Is Charleys a Franchise? Everything You Need to Know

Are you a fan of cheesesteaks? If yes, then you must have heard of Charleys! It is one of the best spots to grab an authentic Philly cheesesteak. But the question remains: is Charleys a franchise? Well, the answer is a resounding “yes!” Charleys has been growing rapidly as a franchise, with over 600 locations in more than 45 countries. So, wherever you are, you can satisfy your cheesesteak cravings by heading over to a Charleys Penn Station.

Charleys is known for its fresh ingredients, handmade sandwiches, and Philly-style fries. The concept started almost 35 years ago in a small outlet at Ohio State University. Today, Charleys has become a booming franchise in the food industry with over $280 million in annual sales. With their unique branding and focus on quality, Charleys has become a recognized name in the food industry. It is a good option for entrepreneurs looking to venture into the quick-service restaurant business.

Charleys continued expansion as a franchise proves their success lies in their consistency and dedication to quality. Their commitment to providing customers with authentic Philly cheesesteaks, fresh ingredients, and a clean store environment has earned them tremendous brand loyalty. Their franchise model offers extensive training, support, and easy access to resources, making it an ideal option for franchisees. With Charleys, you can be sure of quality food and an excellent franchise experience.

Charleys History

Charleys is a popular franchise chain that specializes in Philly cheesesteaks, loaded gourmet fries, and refreshing lemonades. The brand was founded in 1986 by Charley Shin, who opened his first location in the food court of The Ohio State University. The concept of the restaurant was inspired by Shin’s love for authentic Philly cheesesteaks, which he routinely enjoyed while attending school in the East Coast.

The success of the first location eventually led to the opening of more branches across Ohio and later other states in the US. By 1999, Shin expanded the business outside the country by opening his first international location in Japan. Today, Charleys has more than 600 locations worldwide, with an impressive presence in major malls, airports, and other travel centers.

Key milestones in Charleys History

  • In 1986, Charley Shin opened the first Charleys location in Columbus, Ohio
  • By 1991, the restaurant chain expanded to include more than ten locations across Ohio.
  • In 1999, Charleys opened its first international location in Japan
  • In 2006, Charleys introduced the gourmet loaded fries, which are now a customer favorite.
  • As of 2021, Charleys has over 600 locations across the world, with a focus on expansion in traditional and non-traditional venues like universities, malls, airports, and military bases.

The rapid growth of the Charleys brand can be attributed to the company’s commitment to quality, innovation, and the ability to adapt to market demands. Charleys continues to invest in new products, store designs, and marketing strategies to stay ahead of competition and maintain its position as a leading food franchise chain.

Charleys Signature Menu Items

Charleys is renowned for its delicious Philly cheesesteaks, which are made from thinly sliced sirloin steak, grilled onions, and melted cheese on a freshly baked roll. The restaurant offers various toppings and sauces to customize the sandwich to fit different preferences. However, over the years, Charleys has expanded its menu to include other exciting items like:

  • Loaded gourmet fries – a meal on their own, consisting of crispy fries topped with various ingredients like buffalo chicken, bacon, ranch, and melted cheese.
  • Real fruit lemonades – freshly squeezed lemonade mixed with real fruits like strawberries, peaches, and passion fruit.
  • Chicken Teriyaki Rice Bowls – tender chicken strips grilled to perfection and served over a bed of rice with a sweet and tangy teriyaki sauce.

Charleys Franchise Opportunities

If you are passionate about food and entrepreneurship, Charleys offers an exciting opportunity to own your business and be part of a well-established franchise chain. As a franchise partner, you get to benefit from Charleys’ proven concept, training, marketing, and ongoing support.

Initial Investment Franchise Fees Royalty Fee Term of Agreement
$211,350 – $884,400 $30,000 – $35,000 6% 10 years

Becoming a Charleys franchisee requires a total investment of between $211,350-$884,400, depending on the location and store type. This includes the initial franchise fees, equipment, supplies, and other expenses. In exchange, franchise partners benefit from Charleys’ brand recognition, operations manual, training, and ongoing marketing support to help them succeed as business owners.

