Israeli shawarmist takes TikTok by storm

Roz Machlof, who manages a shawarma stand with her brother, has amassed millions of views on her viral TikTok channel, where she makes perfect rolled-up laffas
Customers call her the TikTok Shawarmist, but 22-year-old Roz Machlof is also the co-owner of the Elishko shawarma stand in central Israel’s Giv’at Shmuel, where she works alongside her brother while making videos that get millions of views.
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It all started three years ago during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic when Roz's brother purchased a shawarma stand that was closing down and decided to start his own business there.
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Roz Machlof works at the shawarma stand
(Photo: Yaron Sharon)
Machlof served as a soldier in the Israel Defense Forces at the time and managed to lend a hand and work in the shawarma business throughout her military service until her discharge a year ago.
At this stage in her life, when many young people travel to distant countries after their military service, Machlof decided to invest all her savings in the shawarma stand and become a full partner in the business.
"The shawarma business was my post-army trip," she says. Today, Machlof manages the business together with her brother while also managing their TikTok account, which mainly focuses on shawarma and has garnered tens of thousands of followers and millions of views.
"Working with my sister is the most fun I’ve ever had," her brother, Eliran, says. "We argue, we hug and kiss. She’s my sister and very close to my heart."
Machlof admits that she has always loved shawarma, but when she started working and managing the business, her love for it grew even more, and now she eats shawarma every day.
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Roz Machlof serving customers
(Photo: Yaron Sharon)
She serves customers at the business from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., but she's not alone: Eliran works alongside her. They share the tasks of taking orders as well as managing them through various delivery apps, doing maintenance work, and overseeing additional employees.
She says that people are often surprised to see her behind the shawarma counter, and most of them compliment her. However, there are also amusing situations."Sometimes a guy comes and says, 'Bro, give me some shawarma,' and then he is surprised to see that I, as a girl, am the 'bro' making his dish."
I has not all been positive. While many people admire her for cutting the shawarma herself, there have also been those who didn't appreciate her.
"There were people who belittled me and stared. I’d go to the kitchen and cry my heart out. I’d let it get to me then, but today, it doesn't affect me at all," she says.
Machlof explains that, although working behind the shawarma counter may seem easy, it's not simple at all. It can be tiring and demanding, and even some of the men she employs occasionally quit the profession after a few weeks because it's too challenging for them. "It's not an easy job at all," she concludes.
In addition to carving the meat from the spit and managing the business and employees, Machlof maintains a TikTok account with 40,000 followers, who mostly comment about what they love best about her laffa (traditional flatbread).
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Roz Machlof's shawarma rolled in laffa bread
(Photo: Yaron Sharon)
She prepares the laffa with her viewers, including the perfect roll she developed for her videos, and then eats them with great enthusiasm. "My shawarma stand is the happiest place for me to be in the world, and I make shawarma with love, so I don't mind showing what I love," she says.
Among Machlof's most successful videos is one of her making shawarma that boasts 1.2 million views.
"Throughout the video, you can see how I prepare the laffa, and everything in it is perfect. I think that's why it caught on so much," she explains.
Do you think assembling the laffa is a kind of art? "Absolutely. If a customer receives a poorly rolled laffa, it’ll be a subpar experience. But when a customer receives a properly made laffa, which is similar to making art in my opinion, it’s another thing entirely."
What’s something you don’t think should be put in a laffa roll? "Salad. It's so unnecessary. You have onions, you have parsley, you don't need anything more. You need to respect the meat’s taste, in my opinion."
Recently, Roz and Eliran inaugurated another branch of their business, also in Giv’at Shmuel. Their big dream is to continue expanding and become a famous shawarma brand across the country.
"I want to open more branches all over the country, and along the way, a pop-up shop in Tel Aviv, while making TikTok videos,” she says. “But today, I'm focusing on what I’m doing and will continue to work hard so that, in a few more years, I can achieve that."
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