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Exclusive: Big Dave's Cheesesteaks to raise Series A this summer

May 21, 2024
Illustration of a piece of steak on a flat top grill in the shape of an upward trend line

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Big Dave's Cheesesteaks plans to raise a Series A between $10 million and $20 million this summer, CEO Derrick Hayes tells Axios exclusively.

Why it matters: The Atlanta-based restaurant chain plans to add corporate-owned and franchise locations, as well as expand into consumer packaged goods.

Zoom in: Big Dave's prefers a private equity investor with experience in the restaurant and CPG sectors, Hayes says.

  • To date the chain has only raised a bridge round consisting of convertible notes, he says.

Catch up quick: In 2018, Big Dave's built its first brick-and-mortar location by Georgia State University, Hayes says.

  • It went on to open another three locations in the Atlanta area and signed a four-year agreement to open three restaurants in Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The latest: The company recently opened a fourth restaurant in Charlotte, N.C.

What's next: Big Dave's franchised out 15 locations in one month in places like Central Florida and South Carolina.

  • It plans to open another two corporate-owned stores and probably six franchise locations this year.

Flashback: Big Dave's was named by Hayes after his father, who died from lung cancer.

  • Hayes started Big Dave's in 2014 out of a Shell gas station in Dunwoody, Georgia, initially selling water ice, investing money he was paid as the result of a personal injury.
  • After struggling to make a go of it (and being a Philadelphia native), Hayes switched to selling cheesesteaks.
  • Hayes has also created a foundation named after him and his father which is giving away money to support cancer research, small businesses and students.

1 fun thing: In 2015, fellow Philadelphia native and rapper Eve ordered a chicken cheesesteak from Big Dave's.

  • Pleased with the sandwich, she subsequently posted it on social media. The next day there was a line of 200 to 300 people and it has not slowed since, Hayes says.
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