of 2018 with new locations opening in Lebanon, the UK, New York state, US, Dubai and Pakistan. Paramount is proud to bring Halal Foods to the world after being the first halal restaurant to open at Terminals 1 and 3 at Toronto Pearson International Airport.
Mohamad is a strategic and successful business leader who employs his skills, expertise and experience into expanding Paramount’s brand to pioneer the halal market globally and always give back to the community. He believes this can only be achieved by sharing his vision, knowledge and expertise with his management teams, franchisees in each country where he opens locations. Mohamad aims to continue the exponential growth of Paramount globally while continuing to promote excellent standards of food quality and service in Middle Eastern restaurants and to share the cuisine with diverse audiences.
In the last 5 years, Mohamad has received numerous awards for his business excellence and for his charitable works including a few mentioned below:
• Entrepreneur of the Year – Food and Beverage Finalist 2013 to 2014 -Ernst & Young, Ontario, Canada .
• Readers Choice Community Gold Award 2013 and 2014- Hamilton, Ontario newspapers.
• Top Meat Shop 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016- Top Choice Media Awards in Toronto, Ontario.
• Best Middle Eastern Restaurant and Top Butcher Shop in Mississauga, Ontario- insauga.com.
• Entrepreneur of the Year 2016 – MAX Gala –Muslim Awards for Business Excellence in Ontario, Canada.
• Business Person of the Year 2016- Business Excellence Award- Toronto Board of Trade.
• Regional Company of the Year 2016- Pinnacle Awards- Kostcuh Restaurant and Food Industry Media Canada.
• Excellence in Community Engagement 2016-Pioneers of Change Awards/ Skills for Change- Toronto.
• Best Middle Eastern Restaurant in Ontario, Canada 2016- Toronto Life Magazine.
• United Way Recognition of Support Award 2016- Peel Regional Police in Ontario, Canada.
• Top Choice Award for Paramount Restaurants and Butcher Shop in Ontario, Canada-2017 – Top Choice Media.
• Consumers Choice Award- Best Mediterranean Restaurant in the Greater Toronto Area- 2017.
• Business Person of the Year 2017 – Brampton, Ontario – Board of Trade.
• Sawa Business Excellence Award – Year 2017 -Sawa International Group Gala.- Quebec, Canada for International Relief Organization Awards.
• Restaurants Canada- Leadership Award 2017- Organization for Excellence in Canadian Restaurants.
• Royal Bank of Canada- Top 25 Immigrant Award 2017.
• Toronto Life Magazine- Top 50 Most Influential People Awards-2017.
• Ryerson University, Toronto-Doctor of Law 2018- Honorary Doctorate Degree- awarded to Mohamad Fakih-Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, CEO and President of Paramount fine Foods.
• IRCC- 2018 Employer Award for Newcomer Employment from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.