Steak 'n Shake
Normal, Illinois, U.S.
|Headquarters||Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.|
|Products||Steakburgers, milk shakes|
Number of employees
Steak 'n Shake is an American casual restaurant chain located primarily in the Midwestern and Southern United States with locations also in the Mid-Atlantic and Western United States, Europe, and the Middle East. Steak 'n Shake Operations, Inc. is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. There are 544 locations, of which 417 are company-operated and 127 are franchised. Typical restaurant locations have sit-down, drive-thru and front-window service, resulting in a hybrid of fast-food to-go service and diner-style sit-down service. Many Steak 'n Shake restaurants are open 24 hours a day, seven days per week. The menu features primarily hamburgers and hand-dipped milkshakes, though other entrees, side items, and drinks are also available. There is no steak on the menu.
The corporation's slogan "Famous for Steakburgers" refers to its most prominent food item, the "Steakburger", so called because it was originally made from a mixture that included T-bone, sirloin, and round steaks.
Gus Belt (born in Morrisonville, Illinois) founded Steak 'n Shake in Normal, Illinois in February 1934, after serving four years in the United States Marine Corps. 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 Street 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 wheeling a barrel of T-bone, sirloin, and round steaks into the public area of his restaurant, then grinding them into burgers in front of his 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 "Steakburger" claim because they could see for themselves that he was grinding steaks into the hamburger meat. Later, patrons were assured that Steakburgers were still made from these ingredients "at our own commissary" for shipment to the restaurants, where the open grill line remains "in sight" to customers.
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.
After Gus Belt
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 (who ran the chain until 1969); Longchamps, Inc. (an east coast steakhouse company that owned the chain from 1969 to 1971); and the Indianapolis-based Franklin Corporation, led by Robert Cronin, author of Selling Steakburgers: The Growth of a Corporate Culture. After the acquisition, Franklin moved Steak 'n Shake's headquarters from Normal, Illinois to Indianapolis.
In 1981, Steak 'n Shake and its parent company Franklin were acquired by 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, it was in the red. 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. (owned by Kelley's family).
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.
Franchise pricing lawsuits
Between 2010 and 2015, Steak 'n Shake became involved in lawsuits with several of its franchisees concerning mandatory menu prices and mandatory food sourcing. As of August 2013[update], five lawsuits had been filed. The first lawsuit began in 2010 and is by Stuller, Inc., the Illinois franchisee that is the oldest franchisee in Steak 'n Shake's history. Stuller won a preliminary injunction that went to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in August 2012. Three more franchisees filed suit in April 2013 — Druco Restaurants based in St. Louis, People Sales & Profit Co. based in Georgia, and Scott's S&S Inc. in Pennsylvania. A settlement was reached with these franchisees in 2014, but terms of the settlement were not made public.
Steak 'n Shake filed suit against Denver franchisees Larry and Christopher Baerns in July 2013 over the same issues, with a counterclaim soon after. Steak 'n Shakes won their lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the Baerns when judge ruled that the Baerns intentionally overcharged customers. The complaints by the franchisees also question whether Steak 'n Shake promised franchise results that could never actually be achieved under its policies.
Today, Steak 'n Shake restaurants are located in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia.
The first Steak 'n Shake in the state of Indiana was opened as a drive-in restaurant in Indianapolis in November 1954. As typical for this time period, this restaurant had offered curb service (carhop) in additional to table service and takeout. At the time of the opening of this location, Steak 'n Shake had locations in five states.
After briefly operating a few restaurants in south Texas during the 1970s, Steak 'n Shake returned to Texas by opening locations in the Dallas–Fort Worth area beginning in 2001, in the Houston area beginning in 2012, and in the San Antonio area beginning in 2011.
The company first entered Colorado via a franchise in Denver in November 2011 before the parent took over the Colorado locations after a lengthy lawsuit between the franchisee and the parent company.
In January 2012, they opened their first state of New York location in New York City, adjacent to the Ed Sullivan Theater, then home to the Late Show with David Letterman. Indiana native David Letterman, an avid Steak 'n Shake fan, would frequent the location and mention it often on his show.
The first and only location in the state of Montana, and in the upper plain states, was opened in Billings in December 2013. This location was forced to close after two and a half years in July 2016 due to poor sales that was blamed on "harsh reviews on social media".
