The Boston-based inventor of the North Shore roast beef sandwich, Kelly’s Roast Beef, is celebrating a strong end to 2022 and heading into 2023 with plans for continued national expansion as demand increases. Wrapping up the year with successful franchise development across the nation, Kelly’s saw a significant increase in company revenue, a new partnership with online marketplace for food products, Goldbelly, and new franchise development deals which will help the brand start the new year on the right foot. The beloved chain is poised for a successful new year and is looking to open and serve its signature roast beef and seafood menu items to communities around the nation.
Founded in 1951, Kelly’s Roast Beef is famously known as the inventor of the North Shore roast beef sandwich. Kelly’s roasts its beef in-house all day while serving everything fresh and made to order. The iconic chain is coming off an impressive year with three new locations added in 2022, bringing its ever-growing total to six. This year, Kelly’s proudly opened their first location outside of Massachusetts in the bustling town of Salem, New Hampshire. The new restaurant is the first step in further expansion within the North East. In addition, Kelly’s opened their first franchise location in Florida. Located in Bradenton, a lively suburb of Tampa, the brand is on pace to open an additional six locations over the new year within the Sunshine State with the help of franchise development firm RA Ventures. In 2022, the brand signed a new partnership with online marketplace for food products, Goldbelly, with the goal of distributing their beloved menu nationwide.
“It was a busy year for Kelly’s Roast Beef. Opening new locations in New Hampshire and Florida, signing franchise development deals to further expand our presence nationwide, and offering our delicious menu online through our new partnership with Goldbelly, all while dealing with a labor shortage and continued supply chain issues,” says Neil Newcomb, CEO of Kelly’s Roast Beef Franchising. “I am so proud of everyone within the Kelly’s organization. Their continued commitment and devoted brand loyalty is the reason we are in the position to expand and soon be able to offer locations across the nation and beyond.”
The brand is poised for success in 2023 and hopes to bring the legendary Kelly’s Roast Beef sandwich to a town near you. The process begins with a carving machine that thinly slices 25-day-aged, medium-rare roasted sirloin-tip meat. The sirloin is then placed on a buttered, griddled hamburger roll, and topped with any condiments the customer desires plus a slice of cheese. Today, a busy location during its peak season can sell upwards of 20,000 roast beef sandwiches a month. Across its multiple locations, Kelly's estimates a staggering one million sandwiches are sold a year. The figures are impressive but equally impressive is that even in the face of tremendous volume, Kelly's has not gone towards a commissary set-up. Instead, each location roasts its beef in-house all through the day, ensuring that sandwiches can still be carved to order as they have been for decades. That, in and of itself, is the hallmark of a Kelly's sandwich, said Newcomb, "It's never sitting. It's a medium-rare, melt-in-your-mouth, roast beef sandwich.”
“We are thrilled to continue expanding our brand’s unique concept into new markets throughout the country in 2023,” continues Newcomb. “Our restaurants’ food and atmosphere are enjoyed by all different kinds of people and families, in both suburban and urban demographics, and we can’t wait to provide the highest-quality experience to communities around the nation.”
Throughout the years, Kelly’s has gained national attention on the Food Network’s show $40 a Day with Rachael Ray, a PBS Special called “Sandwiches You Will Like”, Robert B. Parker's Wonderland by Ace Atkins, NBC's three-time Emmy award-winning 30 Rock, and on the silver screen in Oscar-winning Good Will Hunting. In 2019, Thrillist named Kelly’s one of “11 New England Chains the Entire Country Needs” and Business Insider said travelers shouldn’t leave Boston without trying the roast beef sandwich at Kelly’s. Including a franchise fee of $40,000, the total initial investment to open a Kelly’s franchise is $1.8-$3 million.