It was organized chaos at Steak n’ Shake on Thursday.
With just a few days before its grand opening, the restaurant was packed with employees perfecting their serving, grilling and milkshake-making techniques. Outside landscapers were laying sod and a construction crew was finishing up the final details of the building.
“It’s busy, I think everyone is excited and nervous about the opening, but we’ll be ready,” said Owner Jorge Guevara.
“I guess we’ll have to be,” he added with a laugh.
Guevara and his company, Guesa USA, announced that Steak n’ Shake was coming to Sedalia nearly a year ago. Originally, the goal was to have the restaurant open within a few months, but winter weather delayed the project.
“We had an early winter, then wet weather. When we looked at the numbers, pushing to have it finished sooner would have almost doubled the cost,” he said. “We needed to wait but I think it’s been worth it.”
The restaurant features the classic Steak n’ Shake menu — steakburgers, fries, chili and milkshakes — but will also add in new items, including a Pepperoni Pizza Steakburger, the Jalepeno Crunch Steakburger and a variety of hot dog and salad options. Guevara said his goal is to start offering breakfast items in the next few months and possibly switch to the 24-hour a day format, similar other Steak n’ Shake franchises.
“We’re going to start with 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. for now,” he said. “There’s a lot to work out, it may take us a little while before we’re at 100 percent, but I know everyone is ready for that challenge. My philosophy is that I want to exceed my guests’ expectations, to make them feel special and that it’s all about the guest. I know (the employees) feel that way too.”
Guevara hired 130 people including management to work at the restaurant, and pointed out the average wage was more than $8 an hour. Those who meet certain requirements are also eligible to receive free Kansas City Chiefs and Royals tickets, or tuition reimbursement at State Fair Community College.
“We try to treat our employees the way we want to be treated,” he said. “I think that speaks for itself.”
Steak n’ Shake is just the first of a three-phase business plan Guesa USA has for the area. Within the next year the company will bring an office building just north of where the restaurant is located for its administrative offices. Guevara said the goal is to eventually take over administrative duties for other area businesses as well. The third phase will see a 30,000-square-foot strip center built along U.S. 50 Highway near Menards.
“We’re going to focus on clothing, hobby, sports and apparel in the retail center,” Guevara said. “Our goal is to break ground on that in May 2015.
“Right now though, we’re focusing on getting Steak n’ Shake up and going. I think our customers are really going to enjoy our premium steakburgers and what we have to offer here.”
A grand opening ribbon cutting for Steak n’ Shake will be held at 9:30 a.m. Monday at the restaurant, 4203 Wisconsin Ave. Regular business hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. For more information or to see the menu, visit to steaknshake.com