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FDD Talk 2015: The Charleys Philly Steaks Franchise Opportunity (Financial Performance Analysis, Estimated Costs, and Other Important Stuff You Need to Know)

by Franchise Chatter on April 24, 2015

in FDD Talk 2017: Food Franchises, Franchise Earnings, Sandwich Franchise



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Charley's Philly Steaks Gourmet Combo

In this FDD Talk 2015 post, you’ll learn the following:

  • Section I – Background information on the Charleys Philly Steaks franchise opportunity, including relevant news updates
  • Section II – Estimated initial investment for a Charleys Philly Steaks franchise, based on Item 7 of the company’s 2015 FDD
  • Section III – Presentation and analysis of Charleys Philly Steaks’ financial performance representations, based on Item 19 of the company’s 2015 FDD, including information on the:
  • 2014 average gross sales and range of gross sales for the 46 company-owned Restaurants and 359 franchised Restaurants that were open during the entire 2014 calendar year
  • 2014 average gross sales and range of gross sales for the 46 company-owned Restaurants that were open during the entire 2014 calendar year
  • 2014 average gross sales and range of gross sales for the 359 franchised Restaurants that were open during the entire 2014 calendar year

Section I – Background Information

The still-in-the-works name change of Charleys Grilled Subs to Charleys Philly Steaks circles back to the roots of the restaurant.

Founder and CEO Charley Shin had his first taste of a Philly Cheesesteak in the cheesesteak’s birthplace of Philadelphia in 1985. Shin enjoyed the sandwich so much that he vowed to someday sell his own. In 1986, at the age of 22, he opened his first Charleys restaurant on the campus of Ohio State, where the menu starred Philly Steaks, Gourmet Fries and Natural Lemonades. It’s still the core menu.

The tagline “Grilled Subs” wasn’t attention-grabbing enough for consumers, so the chain went back to its roots in 2012, starting its rebranding as Charleys Philly Steaks. The change seems to be working. Last year, the chain posted record numbers and increased same-store sales 10 percent while adding 40 new locations. Another 40 to 50 are expected to open this year.

It wasn’t the first name change for the restaurant, which began franchising in 1991 and now has more than 550 stores in 47 states and more than 20 countries. Some years ago, it was named Charleys Steakery and had a steakhouse theme.

Philly Burrito, Philly Bowl Fusion

A prototype Charleys Philly Steaks in Columbus opened in July 2014, offering a Philly Burrito or Philly Bowl as well as the sandwich. The Philly Burrito puts the Philly Cheesesteak fixings inside a flour tortilla, along with fries.

The Philly Bowl starts with fresh lettuce and adds meats and toppings. Customers can get a number of vegetarian options – zucchini and a zesty Sriracha slaw are two that set Charleys apart – that can also produce a lighter meal for people who are watching their diets.

A sauce bar offers nine different flavors that can be mixed to make many unique tastes.

LTO Offerings Hit the Menu

Charleys Philly Steaks in March 2015 introduced a limited-time Loaded Philly Fry, boasting 10 toppings over the cooked-to-order Charleys fries. The fries are covered with grilled mushrooms, onions and green pepper; topped by cheese sauce, provolone and White American cheeses, shredded cheddar and jalapeno peppers; and drizzled with Charleys Fry Sauce. This latest gourmet fry recipe was on the menu until April 26.

A new twist on the Chicken Teriyaki Combo was offered for a special price of $5.99 from Jan. 12, 2015, through March. The sub sandwich features grilled chicken breast with grilled onions and Swiss cheese, highlighted by a reformulated sweet-and-savory Teriyaki sauce. The combo includes fries and beverage.

Charleys put the Spicy Hawaiian Chicken sandwich back on the menu from August through October 2014, topping grilled chicken, ham and Swiss cheese with a roasted pineapple habanera sauce. The sandwich, which was introduced in 2013, was the winner of the first Charleys Grillmaster competition in 2013. Crew members from stores nationwide submitted recipes and the top three competed for the title.

Another Grillmaster winner, the Cajun Chicken sandwich, was offered from April through June 2014. It featured seasoned chicken, ham, pepper jack cheese and Cajun ranch. The sandwich emerged from the second Grillmaster competition in November 2013.

A Mission to Serve

A Charleys location in Columbus, Ohio, prepares donated food quarterly at Faith Mission, a 24-hour downtown emergency shelter that houses up to 225 men and 42 women.

Charleys Adds New Countries

Charleys Philly Steaks opened its first stores in the Bahamas and in Russia in July 2014. The Bahamas location is in the capital city of Nassau, while the first of what is planned to be 25 locations opened in Moscow, Russia.

Section II – Estimated Costs

  • Please click here for detailed estimates of Charleys Philly Steaks franchise costs, based on Item 7 of the company’s 2015 FDD (updated).

Section III – Financial Performance Representations (Item 19, 2015 FDD) and Analysis



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