Steak 'n Shake expanded to California in July 2014 by opening a location in Victorville. A Los Angeles County location was opened in Santa Monica in late October and another in Burbank in December. After a lack of activity for over a year in the highly competitive Californian marketplace, the company announced in April 2016 of the expected opening of their first Orange County location, their fourth in California, in Aliso Viejo in mid-May. After a short delay, a fifth California location was opened behind schedule in Riverside in August 2016.
In 2015, the company had planned to open a restaurant in Northern California in Campbell, California, but local residents have been successful so far in blocking this move. Because of that delay, the first location in Northern California opened instead in Daly City in November 2016 followed by an expected opening in Fresno in early 2017.
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 opened in Dubai in 2013, but closed in a little more than a year. Ultimately, only two out of the original planned 40 locations were opened in the United Arab Emirates with both being closed in January 2015.
The first location in the Persian Gulf country of Kuwait was opened in December 2014.
The second location in France was opened in Marseille in December 2014. A third location in France was opened in Toulon in April 2016 and was quickly followed in June by the openings of a fourth and fifth locations in Caen and Rueil-Malmaison, in October by the openings of a sixth location at the Cité Europe shopping centre in Coquelles, and in November of a seventh location in Fenouillet.
The first location in Italy was opened in Milan in December 2015. A second location was opened in Peschiera del Garda in May 2016. A third location was opened in Castione Andevenno in September 2016.
- "History". The Steak 'n Shake Company. Archived from the original on 2008-08-01. Retrieved 2009-01-19.
- "Biglari Holdings 2014 Annual Report" (PDF). Biglari Holdings. November 21, 2014. Retrieved December 22, 2015.
- "Longchamps to Buy 53% Of Restaurant Concern". Wall Street Journal. 1968-11-27. p. 15. (subscription required (. )) Alternate Link via ProQuest.
- "Longchamps Will Sell Steak 'n Shake Interest". Wall Street Journal. 1971-09-07. p. 7. (subscription required (. )) Alternate Link via ProQuest.
- "Kelley & Partners Acquires Control of Franklin Corp.". Wall Street Journal. 1981-06-30. p. 41. (subscription required (. )) Alternate Link via ProQuest.
- Stuller, Inc. v. Steak N Shake Enterprises, Inc, et al, 695 F.3d 676 (7th Cir. August 24, 2012). Docket No. 11-2656.
- Olson, Scott (May 1, 2013). "More franchisees join revolt over Steak n Shake menu pricing". Indianapolis Business Journal. Retrieved May 8, 2013.
- Andrews, Greg (November 22, 2014). "Settlement reached in Steak n Shake franchisee suit". Indianapolis Business Journal.
- Migoya, David (September 4, 2013). "Judge rules Steak 'n Shakes in metro Denver must close, but they don't". Denver Post.
- Migoya, David (July 31, 2015). "Judge: Steak 'n Shake franchise owners violated agreement, must pay up: Federal case ends with ruling that former owners of Centennial, Sheridan stores overcharged customers". Denver Post.
- Olson, Scott (August 5, 2013). "Steak n Shake dispute with franchisees reaches to Denver". Indianapolis Business Journal. Retrieved August 27, 2013.
- "Opening Set for Thursday". The Indianapolis Star. 1954-11-07. p. 33 – via Newspapers.com. (subscription required (. ))
Opening of this new Steak 'n Shake drive-in restaurant at 2660 Lafayette Road Thursday morning will mark the first appearance in Indiana of the five-state chain of restaurants. Four more are planned in the area.
- Ruth Keenoy (January 2012). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form: Route 66 Steak 'n Shake" (PDF). Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 2017-01-01. (includes 10 photographs from 2011)
- "National Register of Historic Places Listings". Weekly List of Actions Taken on Properties: 7/30/12 through 8/03/12. National Park Service. 2012-08-10.
- "Iconic Restaurant, Downtown Building Both Nominated as Historic Sites". KOLR. May 10, 2012.
- Welborn, Jane (December 4, 1996). "Go Back to '50s at Steak 'n Shake". Greensboro News-Record. p. D1. (subscription required (. ))
Greensboro restaurant-goers can experience the flavor of a burger restaurant from the 1950s when Steak 'n Shake opens Monday at Wendover Avenue near Interstate 40... The Greensboro Steak 'n Shake is the first in North Carolina. The local franchise is owned by Steakers 'n Shakers, a group of investors from Knoxville, Tenn... There are nine restaurants in Atlanta and 20 in central Florida.
