An Entrepreneurial Journey


Yo! What do you think of when you hear that word? Rocky? Ben Franklin? The City of Brotherly Love? You think of Philadelphia, or Philly as it's more commonly called. Philly is famous for so many cultural icons of yesterday and today. If you've ever been to there, you'll quickly learn that Philadelphians are passionate about a lot of things, however, at the top of that list, is food. Philly is a food town! Wonderful flavors and offerings surround you at every turn, every neighborhood. Let's cut to the chase- there is one iconic food that stands above them all. If you ask anyone who's ever lived in or visited the epicurean city what it's most famous for, and without hesitation, they will tell you it's the Philly Cheesesteak.

Many have tried to bring that mouth watering delicacy to other parts of the country and most have failed. Only a true Philadelphian knows that in order to make the perfect cheesesteak, you need authentic, high quality ingredients. There is balance of tender, savory beef smothered in melted cheese, all laid out on a fresh-baked Amoroso Roll that is light and airy on the inside and crusty on the outside. No matter what you prefer to add - be it ketchup, fried onions, hot or sweet peppers or any combination thereof - the basics never change. This is how you build an authentic, iconic Philly Cheesesteak.

My name is Matt Tanner and I am the founder and CEO of Philly Boyz Cheesesteaks. I come from a food-centric family! It's in our blood. My late grandfather, Rich Lelii, started some of the best food establishments in the Philadelphia area. Many live on today because of uncompromised quality and dedication to provide delicious food, earning him generations of loyal customers. My uncles, Jim and Joe Lelii, carry on that tradition today, setting new standards for quality catering in the Philly metro area. Mike and Lisa Tanner, my parents, took that passion for food, combined it with a laser focused business sense and built a portfolio of highly successful, diverse franchise operations throughout the country. Robert, my brother, is following in their footsteps developing record setting franchise operations based out of South Florida. Yup, its in our blood.

Just like any family business, be it food or anything else, you learn the ins and outs and tricks of the trade through everyday life from an early age. Some of the best business lessons are learned sharing a meal at the family dinner table.

With that being said, I would like to invite you to join me as I embark on this new journey. “Yo, welcome to Philly Boyz!”

The first and immediate objective is clear (not to be confused with easy); to take the knowledge I have gained from my family, along with running my own franchise operations (Tropical Smoothies and Cafe' and Auntie Anne's Pretzels), and start a new, independent quick service restaurant serving delicious, authentic, quality food in a friendly, sparkling clean, customer focused environment. Growing up in a family familiar with both the food industry and the franchise model, the second objective is naturally to develop the Philly Boyz model and duplicate it nationwide in the form of successful franchising.

My objective in telling the Philly Boyz story is to shed some light on what it really takes to start from square one and develop an ongoing, growth-based business. You'll see the ups, the downs, the good, the bad and the ugly. We'll surely face unforeseen obstacles. I'll share my thought processes on how I work through them with hopefully, an efficient and cost effective decision making process. There will be successes and milestones and I invite you to celebrate these along with me. There is so much involved and, no matter how hard you work, there are still only 24 hours in a day. So why add telling the Philly Boyz story to my plate? Because, I have been fortunate having a family that shares the details and lessons of building their very business. Not everyone has that luxury. By providing a glimpse into my journey, I hope that it encourages someone else to take that first step and fulfill their dreams of entrepreneurship.

Hungry yet?