Rank no. 91 – Charleys Philly Steaks – US

Rank no. 91 – Charleys Philly Steaks – US

Rank no. 91 – Charleys Philly Steaks – US

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Products & Services: Philly cheesesteaks, grilled subs, fries, salads

Number of Locations: 499

Total Investment: $101.56K – 465.27K

Founded: 1986

Began Franchising: 1991

About Charleys Philly Steaks

Visits to his relatives near Philadelphia inspired Charley Shin’s entrepreneurial spirit, and he saw his future in cheesesteak sandwiches. In 1986, Shin opened his first Charley’s Grilled Subs at Ohio State University. The then-22-year-old’s restaurant became an instant hit with professors and students.

Since then Shin has expanded to locations nationwide. In 1999, he was named Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young.

Franchise Units

2013 379 4 73 43
2012 361 4 55 43
2011 353 4 47 30
2010 328 4 47 30
2009 339 3 37 33
Where Seeking Franchisees: Franchisor is seeking new units internationally.

Startup Costs, Ongoing Fees and Financing

Total Investment: $101,572 – $465,282
Franchise Fee: $24,500
Ongoing Royalty Fee: 6%
Term of Franchise Agreement: 10 years, renewable

Net Worth: $300,000
Liquid Cash Available: $100,000


Number of employees needed to run franchised unit: 20. Absentee ownership of franchise is NOT allowed. (100% of current franchisees are owner/operators).

Franchise Fee
Startup Costs
Accounts Receivable

How This Franchise Supports Franchisees

Training: Available at headquarters: 3 weeks. At franchisee’s location: 7 days.
Ongoing Support: Newsletter, Meetings, Toll-free phone line, Grand opening, Internet, Security/safety procedures, Field operations/evaluations, Purchasing cooperatives, Lease Negotiation
Marketing Support: Ad slicks,
Other marketing support: Franchise community website & bulletin board

Franchise Ranking History

Franchise 500®: #91 (2013), #93 (2012), #112 (2011), #116 (2010), #132 (2009),
Fastest-Growing: #79 (2012), #59 (2010), #99 (2009),
America’s Top Global: #83 (2013), #79 (2012), #95 (2011), #94 (2010), #103 (2009),
Charley’s Grilled
Type Private
Industry Restaurants
Founded 1986
Headquarters Columbus, OhioUnited States
Key people Charley Shin
Website charleys.com

Charley’s Grilled Subs is a restaurant chain of submarine sandwich stores headquartered in Columbus, Ohio.[1] Formerly known asCharley’s Steakery, the franchise was established in 1986 on the campus of Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, and is still headquartered there. There are 400 locations in 46 states and Puerto Rico in the United States and in 15 other countries, includingCanadaDominican RepublicGermanyGuamItalyIraqJapanKoreaKuwaitPanamaQatarSaudi ArabiaUnited Kingdom,United Arab Emirates, and VenezuelaPoland. The Charley’s brand markets itself as being “built on the essence of Brotherly Love, while honoring God and strengthening neighbors”.[2] The brand is focused on providing hot food, prepared in front of the customer.

The restaurant features sandwiches such as the Philly Cheesesteak, Chicken Teriyaki, Buffalo Chicken, and recently offered the Chicken Chipotle, Spicy Asian BBQ, South Philly and the Southwest Chicken sandwiches during limited time offers. Charley’s also serves salads, fries, and lemonade.

Charley’s Grilled Subs locations have traditionally been found in malls, airports and military installations across the United States. Now, the chain is refocusing on strip center and free-standing locations.


While studying real estate at The Ohio State University, Charley Shin worked in his mother’s Japanese/Korean restaurant in Columbus, Ohio. A wrong turn on a family trip to New York City resulted in Charley’s discovery of the Philly steak sub. Charley convinced his mother to take a break, sell the restaurant, and invest in “Charley’s,” a 450-square-foot (42 m2) restaurant across the street from The Ohio State University campus. Charley’s first decision in the restaurant was to turn the grill around to face the customers, so they could always see their food being cooked, a move that would later become the trademark of the Charley’s Grilled Subs chain.[3]


Charley’s features grilled subs, gourmet fries and natural lemonade. Fries can be topped with cheddar cheese sauce, ranch dressing and/or bacon. The original lemonade is accompanied by a rotating seasonal selection, including kiwi, strawberry, raspberry and others.

Charley’s product attributes include: USDA choice steak, no oil on the grill, fries are fried in cholesterol-free oil, all dairy cheese, 100% white meat chicken breast, natural lemonade, grilled in front of the customer, and no microwaves, heating lamps or pre-packaged cold cuts.