Meet The Colonel Sanders Of Cheesesteak

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Derrick Hayes, laminitis of Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks, reveals his look to beryllium nan adjacent fast-food king.

By Diane Brady, Forbes Staff


To make nan cleanable Philly Cheesesteak, Derrick Hayes says, you person to commencement pinch nan correct water. The h2o successful Philadelphia, he insists, gives nan breadstuff a unique sensation and consistency. Then it’s important to get nan correct trim of nutrient and hole it a definite measurement pinch nan correct seasoning. Hayes’ look is simply a patented blend of 13 herbs and spices. Like Colonel Harland Sanders, who kept his look for nan 11 herbs and spices of Kentucky Fried Chicken successful a vault successful Louisville, Hayes keeps his look successful a vault. The only personification he’s shared it pinch is Aisha “Pinky” Cole, his woman and chap entrepreneur who created nan Slutty Vegan edifice concatenation and brand.

Hayes, 36, was inspired to motorboat nan concatenation aft tasting what passed for a “Philly” erstwhile he moved to Atlanta. He chose nan sanction “Big Dave” to grant his father, who died of lung crab successful 2009. He credits his grandfather pinch school him really to make nan iconic sandwich. The Grammy Award-winning rapper and character Eve, a Philadelphia native, put Big Dave’s connected nan representation erstwhile she stopped by nan state position wherever he’d group up shop to effort a sandwich and past raved astir it to her fans connected societal media. Says Hayes: “The adjacent day, I had lines retired nan door.”

He met Cole successful nan aftermath of George Floyd’s decease successful 2020, erstwhile protestors collapsed nan windows of his flagship location successful downtown Atlanta and she reached retired done Instagram to inquire if he needed help. He declined thief but asked to meet and instantly felt that he’d met his soul-mate. “I tin retrieve sitting location and I was looking astatine her, looking astatine myself because she was a reflection of me,” he says. “My beliefs, my wants, my dreams, my hopes, my needs, everything was hitting correct connected there.”

The Power of Franchising

Now, pinch 7 stores to his sanction and different connected nan measurement successful Charlotte, North Carolina, Hayes is astir to denote a 10-store woody to commencement franchising nan marque successful “a authorities wherever oranges grow.” He is talking to respective imaginable partners astir expanding nationwide, pinch plans to get to 100 units wrong 1 to 2 years. He’s besides partnering pinch Cole connected caller products and philanthropic projects.

“What makes maine consciousness bully erstwhile I get a kid that walks up to maine and says they changed their life because of maine aliases they sewage retired of nan streets because of maine aliases they want to do truthful galore awesome things successful nan world because of me,” says Hayes.

For much insights connected really Hayes built his marque and his roadworthy representation for what’s next, click connected nan video above.

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