Steak 'n Shake
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|Employees||7,667 (2007) |
|Parent||Biglari Holdings Inc.|
Steak 'n Shake is a diner-style restaurant chain located primarily in the Midwestern and Southern, and Eastern states. It is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. There are approximately 400 company-owned Steak 'n Shakes and another 100 or so that are franchised. Typical restaurant locations have both drive-through and front-window service, resulting in a mixture of fast-food to-go service and diner-style sit-down service. Many Steak 'n Shake restaurants are open 24 hours a day. The corporation's slogan "Famous for Steakburgers" refers to its most prominent food item, the "Steakburger", so called because it is made from a mixture of T-bone, sirloin, and round steaks. Steak 'n Shake's prices had been comparable to diners and other sit-down food establishments, which were generally higher than fast food restaurants, but recently the company has lowered its prices.
Steak 'n Shake restaurants are operated by Steak 'n Shake Operations, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Biglari Holdings Inc. (NYSE: BH), located in San Antonio, Texas. The company currently operates 487 (as of December 2010) restaurants in 22 states, including 75 franchised locations. Biglari Holdings plans to aggressively increase the number of franchises, hoping to add as many as 1500 more franchise locations in the next[when?] few years.
Gus Belt founded Steak 'n Shake in Normal, Illinois, in February 1934, when he converted the combination gas station and chicken restaurant that he owned (Shell's Chicken) into a hamburger stand. The original building at the intersection of Main and West Virginia avenue was damaged by a fire in the early 1960s, but it was repaired and its dining room expanded. In the late 1990s, Steak 'n Shake sold this building to the Monical's Pizza company. Steak 'n Shake's slogan "In Sight It Must Be Right" originally referred to Belt's practice of grinding the beef that he used in his steak burgers in the public area of his restaurant and in the sight of the customers. This practice was intended to reassure customers of the wholesomeness of the product. (At that time, ground beef was still viewed with some skepticism by the general public, based on the likelihood of its having deliberate impurities introduced into it). This practice of grinding the beef in public also helped assure his customers of the veracity of Belt's "steak burger" claim because they could see for themselves that he was grinding steaks into the hamburger meat. Today, the slogan is generally thought[according to whom?] to refer to Steak 'n Shake's open grill line.
Following the success of the original restaurant, Belt purchased a chain of "Goal Post" restaurants throughout Central Illinois, converting them into Steak 'n Shake restaurants. He also added curb service at this point.
Steak 'n Shake continued to expand throughout Illinois following the death of its creator in 1954, with ownership passing through many hands, including: Gus's wife Edith Belt (who ran the chain until 1969), Longchamps, Inc. (an east coast steakhouse company that owned the chain from 1969 to 1971) and the Franklin Corporation, led by Robert Cronin, author of Selling Steakburgers: The Growth of a Corporate Culture. In 1981, Steak 'n Shake was sold by Franklin to E. W. Kelley and Associates, whose chairman, E. W. "Ed" Kelley was considered largely responsible for the growth of the restaurant until his death on July 4, 2003. The brand had been declining during the late 1970s, and in 1984 was in the red. Around that time the headquarters had been transferred from Bloomington, Illinois, to Indianapolis, Indiana. Kelley hired the former head of Circle K to turn the business around. Steak 'n Shake rapidly improved and expanded throughout the 1990s and into 2000. In early November 2004, The Steak 'n Shake Company entered into an agreement to buy out its largest franchisee, Kelley Restaurants, Inc. (which is owned by the late Mr. Kelley's family). KRI's 16 sites will be purchased for about $1 million each; they are mainly in Georgia and North Carolina.
In 2008, there was a shake-up in the company's Board of Directors. Value investors Sardar Biglari and Phillip Cooley were elected to the Board with well over 70% of the votes cast. As a result, Biglari was selected Chairman of the company.
Steak 'n Shake restaurants are currently located in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.
In 2011, Steak 'n Shake expanded again with new locations in San Antonio, Houston, and Austin, Texas, and Covington, Louisiana. In January 2012, they opened their first location in New York City. Indiana native David Letterman is a longtime fan of the chain; on the January 12, 2012 episode of the Late Show with David Letterman, Letterman featured the newly opened Steak 'n Shake Signature beside the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City.
In October 2012, Steak 'n Shake announced its first international expansion agreement with plans to open forty locations in the United Arab Emirates. The first of these locations is expected to open in Dubai in 2013.
Franchisee Lawsuits 
As of April 2013, there had been 4 lawsuits filed against Steak 'n Shake, by franchisees. Among the charges, the complaints allege price fixing, breach of contract, and fraud. Stuller, Inc., an Illinois franchisee, as well as the oldest franchisee in Steak 'n Shake history, won a 7th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in August of 2012 against the franchisor. Since then, franchisees Druco Restaurants Inc. (MO), People Sales & Profit Co. (GA), and Scott's S&S Inc. (PA) have filed similar suits against Steak 'n Shake. The law firm, Cohen & Malad LLP, representing all 4 franchisees, has stated that more lawsuits may be forthcoming.
- "Steak n Shake unveils new restaurant prototype".
- "Steak n Shake unveils new restaurant prototype".
- "History". The Steak 'n Shake Company. Archived from the original on 2008-08-01. Retrieved 2009-01-19.
- "Steak 'n Shake to start serving up in Colorado". 9 News. Retrieved 2011-04-10.
- "Steak 'N Shake Opening Colo. Springs Location". KRDO NewsChannel 13. Retrieved 2011-04-10.
- "NYC's First Steak 'n Shake to Open Next to Ed Sullivan Theater".
- Ebert, Roger (2009-01-21). "Car, Table, Counter, or TakHomaSak®". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved April 5, 2013.
- South Point opens casino expansion, adds a Steak 'n Shake
- Steak ‘n Shake and Burgermeister scouting O.C. and L.A.?
- Steak 'n Shake Announces its First International Expansion Agreement
- "Stuller, Inc. v. Steak N Shake Enter., Inc.". Justia US Law. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
- Olson, Scott (1 May 2013). "More franchisees join revolt over Steak n Shake menu pricing". Indianapolis Business Journal. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
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