Steak ‘n Shake executive explains St. Louis area restaurant closures

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ST. LOUIS – Several St. Louis-area Steak 'n Shake restaurants have been temporarily closed for remodeling. However, Fox 2 News checked on the situation and we have an update.

A couple weeks ago, Steak ‘n Shake closed eight stores in the St. Louis metro area. The corporate office said it was due to remodeling. But on Tuesday, Tom Murray, Steak ‘n Shake’s CFO of Franchising, said it's more than just remodeling.

“We are looking for franchise partners to come in and own and operate those locations,” he said.

Why those eight locations?

“They were not extremely well run from cleanliness or customer service perspective,” he said.

Under the company’s new philosophy, these restaurants won’t reopen until they get new franchise partners.

“Well, it may take some time,” Murray said. “It all depends.”

Murray said their goal is to put in franchise partners in all 400 units nationwide. He adds that the company is looking for people with great ability and not necessarily great capital.

“They would pay a $10,000 initial franchise fee, then go through a rigorous training program that could last four to six months,” he said.

Once a store achieves what the company calls "gold standard status," then the investor would become an owner.

However, an employee we spoke with calls it the "franchise partner pipe-dream," saying the company is struggling, firing district managers, is low on employees, and that attaining gold standard is next to impossible. The employee said the restaurant in Arnold and one on Watson Road were the only two to reach the gold standard.

“Our whole goal here is to provide customers with a consistent gold standard dining experience,” Murray said.

If you would like more information about becoming a franchise owner, visit

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