- Rob Bryant remembers when the York City Health Inspector sat him down with a folder of evidence on the business he operated without license. Today, he’s doing it right — and growing.
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Rob Bryant remembers sitting across from the health inspector who had a folder of about 40 printouts from social media — all evidence against him for “operating a restaurant” without a license.
A few months earlier, after he was laid off from a job, Rob started making comfort foods like Philly-style cheesesteaks out of his home kitchen in York. He cooked so much, he started selling to friends and family.
He thought he might be on to something and began posting about his daily offers on social media. Eventually, the health department heard about the venture and sought him out.
“We laugh about it now,” he says today about the start of what became The SteakOut, which specializes in authentic Philly cheesesteaks. “I’ve heard some of the inspector’s own family members wouldn’t give me up. That’s how good of a customer they were back then.”
From then to now
When he heard the health inspector was looking for him, Rob reached out to make things right.
The city didn’t want to get him in trouble as much as they wanted to help him, Rob says. They made connections for him to find a location and get the proper business licenses.
About five years later, his restaurant has three locations: East Prospect Street in Springettsbury Township; West Market Street in West York; and West King Street in Lancaster City.
“It’s all part of a larger plan,” Rob says. “It’s all about creating independence for myself, for creating residual income and painting that bigger picture.”
‘All from the muscle’
Growing up, Rob split his time between York City and north Philadelphia. While he primarily worked as a graphic designer and photographer, he saw a market opportunity to start selling the cheesesteaks made famous in his second home.
Since his start, he’s learned a lot of lessons and experienced the growing pains that come with always pushing himself. Over the years, he learned to adopt HR policies for his growing staff, to cut back his menu size, and to mind his profit margins.
The locations he’s in right now all came to be within the past eight months, and he plans for the West York location to become the first building he owns.
Through it all, he’s building his retirement plan, and he is working to franchise the model he’s creating. He also hopes his other ideas like bottling his sauce and soup bases come to fruition.
“I’ve built this business all from the muscle,” he says, noting he’s never had financing to get to where he is today. “And I’m going to keep building it until I can say I’ve made it.”
The SteakOut offers dine in, take out, and delivery options from its York and Lancaster locations. To see the menu and check hours, click the button below.