Charleys Menu Items

Charleys is a well-known franchise that specializes in cheesesteak sandwiches, but their menu goes beyond that with a variety of delicious options to choose from. Here are some of the most popular menu items:

  • Cheesesteak – The star of the show. Charleys uses 100% USDA choice steak, grilled to perfection and topped with your choice of cheese and toppings.
  • Chicken Philly – If steak isn’t your thing, try the Chicken Philly. Made with tender grilled chicken, sautéed onions, and peppers, it’s a delicious alternative to the classic cheesesteak.
  • Loaded Fries – French fries topped with melted cheese, bacon, and ranch dressing. The perfect indulgent side dish to accompany your cheesesteak.

Signature Subs & Salads

Charleys also offers a variety of subs and salads for those looking for something a little lighter. Here are some of their most popular options:

  • Chicken Bacon Club Sub – Grilled chicken, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and mayo on a sub roll.
  • Italian Deluxe Sub – Ham, salami, pepperoni, provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and Italian dressing on a sub roll.
  • Chicken Caesar Salad – Grilled chicken, romaine lettuce, shaved parmesan, and croutons tossed with Caesar dressing.

Sides & Beverages

No meal is complete without a delicious side and a refreshing beverage to wash it all down. Here are some of the sides and beverages you can enjoy at Charleys:


  • Cheese Fries
  • Onion Rings
  • Mozzarella Sticks


Soft Drinks Coca-Cola® Diet Coke® Fanta® Orange Sprite®
Freshly squeezed lemonade and bottled water are also available.

Charleys menu items have something for everyone. Whether you’re in the mood for a classic cheesesteak, a lighter sub or salad, or a tasty side and beverage to complement your meal, you’re sure to find something you love at Charleys.

Charleys Popular Locations

Charleys Philly Steaks is a franchise that has over 600 locations across the world. These locations can be found in malls, airports, military bases, and street-side storefronts. Here are the top 3 popular locations:

  • The United States – Charleys has over 500 locations in the United States. Some of the top states with the most Charleys Philly Steaks locations include Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Florida.
  • Canada – Charleys also has a significant presence in Canada. There are over 35 Charleys restaurants in Canada, with locations in Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia.
  • International – Charleys has also expanded globally, with 80 locations in 17 countries. Some of the countries with Charleys outlets include Mexico, Germany, Japan, and Egypt.

Charleys in Malls

Charleys Philly Steaks is a popular option for customers in malls across the world. The restaurants are usually located in the food courts and offer mall-goers a quick and tasty option for lunch or dinner. Charleys has a presence in many popular malls, including:

  • The Mall of America – Charleys has a location in the biggest mall in the United States, the Mall of America in Minnesota.
  • The Dubai Mall – The Dubai Mall, the second-largest mall in the world, also has a Charleys Philly Steaks restaurant.
  • Pacific Place – Pacific Place in Hong Kong is home to a Charleys location, offering customers a taste of Philly in the bustling city.

Charleys in Airports

Charleys Philly Steaks is also a popular option for travelers at airports. With over 40 locations in airports across the United States, Charleys is a go-to spot for a quick and satisfying meal before a flight. Here is a sample of some airport locations:

Airport City/State
Los Angeles International Airport Los Angeles, California
McCarran International Airport Las Vegas, Nevada
Miami International Airport Miami, Florida

These airport locations ensure that customers can enjoy a taste of Philly no matter where they are in the world.

Charleys Franchise Fees

If you’re considering opening a Charleys franchise, one of the first things you’ll need to know is the cost. Here’s a detailed breakdown of the Charleys franchise fees:

  • Initial Franchise Fee – The initial franchise fee for a Charleys location is $30,000. This fee is due when you sign your franchise agreement.
  • Ongoing Royalties – In addition to the initial fee, you’ll also need to pay ongoing royalties to Charleys. Currently, the royalty fee is 6% of gross sales.
  • Marketing Fee – Charleys requires franchisees to contribute to a national advertising fund to promote the brand. The current marketing fee is 2% of gross sales.