- McLinden, Steve (2001-01-18). "Steak n Shake plans area push". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. (subscription required (. ))
- Rutledge, Tanya (2012-08-12). "Steak 'n Shake fired up about expanding brand". Houston Chronicle.
- Danner, Patrick (2013-05-10). "Steak 'n Shake coming to S.A". San Antonio Express-News.
- Romig, Jeff (April 10, 2001). "Indiana-based restaurant chain spreading into South Carolina What's shakin'?". Spartanburg Herald-Journal. p. B3. (subscription required (. ))
The Indiana-based restaurant Steak 'n Shake began its South Carolina expansion when its inaugural location opened at 499 Congaree Road in Greenville in February. Steak 'n Shake's second location will open in Columbia sometime this summer, followed by a Spartanburg location before the end of the year.
- Pemberton, Tricia (2004-07-10). "Steak n Shake coming to state". The Oklahoman.
- "Steak 'n Shake opens first West Virginia location". Huntington Herald-Dispatch. August 14, 2007. (subscription required (. ))
West Virginia has welcomed its first Steak 'n Shake restaurant, right here in Barboursville. The new store opened at 10 a.m. Monday.
- Stutz, Howard (2010-07-12). "South Point opens casino expansion, adds a Steak 'n Shake". Las Vegas Review-Journal.
- "Steak 'n Shake Opens Golden Valley Location". KTVN. 2013-07-31.
- Conway, Annie (2015-10-19). "Shaking up northern Nevada". Northern Nevada Business Weekly.
- "Steak 'n Shake eyes 7 B.R., N.O. locations". Greater Baton Rouge Business Report. 2011-04-26.
- Calder, Chad (2011-08-30). "Steak 'n Shake plans BR, Denham Springs locations". Baton Rouge Advocate.
- Midson, Lori (2011-11-18). "Behold...Denver's first Steak 'n Shake!". Westword.
- Kludt, Amanda (2011-07-13). "NYC's First Steak 'n Shake to Open Next to Ed Sullivan Theater". Eater.
- Ivers, Dan (2012-09-26). "State's first Steak 'n Shake set to open in Paramus Park mall next week". NJ.com.
- Hahnefeld, Laura (September 11, 2013). "Arizona's First Steak 'n Shake Coming to Tempe's Mill Avenue". Phoenix New Times.
- Schaefe, Eric (October 29, 2013). "Steak 'N Shake in Tempe Disappoints; Nothing Like the Midwest Favorite". Phoenix New Times.
- Cioffi, Chris (2013-12-05). "Steak 'n Shake opens on Billings' West End". Billings Gazette.
- Olson, Erik (2016-07-18). "Steak 'n Shake closes on Billings' West End". Billings Gazette.
- Valdez, Hugo C (2014-06-12). "Steak 'N Shake Coming Soon To Victorville". Victor Valley News.
- "Steak 'n Shake's First California Restaurant Opens Today". QSR Magazine. 2014-07-28.
- Kang, Matthew (2014-10-28). "Steak 'n Shake, Pride of the Midwest, Starts Slinging Burgers in LA Today". Eater LA.
- "Steak 'n Shake Debuts in Santa Monica: The Original Steakburger arrives on Third Street Promenade". PR Newswire (Press release). 2014-10-24.
- Garland, Chad (2016-02-24). "Wave of new restaurants in downtown Burbank represent a change in commerce". Burbank Leader.
- Luna, Nancy (2016-04-21). "Iconic steakburger chain Steak 'n Shake to open first O.C. restaurant next month". Orange County Register.
- De Atley, Richard K. (August 15, 2016). "Riverside Steak 'n Shake tentative opening now Aug. 22: The Inland version of the popular Midwestern burger stop will be the 5th in SoCal". Riverside Press-Enterprise.
- Leyva, Jasmine (2015-10-22). "Campbell will be home to the Bay Area's first Steak 'n Shake". San Jose Mercury News.
- Zavoral, Linda (October 14, 2016). "First NorCal Steak 'n Shake will open in Daly City in November". San Jose Mercury News.
- de Guzman, Dianne (September 8, 2016). "Steak 'n Shake arrives in the Bay Area because we need steakburgers". San Francisco Chronicle.
