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Derrick Hayes' Big Daves Cheesesteak Is Now Accepting Franchise Applications

Derrick Hayes, founder and CEO of Big Dave's Cheesesteaks, recently made a blockbuster announcement regarding the next step in building his empire. The West Philadelphia native is allowing fans and entrepreneurs to franchise his Big Dave's Cheesesteak restaurant and start building or adding to their business portfolio.


Derrick Hayes

"I think entrepreneurs are going to eat it up,” Hayes said in a recent interview with CNBC. “Pun intended...I already know that we have the No. 1 cheesesteak in the country!”


The 36-year-old started his entrepreneurial career in Dunwoody, Georgia, in 2014 by selling water ice at a Shell gas station. After moving on from that venture, Hayes began selling cheesesteaks. Despite reinventing his business, he still struggled until one customer helped change the trajectory of his life. Actress, rapper and TV host Eve helped put his business on the map with the power of social media. Thanks to Eve's support and Hayes' tenacity the game-changing entrepreneur opened his flagship Big Dave's Cheesesteak location in Downtown Atlanta in 2019.


Now, Hayes is expanding his business with new franchise applications and by adding multiple new Big Dave's Cheesesteak locations, including three inside of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium and his first location in Charlotte, North Carolina, planned for the fall.


With a goal of opening 100 Big Dave's Cheesesteaks by the end of 2025, Hayes has a monumental task on his hands. But as he has shown throughout his career, giving back always takes center focus in what he does. Allowing the dream that he has built to be open for others to also build their dreams is on par with the testament of who Hayes is.


Only 8% of franchise owners are Black, according to data from the International Franchise Association. Black franchisees have revenues 220% higher than independent Black-owned businesses on average, the data finds. In one location alone, Hayes does $2.3 million in revenue. In an Instagram post, the philanthropist captioned "You better get you one of these," regarding the launch of the application to franchise.


Hayes has come a long way from his humble beginnings when he opened his first

location. The franchise is named after Hayes' father, who died from cancer in 2009. He credits his father and grandfather for their positive influences and sparking an interest in

cooking. He continues to honor his father's legacy by creating his signature sandwich,

"Dave's Way" cheesesteak, and expanding his brand with Big Daves All Purpose Spice,

which is sold on his website.


As of now, Hayes is seeking franchisees currently in the food business, but eventually hopes to inspire people who have faced legal troubles, do not have a college degree, or lack experience to follow their dreams of owning a business.


"I wasn’t an entrepreneur, I wasn’t a businessman. I’m making it for the people. If they want to get involved with what we’re building, we are going to help them up,” Hayes mentioned in his CNBC interview.


Hayes has built his career and always recognized the importance of giving back. He and his wife Pinky-Cole Hayes, owner of Slutty Vegan, generously gave life insurance to Black men earning under $30,000 a year. The couple also partnered with Clarke Atlanta University to provide $600,000 in scholarships.


In addition to helping those in need during a crisis, Hayes mentors young black men

and helps them recognize their worth as valuable contributors to society.


With a booming restaurant business and supporting the community, Hayes has formed partnerships with Fortune 500 companies and collaborated on multiple brand deals.


Photo Credit: Brian Javon

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