Maid-Rite diner considers Washington

Stephanie Gomes

A restaurant franchise that began in 1926 may be coming to town due to the city’s ongoing growth over the past several years.

Maid-Rite Diner — famous for its ground beef sandwiches — is looking to the city of Washington as a possible franchisee candidate, according to Jon Oliphant, development director with the city.

“I was actually the one who contacted them,” Oliphant said. “I would say in the conversations I’ve had with them, they are at least interested in the market.”

In speaking with the community, Oliphant said more restaurant options are desired by residents in town.

And the more people who dine locally, the better it will be for the city, he said.

“We’re dependent on sales tax,” he said, adding that the city is supportive of both local and national businesses starting in town. “We’re certainly in favor of any business that would want to come here.”

As for possible locations, Oliphant said he is not certain where the Maid-Rite corporation would want to locate if they decided to expand to the city.

“A lot of it has to do with demographics,” he said. “I don’t claim to know what they are looking for.”

However, Oliphant said he could see Business 24, Route 8 or North Cummings Lane as possible locations.

“That area holds true for a lot of businesses coming into the city,” Oliphant said.

The standard start-up package for a Maid-Rite is $250,000 for a 1,500 square-foot floor plan, according to a press release. This cost would include the equipment and furniture leasehold improvements, working capital and the franchise fee.

“In our opinion, a Maid-Rite Diner franchise restaurant in Washington would be very successful because of the city’s growing population of approximately 14,000 residents, along with 12,000 students and staff at Illinois Central College, plus the presence of major employers such as Wal-Mart, Miller Welding, Illinois Valley Plastics and Akron Brass Company,” said Bradley Burt, president and CEO of Maid-Rite, in a press release.

Maid-Rite currently has 80 franchise restaurants in operation throughout 10 states.

Oliphant said it could take “a significant amount of time” before any plans move forward.

He said he first called the corporation about two weeks ago just to see if they were interested.

“It was kind of just a feeler type of call to them,” he said.