Philly's PYT Will Expand to NYC, DC and MoreBy Danya Henninger
February 14, 2014
Give Tommy Up a few congratulatory pats on the back. PYT, the wacky-fun burger bar he opened in Philly's Northern Liberties in 2009, is going national. NYC and DC will be the first other cities to get locations, and there will also soon be a few more restaurants in the corporate headquarters town of Philadelphia.
PYT signed with Fransmart, a franchise consulting firm whose portfolio includes the Elevation Burger, Freshii, Calexico and CaliBurger chains, among others. Fransmart’s Dan Rowe first approached Up over the summer, because he was impressed with the concept.
“I look for people who have really, really strong connections with their customers - that’s the one thing you just can’t fake,” Rowe says.
It took over six months for Rowe to convince Tommy Up and his people to come aboard with Fransmart, mostly because the PYT team was concerned about the integrity of their brand.
“They didn’t seem in a huge hurry to sign with us, but we assured them that they are going to have say over every part of this,” Rowe tells us, explaining that the real estate and financing and food sourcing are the easy part for him. “What my company does not do is come up with original concepts.”
PYT has gained national attention for their outrageous burger creations - there have been buns made of fried lasagna and fried Twinkies and even a burger inside a taco shell made of woven bacon.
What Fransmart likes goes beyond the burgers. Not only are the adult spiked milkshakes great - “We ate a table full of food and couldn’t resist sucking down two shakes a piece,” says Rowe - PYT is a full-service restaurant and a bar. “It’s a place people come to eat burgers and grab a drink, but it’s also a place people come to drink, and then grab some grub."
There are already interested franchisees lined up in New York and DC, although locations have not been set. Boston is probably the next city, and then more expansion through the I-95 corridor. After the Northeast is going strong, Rowe says the company will consider branching out to other areas. People from Portland and Florida have already approached him with interest.