Introducing one of your favorite foods to a new country can be a beautiful thing. But it’s easier said than done. That’s the story of this week’s Wild Business Growth Podcast guest, Karim Khalil. Karim is the Founder of Yaza. Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, and your other favorite podcast platforms.
Episode 261: Karim Khalil – Labneh Spreader, Founder of Yaza
Karim Khalil, the Founder of Yaza, joins the show to share his journey from growing up eating labneh to bringing the Mediterranean-style dip to the US. Hear what makes labneh different from other dips and spreads, how to educate consumers about your product or service, decide what flavors to launch with, achieve work-life balance while starting a business, and learn multiple languages. This episode covers everything from labneh to Excel. Here’s a small sample of what you will hear in this episode:
- What family business did Karim grow up with
- How do you grow your team
- When did Karim start to think about introducing labneh to the US
- What was his experience with the Beirut explosion
- How much taste-testing was there to get the flavors right
- What’s Karim’s ideal type of store to be in
- Will Yaza partner with restaurants
- What’s the most beautiful place Karim’s seen with his bare eyes
Enjoy the shoooooow! Check out the show notes below for much more detail. You can also find the full transcript here.
- Intro & Family Business
- [0:25] Email me at to save time with your high-quality podcast and use it as a business-building tool
- [0:35] Connect with Karim at YazaFoods.com and Instagram @Yaza.Foods
- The Yaza Story
- [7:49] What is labneh
- [8:12] What makes labneh different from other dips and spreads
- [8:43] Probiotics
- [9:44] When did Karim start to think about introducing labneh to the US
- [10:03] Economy
- [10:42] What was Karim’s experience with the Beirut explosion
- [11:40] How did he start creating the Yaza brand
- [12:48] Ronald Marks
- [13:20] How much taste-testing was there to get the flavors right
- [13:46] Customer Feedback
- [14:27] Co-Packer
- [14:47] Prototype
- [15:28] How did Karim come up with the original 3 flavors of Yaza
- [16:06] Za’atar & Olive Oil, Spicy Chili, Plain
- [18:01] Doritos, Stacy’s Pita Chips
- [18:16] Stacy Madison – Wild Business Growth Podcast #168: Founder of Stacy’s Pita Chips and BeBOLD Bars
- [18:48] Shoutout, Brooke Qilafi of Qilafi PR!
- [19:08] Kings Food Markets
- [19:23] How has Yaza gotten early momentum with retailers
- [21:30] How is Karim educating consumers about labneh
- [21:34] Social Media, Yaza Recipes
- [22:41] What’s Karim’s ideal type of store to be in
- [23:04] Lemony Pasta, Beet Labneh
- [23:44] What’s been the biggest driver in the early success of Yaza
- [25:09] Such an honor speaking at Podcast Movement ’23 in Denver! Sign up to grab the slides from my session at MaxPodcasting.com/PM23
- [25:12] Sign up for the Podcasting to the Max newsletter at MaxPodcasting.com/Newsletter and receive How to Edit Your Podcast in Audacity
- Inspiration & Creativity
- [26:21] How do you achieve work-life balance while starting a business
- [28:17] How do you focus on family when you’re at home
- [29:41] What’s the best entrepreneurship lesson Karim’s father taught him
- [31:02] What’s the best life lesson he taught him
- [31:49] Market Research
- [31:56] What are Karim’s favorite types of cuisines
- [32:12] Pasta Freak!
- [32:26] Amar
- [32:45] Shoutout, Gary & Sheryl!
- [33:01] Will Yaza partner with restaurants
- The Unusual
- [34:01] What’s a Weird Talent Karim has
- [34:10] Excel
- [35:11] What’s a pet peeve Karim has
- [35:48] What’s a quirk he has
- Rapid-Fire Q&A
- [36:42] How do you learn multiple languages
- [37:13] What languages does Karim speak
- [37:30] Which language was the most difficult to learn
- [38:28] What’s the most beautiful place Karim’s seen with his bare eyes
- [38:56] What’s his best memory from studying in London
- [39:04] Arsenal
- [39:50] Thierry Henry
- [40:10] Champions League
- [40:20] What is Karim’s favorite way to eat Yaza
- [41:22] Connect with Karim at YazaFoods.com and Instagram @Yaza.Foods
- [42:15] What are Karim’s Final Thoughts
- [44:24] Follow the Wild Business Growth Podcast and tell a friend about the podcast. And show love (or roast me) by leaving 5 stars on Apple Podcasts and/or Spotify
- [44:45] Check out the Wild Business Growth Podcast on Goodpods, where you can see what your favorite people are listening to
- [44:47] Connect with me on Instagram, Twitter (aka X), and LinkedIn @MaxBranstetter
- [44:50] Save time with your high-quality podcast. Email me at to bring your podcast to life and use it as a business-building tool
- [44:56] Sign up for the Podcasting to the Max newsletter at MaxPodcasting.com/Newsletter and receive How to Edit Your Podcast in Audacity
- Theme music: Freestyle Percussion Magik – “Jungle Tribe” – provided by Jamendo
What is the Wild Business Growth Podcast?
Wild ideas. Wild growth. Every Wednesday morning a new entrepreneur joins the Wild Business Growth Podcast to share the wildly creative and unusual ways they grew their business – and teaches you how to do it, too. Hear the minds behind WordPress, Stacy’s Pita Chips, Drybar, NFL RedZone, Big Mouth Billy Bass, the voice of Bart Simpson, and more Wild stories. Hosted by Max Branstetter (that’s me), Founder and Podcast Producer at MaxPodcasting.
How do you start a podcast?
Interested in starting a professional-sounding podcast for your brand, but don’t want to deal with the time commitment of all those behind-the-scenes details? I’ve got you covered. Email me at to save time with your high-quality podcast and use it as a business-building tool.
Thanks for listening to Karim Khalil on the Wild Business Growth Podcast. To hear more Wild stories like this one every Wednesday morning, follow the Wild Business Growth Podcast and tell a friend about it. Until next time, Let your business Run Wild…and Bring on the Bongos!!