Charley’s Grilled Subs, the 25-year old fast food chain best known for their hot, fresh, made-to-order Philly Steak Sandwiches, recently launched their new fast casual restaurant concept called Charley’s Philly Steaks in their hometown of Columbus, Ohio.
Charley’s Philly Steaks will offer diners a freestanding, fast casual restaurant option with drive-thru, an upgraded menu, and modern interior décor.
The classic menu items will still be available, like the Philly Cheesesteak, other 100 percent Certified USDA choice steak, chicken and deli subs, gourmet fries and freshly squeezed lemonade, but this menu has some new twists.
The rice-based Philly Bowls give diners the same high quality of the sandwiches sans the bread, and every signature lemonade will be freshly made with real fruit — with a choice of strawberry, blueberry, or peach.
Guests at Charley’s Philly Steaks can choose from three different sandwich sizes and eight different french fries varieties, including the Ultimate Fries with cheddar cheese, bacon and ranch (yum!) or the Philly Funnel Fries with cream cheese icing and powdered sugar (interesting!).
In a nod to the current frozen yogurt trend, there’s an entirely new section of the menu devoted to their Signature Frozen Treats, all made with non-fat frozen yogurt.
Charley’s Philly Steaks is designed to be more upscale. Instead of paper plates and plastic ware, the new restaurant concept makes use of ceramic dishes, real silverware, and eco-friendly take-out containers made of 60 percent post-consumer recycled material.
Following the opening of the first Charley’s Philly Steaks restaurant at 1836 West Henderson Road in Columbus, Ohio, Charley’s plans on opening five to ten new CPS locations in 2012. The company, founded in 1986 by Charley Shin, has grown to more than 430 locations in 16 countries. In 2010 alone, 38 new Charley’s restaurants opened and the company is planning to open a total of 46 locations this year.
After IHOP Express and Subway Café, this is the latest evidence pointing to a growing trend among well known franchises experimenting with new formats, menus, and décor. I take this as a positive development because it shows that these companies are constantly looking for new ways to provide additional value to customers and franchise investors. In the ultra-competitive environment of fast food and fast casual dining, operators need to be constantly innovating and experimenting, because complacency is the surest path to becoming irrelevant.