The Better-Burger Fast Casual Ready for Primetime

    Larkburger stands out for its commitment to being different.

    Marc Piscotty

    Larkburger makes all of its dressings and sauces in house, and doesn’t use preservatives or additives.

    When Colorado-based Larkburger announced that Todd Coerver was joining the brand as CEO in September, leaving his post at 170-plus-unit Taco Cabana, the writing on the wall became legible. The 10-year-old, locally revered better-burger chain was ready for primetime.

    Soon after Coerver's appointment, Larkburger unveiled its plans to expand to the Kansas City area in 2017, a move Coerver says will signal the start of a parallel expansion between the brand's home state and its new market. Up next? He can see Larkburger adding five units in 2018, with that growth ramping up over time.

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    "When you combine our commitment to sustainability with our culinary approach to food, we're a unique little brand," he says. "And the fact that it's only 12 units, we have a lot of untapped potential. The upside for this brand is pretty exciting."

    Larkburger stands out for its commitment to being different, which Coerver says makes the restaurant somewhat difficult to replicate. It also explains the slow-and-steady approach to growth. Larkburger makes all of its sauces and dressings in-house and never uses preservatives or additives. It hand-cuts fries, cooks them in trans fat–free canola oil, and even saves the oil to power cars. Plus, the restaurant itself is wind-powered.