America’s Dog & Burger, which has three Chicago-area locations, is actively scouting for franchisees to open new stores in the Indianapolis area and elsewhere in the state.
The company is targeting the northern Indianapolis suburbs, Columbus, Lafayette and northwest Indiana, including Schererville and Valparaiso. It’s also hoping to open at Indianapolis International Airport, which is in the process of revamping its lineup of retail concessionaires.
Co-founder Manolis Alpogianis said the strong economy makes now the time to expand, and Indiana’s business-friendly environment and its food culture make the state an appealing expansion target.
“Indianapolis really has a great local food scene,” he said.
Franchisees should have previous restaurant experience, a net worth of around $600,000 and the financial wherewithal to build a store at a cost of around $400,000.
Alpogianis said his company has been looking for an Indiana franchisee for the past three months, and it could take another six to nine months before they identify a franchisee and sign a franchise agreement.
“I’m not just looking to sell a franchise. I’m really looking for partners that understand the business,” he said.
The restaurant, originally called America’s Dog, was founded by brothers George and Manolis Alpogianis 23 years ago. Its menu features a selection of city-themed hot dogs along with burgers, sandwiches and salads.
“We have a wonderful concept that we want to expand upon,” Manolis Alpogianis said. “The menu really reflects the country’s variety of tastes.”
Hot dog selections include the Chicago (topped with mustard, tomato, relish, onion, peppers, a pickle spear and a dash of celery salt); the Louisville (a deep-fried hot dog on a pretzel roll, topped with cheese sauce, bacon and onion strings); and the Dallas (topped with chili, cheese and onions), among others.
The restaurant was inspired by an extended road trip the brothers took in 1993. They were new college graduates on a tight budget--so they ate a lot of hot dogs on that trip. “We really were looking for cheap eats. Cheap eats doesn’t mean bad eats,” Manolis Alpogianis said.
After they returned home, the two decided to open a restaurant featuring the best regional hot dogs they had eaten during their travels.