Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks could be gearing up to disrupt the restaurant industry.
Franchise Times reports that former PepsiCo executive Derek Lewis has signed a franchise agreement with Derrick Hayes, founder of Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks, to build 10 restaurants across central Florida. This follows after Lewis spent 35 years at PepsiCo, most recently as the first president of its Multicultural Business and Equity Development Organization, his LinkedIn profile mentions.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my time at PepsiCo, but I’m now super excited to be partnering with a fantastic food brand whose founder, Derrick Hayes, I have a powerful bond with and who I have the upmost respect for,” Lewis told Franchise Times. “I have no doubt that Big Dave’s is going to become a national brand one day, and I take a lot of pride in being its first franchisee.”
Lewis previously met Hayes and his wife, Pinky Cole Hayes, at a New York entrepreneur summit, but he became further interested in the business after visiting their corporate location and trying out their cheesesteak sandwiches.
Evidently, the rest is history as Lewis becomes the first franchisee of the restaurant.
“I’m a big, huge fan of cheesesteaks, and once I took a bite out of a Big Dave’s cheesesteak and their egg rolls, I knew that I wanted to get involved. It’s that good,” Lewis said, according to the outlet. “Once Derrick got his franchising team and system in place, I said ‘When can we start?’”
Hayes also shared a statement pertaining to the business agreement with Lewis: “Honestly, there are no words to capture how pumped I am about this franchise deal—this partnership is about to set the brand on fire.”
Looking ahead, Lewis anticipates the franchise will reach six markets — Lake, Brevard, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, and Volusia counties. He plans to build restaurants between 1,500 square feet and 2,300 square feet that will welcome dine-in and to-go orders.
At the time of this writing, Lewis had not shared plans on when he would break ground in Florida.