- Love, Tessa (September 2, 2016). "Steak 'n Shake hits Bay Area". San Francisco Business Times.
- Clough, Bethany (October 11, 2016). "Steak 'n Shake coming to Fresno, cult following expected to freak out". Fresno Bee.
- Weathers, Ben (2005-06-22). "Millersville Steak 'n Shake opens". Capital Gazette.
- Callaghan, Adam H. (May 24, 2016). "Steak 'n Shake Seattle Finally Opens Tomorrow: Welcome, new burger overlords". Eater.
- Danner, Patrick (2013-12-09). "Steak 'n Shake sacrifices earnings for growth". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved 2014-02-21. (subscription required (. ))
- Spadavecchia, Olivia (2013-08-18). "Steak 'N Shake's First Restaurant in The Dubai Mall". Ahlan!.
- Swiatek, Jeff (2015-01-07). "No more steakburgers in Dubai: Steak 'n Shake closes in UAE". Indianapolis Star.
- "Steak 'n Shake Announces Major International Expansion Agreement". PR Newswire (Press release). 2013-12-18. Retrieved 2014-02-21.
- "Steak n Shake Kuwait opens with a glitzy fanfare". Chill Nite. 2014-12-18.
- Kenigsberg, Ben (2014-05-14). "As Cannes opens, so does a Steak 'n Shake". RogerEbert.Com.
- Swiatek, Jeff (2014-11-14). "Steak n Shake goes upscale, international". USA Today.
- "The Steak 'N Shake Restaurant officially opens on the 26th June 2014!". My Ibiza. 2014-06-26.
- de Broqua, Aliette (2014-12-12). "Steak 'n Shake s'attaque à McDonald's en Europe" [Steak 'n Shake tackles McDonald's in Europe]. Le Figaro (in French).
- "Burger Gourmet : un nouveau restaurant Steak'n Shake bientôt à Toulon" [Burger Gourmet: a new Steak 'n Shake restaurant soon in Toulon]. Toute la franchise (in French). 2016-04-01.
- "Le réseau Steak'n Shake s'installe à Caen et Rueil-Malmaison en juin" [The Steak'n Shake network moves to Caen and Rueil-Malmaison in June]. AC Franchise (in French). 2016-05-17.
- "Steak'n Shake ouvre ce mercredi à la cité Europe" [Steak 'n Shake opens this Wednesday at the Cité Europe]. Nord Littoral (in French). 2016-10-19.
- "Steak'n Shake ouvre un restaurant à Fenouillet en Haute-Garonne" [Steak 'n Shake opens a restaurant in Fenouillet in Haute-Garonne]. Toute la franchise (in French). 2016-11-19.
- "Steak n' Shake: llega el fast food de calidad a Madrid" [Steak 'n Shake: Fast food of quality arrives in Madrid]. Me gusta mi bario (blog) (in Spanish). 2015-09-02.
- "¡Hemos llegado murcianos! Ya podéis visitarnos en el Centro Comercial Thader" [We have arrived Murcianos! You can now visit us in the Thader Mall]. Twitter (in Spanish). Steak 'n Shake Spain. 2015-10-15.
- "Steak N'Shake debutta al Bicocca Village" [Steak 'n Shake debuts at Bicocca Village]. Retail & Food (in Italian). 2015-12-17.
- "Dagli hamburger alle patatine col formaggio fuso: apre Steak 'n Shake" [From burgers to fries with melted cheese: open Steak 'n Shake]. Brescia Today (in Italian). 2016-05-11.
- Martina, Camilla (2016-09-03). "Settanta nuovi posti di lavoro a Castione Andevenno: Iperal si espande, apre la catena americana Steak'n Shake e potrebbero arrivare anche Zara e H&M" [Seventy new jobs in Castione Andevenno: Iperal expands, opens the American chain Steak 'n Shake and could even reach Zara and H & M]. Il Giorno (newspaper) (in Italian).
- Marcela, Ana (2016-07-07). "Cadeia Steak 'n Shake entra em Portugal e investe 2,5 milhões" [Steak 'n Shake chain enters Portugal and invests 2.5 million]. Dinheiro Vivo (in Portuguese).
- Holmes, David (2016-12-06). "New Chester burger bar to create a real buzz – literally!: American chain opens first UK franchise in Chester on Sunday, December 11". Chester Chronicle.
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