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Tom and Chee Shark Tank Update: What’s Happened Since the Show

You may have seen us on “Shark Tank” in 2013. Read to find out what Tom & Chee has been up to since our appearance on the hit television show.


Following its 2013 appearance on the nationally televised show “Shark Tank,” Tom & Chee found itself one of the top up-and-coming restaurant chains in the nation, recognized for its original concept and salability. Prospective franchisees were lining up all over the country to invest, and as Tom & Chee’s footprint grew, so did the size of its restaurants and its menu. Forbes named the brand as one of the 10 best businesses to emerge from “Shark Tank.” With 35 locations across the nation, the average restaurant size was 3,000 square feet, and the menu boasted over a dozen sandwich variations, a build-your-own option, as well as multiple soups and other daily specials.

What started in a humble tent beside an ice-skating rink in downtown Cincinnati in 2009, based on the simple, hand-crafted combination of a grilled cheese and tomato soup, had expanded almost beyond recognition. The size of the restaurants made operations difficult for franchise owners and staff, and the breadth of the menu overwhelmed the customer with options.


In the fall of 2017, Tom & Chee was officially acquired by GSR Brands, a family-owned franchise business with over 50 years of brand experience growing franchise concepts and helping franchisees thrive in the restaurant business. At this point, Tom & Chee was down to 23 locations, but a bright future was on the horizon.

Under the leadership and guidance of GSR Brands, Tom & Chee simplified its business model, refined the menu, and streamlined restaurant operations. The new leadership team also improved initial training, bolstered ongoing support, and rolled out a new restaurant design that reduced the footprint and lessened ongoing costs in addition to providing a more vibrant dining environment. In the years since, Tom & Chee has gotten back to its feel-good roots by providing elevated comfort food that can be enjoyed by the whole family, and a franchise experience that is attracting a new generation of entrepreneurs around the country.


Tom & Chee is a shining example of the fact that people crave delicious simplicity. Our menu appeals to every taste and preference, whether it’s a savory melt, a warming soup, or our famous Grilled Cheese Donut. Every customer can find something to fill their bellies and put a smile on their face.

As a result of GSR’s involvement, Tom & Chee is back to being a rising star amidst the $23 billion sandwich industry. Tom & Chee is committed to providing customers with an authentic, nostalgic dining experience, while offering franchise owners the opportunity to partner with a brand dedicated to their success.

Now, with the infrastructure to support long-term growth with enthusiastic, like-minded franchisees, Tom & Chee is prepared to expand its delicious concept nationwide. The first half of 2021 has already seen the acquisition and opening of several new locations, with seasoned and new franchise owners alike. For these entrepreneurs, the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t deter them from reaching their ownership or expansion goals with a brand they know they can rely on.

With incredible brand recognition, a unique concept, and a commitment to delivering the ultimate customer service experience, Tom & Chee franchise growth is poised to continue for years to come.

To learn more about franchising with Tom & Chee, visit us.