Boardwalk Fresh Burgers & Fries, the fresh better-burger concept spawning from the french fry concept made famous by United States’ East Coast boardwalks, will expand across China with a master development agreement signed with ICON.

With more than 325 units under development and a number of major master franchise markets sold out in the U.S., Boardwalk is expanding outside of its North American market, with its first international stores set to open in Saudi Arabia. 

The agreement with ICON marks the brand’s first foray into China, as Boardwalk is keen to bring its concept to the Chinese consumers.

With food safety becoming a central concern of Chinese consumers, Boardwalk’s concept—which features freshly made burgers and hand-cut fries—will likely appeal to the country’s rising middle class.

Boardwalk’s founder and CEO Dave Diferdinando says, “Boardwalk has a unique opportunity in China to be the market leader in the better-burger space. ICON is the perfect development partner for this endeavor, due to their wealth of experience in the Chinese market, as well as their focus on providing authenticity for China consumers, customer experience, and quality operation.” 

ICON’s management team has successfully introduced and developed several international brands in China, and has the demonstrated track record with multiunit North American concepts that Boardwalk was looking for in a franchise partner. 

The development agreement calls for ICON, Boardwalk’s master franchisee, to open at least 100 units within the next 10 years with an initial focus on Beijing, Tianjin, and Hubei, and with the ultimate goal of reaching up to 300 outlets in partnership with sub-franchisees.

“We have worked in China for two decades and have seen the Chinese transform into savvy consumers that are searching for genuine authentic brands,” says ICON partner Marc Hellman. “Our goal is to introduce strong, authentic Western brands that give the Chinese the feeling of being transported to another land. Boardwalk is an original American concept—premium, authentic American burgers and fries—which fits well with market trends here in China, and which will be a strong addition to our portfolio.”

Burgers, Denise Lee Yohn: QSR's Marketing Guru, Growth, News, Boardwalk Fresh Burgers and Fries