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The Ultimate Partnership: The Couple Behind Miller’s Roast Beef®

A business partnership requires an immense amount of trust. Partners must trust that the other is responsible and reliable, and they both must have faith that they are equally invested in the partnership’s success. Perhaps that’s why when many entrepreneurs head down the path of business ownership, they want the one person they trust most by their side — their spouse. It’s this kind of success story — a love story, really — that gave Miller’s Famous Sandwiches™ its rock-solid foundation.

Henry and Ruby Miller opened the first Miller’s Famous Sandwiches™ in 1972, in East Providence, Rhode Island. They worked long days and nights to make their dream of owning a restaurant a reality. It was a success! Nearly 50 years later, their grandson and his wife are continuing that dream, and helping others do so as well. Roger and Gwendolyn Graham, the current owners of Miller’s Roast Beef, are committed to helping other married couples find success through franchise opportunities.

Successful “Couple-preneurs” Work Well Together

Married couples who own a business, “couple-preneurs,” already know how to live together. One cooks while the other does the dishes. One walks the dog while the other takes out the trash. It’s this divide-and-conquer mentality that helps married couples work together just as well in the workplace as they do at home. “We work very well together,” says Gwendolyn, about her husband/business partner, Roger.

“We have clear boundaries as far as who is responsible for what, but we also help each other. We both have our duties, but we’re not afraid to ask each other for help or take over certain responsibilities.”

Particularly when it comes to owning and operating a restaurant, each partner can utilize his or her strengths to boost the business. One spouse may prefer to sit in the back office crunching numbers, while the other can be front and center building relationships with employees and customers.

Leave the Business Talk Outside

According to SCORE, a nonprofit organization that provides mentorship services to business owners, 1.2 million family-owned small businesses in the U.S. are run by a married couple. Those business-minded couples must know a thing or two about keeping the peace at home and at work.

Many “couple-preneurs” will tell you they try to avoid talking about work at the dinner table. That’s not always easy when there are new developments at work. The Grahams kicked their business up a notch when they opened a second Miller’s Famous Sandwiches™ location in 2010 and started talking about franchising, but that only boosted their working relationship.

“It’s been a very busy couple of years developing a franchise brand, but we really do make an effort to avoid talking about the business once we come home,” says Gwendolyn. “The children come first, as does our relationship and our family.”

Fit for a Franchise

For any couple worried about moving their marriage to the next level (as in becoming married with a business), let the records show Gwendolyn and Roger have made it work. So did two generations of Miller’s Famous Sandwiches™ owners before them.

“There is a successful system in place with Miller’s Famous Sandwiches™,” says Gwendolyn. “It provides enthusiastic entrepreneurs the ability to bring this great restaurant experience into their communities.”

Owning a Miller’s Famous Sandwiches™ restaurant is an ideal opportunity for married couples interested in operating a business together. After all, the recipe for success is already in place. With its high-quality roast beef sandwiches that are made to order, Miller’s offers diners a healthy alternative to other restaurants. Not to mention, this is an untapped market in the fast-casual dining industry. New franchisees will also work closely with the Grahams, who can pass along their hard-earned wisdom about working with your spouse.

“Franchisees who come on board early have direct access to us as the franchisor,” emphasizes Gwendolyn. “They would have a direct connection with people who aren’t just sitting in an office as a franchisor. We know the struggles and the challenges, and we can relate to them.”

If you’re interested in learning more about franchising opportunities with Miller’s Famous Sandwiches™, visit

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