Charleys Philly Steaks will open up to 200 stores in 2022
Charleys Philly Steaks added 63 new locations in 2021 and plans to add up to 200 more in 2022. Significant growth investments were made in 2021 to put the brand on a path to 1,000 locations by the end of 2023.
“2021 was a pivotal year for Charleys Philly Steaks and really laid the foundation for the future of the brand,” says Brian Hipsher, Chief Marketing Officer of Charleys Philly Steaks. “Each department of the business has made significant improvements and investments to prepare for the rapid growth already underway. But it’s not just about increasing the number of stores, it’s also about revitalizing the brand itself. We’ve taken a customer-centric approach to improving everything from the new menu items we introduce, to supporting technologies such as loyalty programs, to the way we demonstrate over-the-top attention to our customers. customers with every interaction. It’s exciting to see how much has been accomplished in such a short time!”
In 2021, Charleys sought menu inspiration from its guests and the epicenter of cheesesteaks – Philadelphia. Listening to fans and tasting over 2o cheesesteaks at 11 of Philadelphia’s best local cheesesteak restaurants led to the launch of Old School Cheesesteak and Fries—Charleys’ take on the classic cheesesteak. These elements quickly became the brand’s best-selling limited-time menu offering. “The Old School Cheesesteak LTO has paved the way for an ongoing LTO strategy that requires new food products that absolutely wow our customers. This is just the beginning of other innovations and menu enhancements underway to deliver on our promise of having the #1 cheesesteak in the world,” says Hipsher.
The brand recently launched a category of ice cream and shakes available at its rapidly growing non-mall locations. Guests can enjoy oversized ice cream cones, shakes and sundaes with Oreo cookies, chocolate and real fruit toppings.
Charleys has also revamped its dining program, introducing single-serve meal boxes, as well as party favorites like Philly Trays and Wing Packs. the catering offers have been simplified and made available for same-day online ordering on the new Charleys.com and via ezCater.
“Digital sales growth has been and remains one of our top priorities,” says Hipsher. “Making it easier for customers to order online, regardless of the platform they choose, is essential. We also discovered that brand awareness becomes much more important in the digital space. We have spent tremendous energy refining our social media and digital marketing tactics with impressive improvements in geo-targeted reach and engagement near our locations. According to Technomic, our brand awareness increased by more than 30% in 2021.”
As part of the revitalization of the brand, Charleys is launching a new website which improved integration with its loyalty program and online ordering platform, adopting a “mobile-first” design approach. The new website also includes a fun SWAG shop and the ability to order digital gift cards.
The brand saw its total digital sales increase from 20% of sales to nearly 40% of sales for non-mall stores. Adding new tthird-party delivery partners, an improved website experience, and an increase in the year-over-year loyalty fanbase to more than 750,000 members helped drive digital sales growth.
To further improve the customer experience, Charleys is testing kiosks in stores and plans to add a call center to make it easier for customers to quench their cheesesteak cravings.
At the very center of Charleys revitalization and growth is its desire to enrich the lives of its guests, teammates and communities. “We are all here to provide a great experience and contribute to the success of our franchisees. At Charleys, we call it “overwhelming care.” It’s the kind of care that springs from within and simply can’t be contained. We want our guests and teammates to feel special and loved, and it takes special people to make that happen. We are enhancing our training programs and reward systems to continue a transformational process where this type of care and experience is highly visible. It will be exciting to see this unfold! said Hipsher.
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