The largest foodservice company in Asia just took a $100 million bite into Smashburger. Jollibee Foods Corporation, which operates nearly 3,800 restaurants worldwide, agreed to acquire an additional 45 percent of Smashburger, the company announced February 13. This brings JFC’s ownership stake to 85 percent.
"Jollibee has been an invaluable strategic partner to date," Tom Ryan, co-founder and CEO of Smashburger, said in a statement. "Our momentum in 2017 around improved guest experience, iconic and record-setting product launches, and innovative marketing provide JFC a tremendously strong brand to enter the North American market. Our entire team couldn't be more excited to grow the Smashburger brand and share the great tastes of Smashburger with the world."
Smashburger said the acquisition positions it for continued growth. Currently, there are more than 360 corporate and franchised units operating in 38 states and nine countries. The fast casual was founded in 2007 behind the vision of Rick Schaden and funding by Consumer Capital Partners.
“This reinforced strategic partnership with JFC will allow Smashburger to continue to focus on growth in both existing and new markets including the opportunity to bring our great tasting burgers, fries and hand-spun shakes to Southeast Asia. We look forward to building upon our successful relationship to further bolster the brand as an international leader in the better burger segment," Bradford Reynolds, CFO of Smashburger, said in a statement.”
Smashburger has keyed its growth recently around menu innovation, as well as renewed advertising, and a focus on technology. The company said it launched and sold nearly 2 million Triple Double Burgers, and set record levels of mix, sales, and traffic in 2017. It also introduced the Smash Pass—a subscription model consumer frequency program.
JFC will undoubtedly help Smashburger scale in Asia. JFC operates the largest food service network in the Philippines, including 2,875 restaurant outlets in the country: Jollibee brand 1,062, Chowking 526, Greenwich 272, Red Ribbon 427, Mang Inasal 495 and Burger King 93. Abroad, it was operating 924 stores: Yonghe King (China) 309, Hong Zhuang Yuan (China) 43, Dunkin' Donuts (China) 15, Jollibee 198 (US 37, Vietnam 98, Brunei 15, Saudi Arabia 12, UAE 9, Qatar 6, Singapore 5, Kuwait 4, Hong Kong 8, Bahrain 1, Canada 2 and Oman 1), Red Ribbon in the US 33, Chowking 45 (US 15, UAE 20, Qatar 3, Oman 3, Kuwait3, and Saudi Arabia 1), Highlands Coffee 244 (Vietnam 212, Philippines 32), Pho 24 29 (Vietnam 12, Indonesia 15, Korea 1, and Australia 1), Hard Rock Cafe 8 (Vietnam 2, Hong Kong 3, Macau 3).