Steak ‘n Shake franchisee discusses intense measures to become ‘franchise partner’

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – In the last two days, at least three more Steak ‘n Shake restaurants have "temporarily closed." Eleven St. Louis area locations now sit idle, but the company says this is part of a better plan.

The Steak ‘n Shakes in St. Ann, Ballwin, and Sullivan were the latest to "temporarily close.” These stores and eight others which have stopped serving steakburgers since January won't re-open until corporate finds each a franchise partner.

“St. Louis and Steak n' Shake go hand-in-hand and I love Steak ‘n Shake. I was here even before this opportunity,” said Linda Metz, franchise partner.

Metz applied, was interviewed, and eventually selected to be what the company calls a franchise partner. She invested $10,000 and is going through an eight-week training program, they will train an additional four to six months in her own store. Metz’s goal is to achieve "gold standard status," meaning she can take over a store.

“It’s very attainable. Arnold is a gold standard right now and in (the) St. Louis market there are four others that are close to achieving gold standard,” she said.

Metz will reopen the Overland Steak ‘n Shake. She said achieving cleanliness and customer service goals are what brings the gold standard. While former employees have told Fox 2/KPLR 11 the company hasn’t been honest with people about the program, Metz said she is living proof it's real.

“I’m confident I'll reach the goals here. I'm not sure what period—90 days, three months, six months—I’m determined to get gold standard,” she said.

While Metz said she’s thrilled with her future, other employees not so much. They said when these stores are closing, workers are not told of the plan until that day, leaving them no choice but transfer to another store and or find other work fast.

Fox 2/KPLR 11 reached out to Tom Murray, Steak ‘n Shake CFO of franchising, for comment about when other stores might be closing but we have not heard back.

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