BURNABY, B.C. — MR MIKES SteakhouseCasual (MMSC) has been keeping Sarah McPhee, real estate manager for RAMMP Hospitality Brands, very busy. Her main role is to identify potential markets and real estate opportunities for the MMSC brand — including partnerships with hotels.
The 55-year-old restaurant chain now has 25 locations in Western Canada, with 10 more in the pipeline. After 50-plus years, it is undergoing something of a revitalization, creating a new steakhouse category.
“SteakhouseCasual is about feeling like you belong, where everyone feels comfortable in his or her own way,” the company’s website says. “It’s humble and modest and it’s your place — a place where you don’t have to be something you’re not, you can just be yourself. It means tasty and affordable creations from our signature steak and Mikeburgers to our home-branded wines and beers.”
McPhee has been with RAMMP for four years. Her job is to determine the markets they want to be in, do the due diligence and market research, looking at competition demographics. “Sometimes [potential franchisees] identify hot markets, and it’s up to us to find the real estate for them,” she told CLN.
The ideal location for a MR MIKES is a suburban or small town market, and they usually consist of free-standing buildings in main retail or commercial nodes, on the one or two main streets of the town.
“We need a strong daytime population, as we need a strong lunch trade,” McPhee said.
They are also interested in hotels that are located in those areas, rather than in residential communities. They are looking for markets of all sizes that are not adequately served, and they provide an affordable alternative to a steakhouse.
“No other brand owns this category,” she said.
MR MIKES is a midscale casual concept that caters to multiple demographics with varied menus. “There are two experiences under one roof,” McPhee said. “Families feel comfortable there. And then we have the Urban Lodge, serving drinks, where the local business person can have drinks and appetizers.”
This flexibility makes it a good onsite food and beverage option for hotels, McPhee added.
“The restaurant can also provide room service or catering for events. Our research shows that a freestanding restaurant onsite increases hotel occupancy,” she said. For example, there is a MR MIKES onsite at the Holiday Inn Lethbridge in Alberta.
“Guests who are directly onsite are looking for a place to eat, in addition to locals who drive business. If guests experience us in one market, they look for us in other markets.”
McPhee added that the hotel and restaurant would definitely be two separate organizations, but that they look at each potential opportunity on a case-by-case basis.
McPhee said the company’s goal is to double the number of MR MIKES to 50 or 60, to expand into Ontario, and to continue to develop Western Canadian opportunities.