Beefing up Featured

8:00pm EDT June 25, 2009
Retail and Consumer Products

What Jim Mellody started as a sandwich shop near Brandon in 1985 is now Beef ‘O’ Brady’s, a restaurant chain with locations around the country.

Several years later, in 1998, Gene Knippers and Chuck Winship approached Mellody with an interest in expanding the brand through franchising and founded Family Sports Concepts Inc. to become the parent company of Beef ‘O’ Brady’s.

It’s fair to say the franchising idea worked. With the addition of president Nick Vojnovic to the team of Knippers, chairman, and Winship, CEO, the chain expanded from 30 to 270 locations in 11 years.

While they expanded the brand through hard work, the growth can also be attributed to the company’s focus on families as the target customer. Because of that focus, franchisees go through a screening process that requires franchisee involvement in local schools, churches and sports teams to keep the franchise family oriented.

Even in a tough economy, Beef’s is continuing to grow. The goal for 2009 is to add 30 locations; as of April, it has already added nine locations this year.

Part of this growth can be attributed to the company pursuing franchise locations in nontraditional spaces with lower conversion and development costs. This includes the student center at the University of South Florida and hotels.

How to reach: Family Sports Concepts Inc./Beef ‘O’ Brady’s, (800) 728-8878 or