America’s Premier Cheesesteak franchise capitalizes on the increased demand for the classic cheesesteak experience
Great Steak™ has served millions of cheesesteaks since our founding in 1982. It has remained the premier cheesesteak franchise by capitalizing on two important trends: more customers are seeking authentic, American comfort food, and cheesesteaks are rising in popularity.
The cheesesteak is hot
The classic American sandwich, popular for decades in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas, is hitting the national stage. Google searches for the once-regional sandwich have skyrocketed, and approximations of the cheesesteak have become mainstays on the menus of national brands like SUBWAY®, Firehouse Subs® and Jersey Mike’s® Subs. Papa John’s® is even offering a cheesesteak pizza.
“Cheesesteaks are a category of their own,” says Walter Mejia, Vice President of Operations for Great Steak. “It’s the quintessential American sandwich, which at its best features the simple ingredients of the original found in Philadelphia: thinly sliced sirloin steak and melted cheese cooked quickly on a griddle and then placed on a lightly toasted French roll that is baked in-house — which is soft enough to soak up the juices. It’s relatable and easy to understand, and once you’ve had a Great Steak cheesesteak, you’re hooked for life.”
What makes Great Steak cheesesteaks so great?
While Smithsonian.com reports that approximately 50% of Americans aged 20 and older eat at least one sandwich every day¹, the cheesesteak owns a distinctive place in popular culture. Much like barbecue, cheesesteak lovers are devoted, loyal and in constant disagreement over what makes a cheesesteak “authentic.” While the ingredients described above are essential, the real argument comes down to the cheese: provolone, American or cheese sauce? Thankfully, for the devoted loyalists among our customers, Great Steak serves up all three.
A simple Google search for “authentic cheesesteaks” nets dozens of articles that reveal how enthusiastic and passionate cheesesteak lovers truly are. Many national publications in recent years have devoted space to the authenticity of the cheesesteak. For example, The New York Times published “On the Question of Cheesesteaks,” in which authors Sam Sifton and Pete Wells seek the essence of what makes a cheesesteak so delicious:
“I’ll start. The cheesesteak is almost a perfect sandwich. As a corollary: You don’t need to go to Philadelphia to get the best,” Sam writes.
Great Steak takes the cheesesteak very seriously. Founded by two Ohio brothers who fell in love with the sandwich on a trip to Philadelphia in 1982, Great Steak grew to more than 100 locations across the nation. Our simple menu focuses on cheesesteaks, both classic and innovative, and our specialization is appealing to not only cheesesteak purists, but to the largest demographic in the United States: millennials. According to Gordon Food Service®, 49% of millennials say that sandwiches other than burgers are ordered regularly. GFS reports that restaurants “don’t need to be the flashy gastro hotspot to be appealing” to millennials because what they want is a brand with a voice, food with flavor and the ability for customization² — all of which they can find at Great Steak.
“Great Steak appeals to a wide variety of people, but we are especially appealing to the millennial demographic,” Walter says. “Our food is affordable, with an average ticket of $8-$10. And our use of high-quality ingredients is evident the moment a customer steps up to the counter. We don’t prepare meals in advance. Our customers tell us how they want their food, and then we cook their meal in front of them. It’s dinner and a show!”
Great Steak franchise models: food court counter and in-line restaurant
The Great Steak executive team has designed two business models that are easy to operate and don’t require a background in the restaurant industry. We leverage the power of our parent company, Kahala Brands, to source the some of the finest and freshest ingredients to keep hungry customers satisfied. In addition, Great Steak provides extensive training in every aspect of running a great business, as well as training you to teach your team how to provide the best classic American cheesesteak experience in your community.
With an initial investment for a traditional store starting at $146,600, Great Steak is a low-cost restaurant opportunity with potential for high returns. Our food court model and our in-line restaurant are designed to be easy to operate and to help maximize sales; here is what you need to know about both franchise concepts:
Food Court Model: This is the perfect option for a savvy entrepreneur who wants to run a simple business with a small staff, low overhead and few moving parts. Our food court counters are custom-designed to showcase the theatricality of cooking a cheesesteak: when customers walk up to a Great Steak in a food court, they get a perfect view of their cheesesteak being cooked. Our strong presence in malls across America for more than 30 years demonstrates that this model can generate a rapid return on investment. In our three decades in business, Great Steak has developed relationships with several of the largest mall companies in America, and they cannot wait for Great Steak to enter their marketplaces.
“Great Steak has provided me with a wonderful life for my family,” says Raymond Lee, owner of the Great Steak franchise location in the Arrowhead Towne Center in Glendale, Arizona. “As a business, it’s incredibly easy to run, manage and remain profitable. I’m very proud of the quality of our food, and after several years in business, I still cannot wait to come into work and serve our cheesesteaks — which I think are the best for miles around.”
In-Line Restaurant: This model is for savvy entrepreneurs who want to bring the classic American cheesesteak experience to the heart of their communities. Our restaurants require a small footprint, a small staff and low overhead, and the Great Steak executive team will actively work with you to find the best location for your business. In addition, initial training will be extensive, and the Great Steak team will assist you in growing your business as you become a premier cheesesteak restaurant in your community.
“We are very excited about our Great Steak in-line restaurant model,” Walter says. “After opening in Ohio in 2015, we have won an incredibly loyal and devoted customer base that speaks volumes about the public’s love for cheesesteaks and how underserved this segment of the market really is. According to Forbes®, Americans spend an average of $1,000 on lunch every year³; and considering the market for high-quality and locally made sandwiches in this country is through the roof, Great Steak is primed to capture a significant share of the market.”
Costs and fees of owning a Great Steak cheesesteak franchise
With the initial investment ranging from $146,600 to $511,050 (per our FDD), Great Steak is a low-cost investment opportunity with high potential returns. Having sold millions of cheesesteaks since our founding in 1982, Great Steak has an experienced business model for entrepreneurs who are passionate about bringing the classic American cheesesteak experience to their communities. The franchise fee for your first traditional Great Steak franchise is $30,000, and the franchise fee for multiple units may be discounted if certain conditions and criteria are met.
Rachel Nuwer, “Each Day, 50 Percent of America Eats a Sandwich,” Smithsonian.com, October 8, 2014, http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/each-day-50-percent-america-eats-sandwich-180952972/?no-ist
“Give Millennials What They Crave,” Gordon Food Service, https://www.gfs.com/en/food-service-distribution/trending-now/crave/millennials.
Halah Touryalai, “Lunchtime: Americans Spend Nearly $1K Annually Eating Out For Lunch,” Forbes, September 25, 2013, http://www.forbes.com/sites/halahtouryalai/2013/09/25/ lunchtime-americans-spend-nearly-1k-annually-eating-out-for-lunch/#772264e23b19.