It’s important to note that these fees are subject to change, so be sure to check with Charleys for the most up-to-date information.

While the initial fees may seem daunting, it’s important to consider the potential return on investment. Charleys has a strong brand image and a proven track record of success, which can help drive sales and build customer loyalty.

Additionally, the company provides comprehensive training and support to help franchisees succeed. This includes assistance with site selection, lease negotiation, and marketing.

Fee Amount
Initial Franchise Fee $30,000
Ongoing Royalties 6% of gross sales
Marketing Fee 2% of gross sales

Ultimately, the decision to open a Charleys franchise will depend on a variety of factors, including your financial situation, your experience in the food service industry, and your personal goals and aspirations. However, if you’re up for the challenge and willing to put in the hard work it takes to build a successful business, a Charleys franchise may be the right opportunity for you.

Charleys Franchise Application Process

If you’re considering investing in a Charleys franchise, you may be wondering what the application process entails. Below, we’ve outlined the steps you’ll need to take to become a Charleys franchisee.

  • Submit an inquiry: The first step in the application process is to submit an inquiry form on the Charleys website. You’ll need to provide your contact information and some basic details about your background and interests.
  • Attend an initial interview: After submitting your inquiry, you’ll be invited to attend an initial interview with a Charleys representative. This may be done over the phone or in-person.
  • Complete a franchise application: If it seems like you may be a good fit for the Charleys franchise system, you’ll be asked to complete a formal application. This will include detailed information about your finances, work history, and business experience.

If your franchise application is approved, you’ll move on to the next steps:

  • Review the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD): The FDD is a legal document that outlines important information about the franchise system, including the initial investment, ongoing fees, and franchisor/franchisee obligations. Take the time to review this document carefully before proceeding.
  • Sign a franchise agreement: If you’re comfortable with the terms of the franchise, you’ll need to sign a franchise agreement. This document will formalize your relationship with Charleys and outline the terms of your franchise ownership.

Once you’ve signed the franchise agreement, you’ll be ready to start the process of opening your Charleys location. This will involve finding a suitable location, securing financing, and completing initial training.


The Charleys franchise application process can be a lengthy one, but it’s important to take the time to fully understand the opportunity you’re considering. By following the steps outlined above, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a successful Charleys franchisee.

Remember to thoroughly research the franchise opportunity and consult with a business advisor or attorney before making any investment decisions.

Charleys Franchise Training Program

Charleys franchise offers comprehensive training programs for new franchisees to ensure a smooth transition into their business. The training is designed to teach franchisees all they need to know about running a Charleys store effectively. Here are some of the key aspects of the Charleys franchise training program:

  • Operations Training: This covers all aspects of running a Charleys store, including food preparation, customer service, and inventory management.
  • Marketing Training: Charleys provides a marketing training program that covers all the strategies that the franchisees will use to promote their stores. This includes advertising, social media, and other marketing channels.
  • Technology Training: Charleys franchisees will receive training on the proprietary point-of-sale system, which is central to the operations of each store. This includes how to use the system to manage inventory, sales, and employee schedules.

In addition to the above training, Charleys provides ongoing support to its franchisees. This includes:

  • Field Support: Franchisees will receive regular visits from the Charleys support team to ensure that their store is running smoothly and to provide advice on how to improve operations.
  • Marketing Support: Charleys provides ongoing marketing support to its franchisees, including access to advertising materials and other marketing resources.
  • Research and Development: Charleys is continually developing new menu items, and franchisees will have access to these innovations through ongoing product testing and research and development efforts.

The training program is an essential part of the Charleys franchise package, and it is one of the reasons why the brand has been so successful. By providing its franchisees with the tools and knowledge they need to succeed, Charleys ensures that its stores are consistently providing high-quality food and service to customers.

