Charleys Philly Steaks announced that it will reach a major milestone when it opens its 100th new location in 2022 on Dec. 21. The Columbus, Ohio-based company, which opened its first restaurant in 1986, has seen tremendous growth over the past 35 years and now has 740 locations around the world.
The 100th location, a free-standing Charleys Philly Steaks and Wings, is located in North Lauderdale, Florida at 7202 W. McNab, and is owned by Julie Vulcain, who operates four other Charleys locations in the state.
"This is an exciting accomplishment for Charleys and for every member of our team," says Charleys Philly Steaks Director of New Store Opens Terry Collinsworth. "Opening 100 stores in an economic climate like this requires amazing people behind you."
Charleys was founded in 1986 by Charley Shin, a student at The Ohio State University, who opened Charleys Steakery on campus after tasting his first Philly cheesesteak. The 450-square-foot restaurant was a hit with students, and the Charleys brand began franchising in 1991, expanding into mall food courts, free-standing locations with drive-thrus, strip centers, military bases, convenience stores, airports and other non-traditional locations.
The concept has always been known for its cheesesteaks, which it sells more of than any other brand. Charleys has also developed a cult following for its gourmet fries and real fruit lemonades. In the past three years, new locations outside of malls, like the North Lauderdale location, have introduced chicken wings, milkshakes and ice cream to their menus.
Opening 100 stores was not without its challenges, as Charleys franchisees faced growing costs in materials and labor, staffing shortages and supply chain delays.
“There are many challenges when opening this volume of restaurants,” said Charleys Philly Steaks Senior Director of Design and Construction Brian Tepen. “Each location has its own story, and no two locations are exactly alike. It takes each team member doing their part in all stages of a project to succeed.”
Charleys remains focused on store growth, with a goal of opening at least 200 stores in 2023.
"This really is just the beginning," says Collinsworth. "Our team, our franchisees and our guests are all excited to see Charleys continue to expand."