The Southfield-based Lefty’s Famous Cheesesteaks Hoagies and Grill brand has expanded to five new communities in the Michigan market in 2020, with grand openings in Ann Arbor, Woodhaven, Auburn Hills, Vernor, and Taylor. Next up is a national expansion.
“We have now expanded our locations footprint by 50 percent in the first five months of 2020, which is well ahead of where we thought we would be, and a great indication of where we are going,” says Allie T. Mallad, CEO of Lefty’s. “Lefty’s will claim national chain status within the next six months as we break ground in new states.”
The company has signed leases for six additional Lefty’s franchisee locations to open by mid-summer. Coming soon are Lefty’s locations in Westland, Roseville, Warren, Royal Oak, Dearborn (west downtown), and St. Clair Shores.
Lefty’s Famous Cheesesteaks Hoagies and Grill expects to increase the number of open locations to 35 by the end of 2020, then double to a minimum of 75 locations by end of 2021. The company indicated it has significant franchisee interest in Florida, California, and Texas to achieve these plans, and is actively engaged in site selection in those markets.
As the consumer world moves forward, pick-up convenience, curbside service, and drive-through will be the new norms of eating out, all of which are strengths of the Lefty’s operational model, according to the company.
Menu items include a variety of hoagies — cheese steak, Rib Eye, chicken, and Italian — corned beef, pastrami, turkey, and ham sandwiches, multiple burgers, Coney dogs, salads, fries, and sides.
“Our Lefty’s team has carefully listened to and responded to the changing demands of customers especially during the pandemic and we are posting sales growth of 50 percent or more, even at all of the new locations opened earlier year,” says Mallad.
In Related News: The first Doll n’ Burgers restaurant opened in Tecumseh on May 23 with a charity preview that drew more than 500 people. The owners plan to expand the brand nationally.
Located at 411 E. Chicago Blvd., the store initially will be drive-thru only and have the limited operating hours of 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. The menu includes single- and double-patty burgers, Detroit Coney dogs, Traverse City salad, fries, shakes, and malts.
Doll n’ Burgers officials say the new establishment serves fresh ingredients and its menu offers “high-quality fast-food meant to exceed the customer’s expectations.”
Co-founders Ken Heers, Justin Dalenberg, John Burtka, and Joel Dalenberg have several more Doll n Burgers scheduled to open over the next couple of years with plans to go national.
“(We’re) insane enough to launch a high-end national burger chain in the middle of a pandemic,” says Heers. “Why? Because our food, our service, our people, everything about Doll n’ Burgers is ridiculously good.”
Written by Tim Keenan for dBusiness magazine.