Quaker Steak & Lube is revving up to expand the fun family casual-dining brand nationwide, fueled by award-winning food and unmatched leadership in franchise development.
The 43-year-old Westlake, Ohio-based chain, purchased by TA Restaurant Group in 2016, is poised to supercharge development as a nationally recognized concept through franchising. Growth will be steady, yet strong for the brand, often affectionately called The Lube®, which has more than 50 motorsports-themed restaurants, and a cult-like fan following.
“Our goal is to get to 200 restaurants nationwide within the next five to 10 years,” says Bruce Lane, vice president of franchise services. “We are positioning the franchise for successful, long-term nationwide growth, while still supporting our core franchisees and the guests of our brand that continue to follow us loyally.”
Lane, who joined the executive team in June, is spearheading Quaker Steak & Lube’s strategic path to expansion. The industry veteran has extensive experience in developing operationally sound and profitable restaurants and implementing franchise growth and marketing strategies, most recently with Fuddruckers and 7-Eleven. A former multi-unit operator of five Waffle House locations, Lane also thinks like a business owner, with a keen understanding of the industry.
Investors, Lane says, have a unique opportunity to join forces with a franchise that is backed by the support of a mega operator. TA Restaurant Group has more than 44 national and regional brands in a portfolio that includes over 850 quick service, full service restaurants and food outlets.
“We know what it is to be a franchisee, and, therefore, we know what franchisees want and expect,” says Lane. “We work for the success of our franchisees and make decisions based on how it will benefit each particular franchisee. As they grow, we grow.”
The casual dining franchise, known for its award-winning food, wings, and more than 20 sauces, is seeking experienced multi-unit and multi-brand franchisees, with a passion for great service, strong knowledge of Four Walls and local marketing, and a commitment to the communities they serve.
From raising money for local shelters or scholarship funds to hosting outdoor charitable gatherings and record-breaking benefit events, “There’s Always Something Happening at The Lube” is an operational mindset at each Quaker Steak & Lube restaurant. Giving back is part of the brand’s DNA, says Lane.
“Most franchisors charge a relatively hefty national marketing fee of up to 3 to 5 percent to new franchisees that goes to a national fund, where you typically do whatever the national company tells you to do,” notes Lane. “At Quaker Steak and Lube, we only charge .75 percent and help the franchisee spend the rest of the marketing fees locally –not just on billboards, TV, and radio, but for fundraising and community involvement. We help franchisees connect to their community locally.”
While Quaker Steak & Lube expects to initially expand organically through its 26 existing markets, the brand’s product lineup, customer loyalty, and automotive-Americana focus make the franchise a natural fit to grow from coast to coast. The franchise offers flexible building designs and multiple revenue streams—with to-go orders and pick up windows, restaurant retail, catering, and special events—that give investors a competitive edge from the start. Each Quaker Steak & Lube location is strategically set up to allow for multiple bar and dining areas, offering an array of motorsports-themed memorabilia, sports viewing, and entertainment areas. Lane anticipates aggressive growth in both traditional locations and nontraditional build outs, such as stadiums, colleges, and airports, will lead the brand to new heights.
“I am excited for the growth and the wealth of knowledge and infrastructure that TravelCenters of America brings to our current and future franchisees,” Lane says. “There is a lot of blue sky ahead.”
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