Training Topics Training Duration
Operations Training 7 days
Marketing Training 3 days
Technology Training 2 days

Overall, the Charleys franchise training program provides a solid foundation for franchisees to build successful businesses. With ongoing support and access to the latest menu innovations, franchisees can focus on providing excellent food and service to their customers.

Charleys franchise support services

One of the biggest advantages of franchising with Charleys is the wide range of support services that the company provides to its franchisees. Charleys understands that the success of its franchisees is directly related to the success of the overall brand, and that’s why they make sure that their franchisees have all the resources they need to succeed.

Here are some of the support services that Charleys offers to its franchisees:

  • Site selection: Charleys’ real estate team helps franchisees find the perfect location for their restaurant.
  • Design and construction: Charleys’ design and construction team assists franchisees with the design and layout of their restaurant and oversees the construction process.
  • Training: Charleys provides extensive training to franchisees and their staff, including in-store training, online training, and even on-the-job training.

In addition to these essential support services, Charleys also offers ongoing support to its franchisees. This includes:

  • Marketing support: Charleys provides franchisees with marketing materials, social media support, and advertising assistance.
  • Operations support: Charleys’ operations team is available to help franchisees with any operational issues they may encounter.
  • Technology support: Charleys provides its franchisees with point-of-sale (POS) systems, online ordering platforms, and other technology tools to help them streamline their operations.

But perhaps the most valuable support service that Charleys provides to its franchisees is the support and guidance of its experienced franchise team. From initial training to ongoing assistance, Charleys’ franchise team is always there to help franchisees navigate the challenges of operating a successful restaurant.

Charleys franchise support services – summary table

Support Service Description
Site selection Charleys’ real estate team helps franchisees find the perfect location for their restaurant.
Design and construction Charleys’ design and construction team assists franchisees with the design and layout of their restaurant and oversees the construction process.
Training Charleys provides extensive training to franchisees and their staff, including in-store training, online training, and even on-the-job training.
Marketing support Charleys provides franchisees with marketing materials, social media support, and advertising assistance.
Operations support Charleys’ operations team is available to help franchisees with any operational issues they may encounter.
Technology support Charleys provides its franchisees with point-of-sale (POS) systems, online ordering platforms, and other technology tools to help them streamline their operations.

Overall, Charleys’ franchise support services are designed to provide franchisees with everything they need to operate a successful restaurant. From site selection to ongoing training and support, Charleys is committed to helping each of its franchisees achieve their goals and succeed in the competitive world of fast-casual dining.

Is Charleys a Franchise? 7 FAQs to Know

Q: What is Charleys?

A: Charleys is a restaurant chain that specializes in Philly cheesesteaks, gourmet fries, and lemonades. It was founded in 1986 and has over 600 locations around the world.

Q: Is Charleys a franchise?

A: Yes, Charleys is a franchise. In fact, it has been franchising since 1989 and has franchises in the United States, Canada, Latin America, Europe, and Asia.

Q: How much does it cost to open a Charleys franchise?

A: The cost to open a Charleys franchise varies depending on the location, size of the store, and other factors. However, the estimated total investment ranges from $200,000 to $550,000.

Q: What are the requirements to become a Charleys franchisee?

A: To become a Charleys franchisee, you must have some experience in the restaurant industry, be financially stable, and have a passion for food and customer service.

Q: What support will I receive as a Charleys franchisee?

A: Charleys provides its franchisees with comprehensive training, ongoing support, and help with site selection, marketing, and operations.

Q: Can I own multiple Charleys franchises?

A: Yes, you can own multiple Charleys franchises. However, you must meet certain financial and operating requirements.

Q: How long is the franchise agreement?

A: The franchise agreement is typically for 10 years, with the option to renew for another 10 years.

Thanks for Reading!

We hope this article helped answer your questions about Charleys being a franchise. If you’re interested in becoming a Charleys franchisee, visit their website for more information. Thanks for reading and come back soon for more content!