Employment in food services continued to expand in May, according to Department of Labor statistics released in early June. If all goes according to plan, Steak ‘n Shake co-owners’ Matthew Meeks and Michael Stephens will add 100-plus jobs in Oakwood to that growth.
Steak ‘n Shake owners and corporate representatives hosted a grand opening at 3525 Thurmon Tanner Parkway on Thursday with a staff nearing that benchmark. The restaurant is open to serve customers its signature burgers and steaks from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. But, if projections are met within the next 90 days, the restaurant will expand to 24-hour service, Meeks said, and staffing needs will exceed 100.
Oakwood City Manager Stan Brown welcomed the newest restaurant along the commercial corridor, positively correlating new business growth with that of the University of North Georgia’s campus and the interstate 985/Mundy Mill Road exchange project. Along with an increase in new business presence, Brown said, have come a number of existing plaza renovations.
“When you look at the interchange project, I think you will see a lot of growth. Any development that we have here is great.”
Steak ‘n Shake’s Meeks and Stephens, who each maintain other business investments, picked the chain for its value proposition and the Oakwood area for its continued revitalization and ever-increasing visibility.
“The reason that we chose to do a franchise is for the support and brand recognition,” said Matthews. “One of the main reasons that we chose Steak ‘n Shake is that the quality of the food is very good and the prices are affordable and everybody loves Steak ‘n Shake.”
Paula Roberts agreed. An Oakwood resident, Roberts currently drives to the chain’s Mall of Georgia location.
“I drive all the way up there. I love Steak ‘n Shake; they have the best milkshakes ever.”
“We live right around the corner,” said Rena Harrison who brought two nieces over to check out the morning festivities that included members of the Flowery Branch High School marching band and football team and a balloon release. “It (Steak ‘n Shake) brought more (food) decisions,” she said.
Oakwood Mayor Lamar Scroggs believes any investment in the area is great.
“It’s about economic development, food (choices), and it’s about community,” he said. “This road here (Thurmon Tanner Parkway), and all the way to Flowery Branch, it’s a real plus for all of us. Plus it’s good for the tax base.”