Could Beef-A-Roo Become The Next Hot Restaurant Chain?

If you live near Rockford, Illinois, then you've no doubt heard of Beef-A-Roo. According to its website, Beef-A-Roo is a chain of fast-casual restaurants all located near the same town that gave us the rock band Cheap Trick (via Go Rockford). Each of those restaurants has a unique theme, as Rockford's classic rock station, 96.7 The Eagle, points out. These include Engine Co. #1 in Loves Park, which gives fire station feels, and Rock N' Roll in Rockford with its retro diner appeal.

Beef-A-Roo started in 1967, according to its website, and offers classic fare like sandwiches, burgers, salads, and "famous cheese fries." A standout among regional fast food chains, Beef-A-Roo serves food like the bacony bbq- and chipotle-flavored Wild West Beef sandwich, the Mahi Mahi sandwich, and seasonal "Monster" shakes, including a peanut butter-and-chocolate combo topped with sandwich cookies, M&M's, and a cupcake. If you don't live anywhere near the Prairie State, though, you may have never even heard of Beef-A-Roo. However, that just might change in the not-so-distant future, if NEXT Brands and Development has anything to say about it.

NEXT Brands has its eyes on opening 50 Beef-A-Roo locations

Once a small, family-owned company, Beef-A-Roo may soon be growing by leaps and bounds. According to QSR Magazine, it all started when Dave Debruler and Jean Vitale started Beef-A-Roo over 50 years ago. Later they sold the company to their children, and the children eventually turned the company over to a private equity firm. NEXT Brands and Development took over the franchising rights just last year. NEXT has let it be known that it has big plans for the franchise, including wanting to up its tally to 50 stores over the course of "three to five years." NEXT also has some pretty inventive ideas for how they are going to expand.

One way NEXT plans on expediting the opening of so many new Beef-A-Roo locations is by using a new container restaurant concept. Restaurant News reports the container model restaurant is a store that can be shipped and ready to operate with drive-thru and dine-in functionality upon arrival, saving start-up time. According to the publication, for those looking to get in on the franchise "known for its freshly cooked, slowly roasted beef sandwiches" the startup investment for a standard Beef-A-Roo would run between $625,700 and $1,361,000. But how do you really put a price on the NEXT big thing?