With more than 20 years under his belt, Mike Ammari is pumped about America’s Premier Cheesesteak Franchise
Mike Ammari was just out of college when friends introduced him to Great Steak. In 1993, he was offered the chance to buy the location at North Riverside Park Mall in Chicago. Over the years, Mike has watched a lot of changes come for Great Steak, and he’s still excited about the future of the iconic cheesesteak sandwich franchise brand.
A big part of Mike’s excitement comes from the product. Great Steak was founded by two brothers who fell in love with cheesesteak sandwiches on a trip to Philadelphia in 1982, and it became one of the first brands to bring the classic cheesesteak experience to the rest of America.
“You’re bringing a steak sandwich to your neighborhood,” Mike says. Kids can fix sandwiches, moms can make spaghetti, and dads can toss burgers on the grill — but the same is not true of a savory, delicious cheesesteak sandwich. “You can’t make a cheesesteak sandwich at home.”
Mike shared his thoughts on running a cheesesteak sandwich franchise, how the brand has changed, and why Great Steak continues to be America’s Premier Cheesesteak.
Great Steak franchise is a worthy opportunity
Mike has seen businesses in North Riverside Park Mall come and go as the culinary mood of shoppers has shifted over his 23 years there. But at Great Steak, repeat customers come back again and again, and Mike sees new customers in his lines every day.
Customers connect with an authentic cheesesteak sandwich experience at Great Steak in a way that few other food franchise concepts deliver. In fact, authenticity is one of the defining characteristics that set cheesesteak enthusiasts apart from other sandwich seekers. Only three ingredients are necessary for an authentic cheesesteak sandwich: thinly sliced sirloin steak, melted cheese and a French roll that is crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside — soft enough to soak up the juices of the meat. That simplicity has driven Great Steak since the company got its start in 1982.
“I think Great Steak is built to survive,” Mike says. “A lot of people are copying us, but we’re the original, and we’re still here.”
Customers appreciate a hands-on owner/operator
Great Steak franchise owners are active in their businesses. Whether it’s managing employees, making orders or working the counter, owners have a presence customers grow to appreciate.
“People expect more from you as an owner because you are able to make decisions,” Mike says. He spends every day in his store, working the line and visiting with customers. “They like to see you around because they know there’s a responsible person there, someone who’s in charge, and people like to see that.”
Owners enjoy the support not only of Great Steak’s top-shelf management team, but also of Kahala Brands™, one of the most trusted names in franchising. As part of Kahala Brands, Great Steak franchise owners are part of a global franchisor with 18 QSR brands in its portfolio, including Cold Stone® Creamery, Blimpie®, Pinkberry® and Planet Smoothie®, just to name a few — a network that produces combined sales of almost $735 million a year, with 3,000-plus locations in 28 countries around the world*.
Owning a cheesesteak sandwich franchise is affordable
Great Steak is a low-cost investment opportunity with a proven business model; the initial investment ranges from $146,600 to $511,050 for a traditional mall location like Mike’s Chicagoland store. An in-line restaurant model is available for initial investments ranging from $129,200 to $329,550. Having sold millions of cheesesteaks since our founding in 1982, Great Steak has a proven 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.
Since taking over the North Riverside Park Mall location of Great Steak in 1993, Mike has ridden the waves of the up and down economy. He’s seen customers come back time and time again, whether they’re seeking value or just a great meal.
“Five or six years ago, when beef went up so high, Great Steak was promoting a steak sandwich — for under five bucks,” Mike says. “Where else could you get a steak sandwich for just a few bucks?”
Great Steak franchise owners benefit from our years of experience navigating the competitive, $22 billion sandwich industry. With average store sales topping $466,674, according to Item 19 disclosures in our latest FDD, a Great Steak franchise is a potentially lucrative investment opportunity that is positioned for many years of continued growth.
Learn more about the Great Steak franchise
Whether you’re looking to bring authentic cheesesteak sandwiches to a shopping mall near you or wanting to open a friendly neighborhood eatery, Great Steak offers the right opportunity at the perfect time. There’s never been a better time to open a Great Steak.
*“We Hope You Brought Your Appetite,” pg. 1, www.kahalamgmt.com