Leaning into franchise expansion, the company’s goal is to sign multi-unit operators—a mixture of current and new—in existing markets. BurgerFi reaches as far as Alaska and Puerto Rico, but for the short-term, the idea is to fill the home base of Florida and run through the East Coast, including building presences in Atlanta, the Carolinas, and Washington, D.C. With that said, if a well-equipped franchisee requested several locations in a market further away, BurgerFi would entertain the offer.
A handful of upcoming locations are dedicated to nontraditional locales. A location in the Buffalo Niagara Airport is set to open July 1 in partnership with Delaware North, a global foodservice and hospitality company. Another will debut in Newark Liberty International Airport on the same day. BurgerFi is also teaming up with the Air Force to open units on military bases next year.
In terms of ghost kitchens, BurgerFi has agreements with REEF Kitchens and the Chicago-based Epic Kitchens. More recently, the chain partnered with delivery platform Gopuff to fulfill orders out of a food truck in Tallahassee, Florida, in close proximity to Florida State University. Renna says the pilot went well and that BurgerFi is planning to expand the relationship.
“We believe many different nontraditional platforms will work for BurgerFi given our menu, given the speed at which we can make the product, and given our value proposition,” Renna says.
Anthony’s, which had 61 corporate stores as of March 31, is at the beginning stages of its own growth strategy. The full-service concept is planning to franchise a smaller prototype, a move used by a number of big-time companies in the casual-dining segment, like Chili’s, Outback, and IHOP. Anthony’s is still early in the process, but finalized its FDD; similar to BurgerFi, the plan will be to target multi-unit operators.
“We've gotten some early interest in some of our BurgerFi franchisees, and we've gotten some really interesting non-BurgerFi franchisees out there that are looking to add a premium casual-dining pizza brand in their portfolio,” Renna says. “So we're excited about that. We don't have any news to report on yet other than the FDD and we are out there talking to groups.”