Sharon, Pennsylvania-based casual dining chain Quaker Steak & Lube is eyeing the Milwaukee area as it rolls out plans to expand across the U.S.
The company on Wednesday announced it intends to open as many as five restaurant locations in the Milwaukee area over the "next few years" and is currently seeking franchise owners to invest in single or multi-unit developments.
If those plans solidify, it won't be Quaker Steak & Lube's first break into the Milwaukee market. About 10 years ago, the chain opened several franchise locations in Wisconsin, including New Berlin, Middleton and Janesville, but those locations have shuttered within the past couple of years.
Closures came shortly after Quaker Steak filed for bankruptcy protection in 2015, but was later acquired by its current owner, Westlake, Ohio-based TravelCenters of America LLC.
"(Quaker Steak & Lube) did struggle, but the big point is they are coming back in full force," a company representative said.
The operator of national truck service centers, convenience stores and restaurant chains is now in the process of not only growing the Quaker Steak brand, but also revamping the concept. That includes opening smaller-scale locations, rolling out new menu items and shifting away from its restaurants' classic memorabilia-themed decor toward a more modern look, the representative said.
"With Quaker Steak & Lube’s proven franchise business model along with Milwaukee’s strong economic growth, we believe there is tremendous potential here," said Bruce Lane, vice president and franchise services at TravelCenters of America. "We are committed to finding business-minded franchise partners who are passionate about the Quaker Steak & Lube brand and eager to become an integral part of our franchise system."
The company is also targeting Indianapolis, Pennsylvania and New Jersey during its expansion.
Quaker Steak & Lube currently operates 43 locations in 14 states across the U.S.