Tom + Chee Restaurant Coming to Lansing

CREATED Nov. 18, 2013

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  • Tom + Chee restaurant is coming to Lansing this December.

Lansing will soon be home to a Tom + Chee restaurant, whose founders returned to national television on “Shark Tank” for an update segment. Tom + Chee won an investment deal with “shark” Barbara Corcoran on an episode that aired in May after pitching expansion plans for its restaurants offering fancy grilled cheese and tomato soup “for the kid at heart.” The update airing Fri. night was filmed at Barbara Corcoran’s house on Fire Island, NY, where she invited Quackenbush, Ward and other successful “Shark Tank” participants for an entrepreneurial retreat.

T+C founders Trew Quackenbush and Corey Ward and their wives began selling their eclectic soups and grilled cheese sandwiches from a food tent on a public square in Cincinnati in 2009. Although they knew “Shark Tank” would raise T+C’s profile, they could not have anticipated the tidal wave of attention they would receive after their initial appearance. In the last six months, they have received 9,000 inquiries from people interested in their own Tom + Chee restaurants. “They’ve come from all 50 states, plus Canada, Ireland, Dubai – all over the world,” says Ward.

And Lansing. Franchisee Mark Wibel will operate a T+C restaurant located in downtown Lansing, expected to open by the end of the year.

Tom + Chee also anticipates opening ten more franchises by the end of the first quarter of 2014. “We’re excited to be spreading Tom + Chee across the country,” says Ward. “By the end of 2014 we’ll be opening a store a week,” Quackenbush continued. “It’s proof that hard work and good food can make your dreams come true.”

Quackenbush and Ward anticipate another flood of inquiries after this “Shark Tank” episode and have refined their application process. After screening written applications, the duo invite prospective franchisees to Cincinnati for Discovery Days, where they taste the food, visit the stores and discuss the franchise process. “We’re really interested in meeting people who are excited about grilled cheese and chasing their own American dream. We feel like we’re building a family,” says Ward.