Burger 21, a new better-burger franchise founded by the owners of The Melting Pot Restaurants Inc., announced the grand opening of its first restaurant in the Fort Myers, Florida, market, located in the Gulf Coast Town Center at 9902 Gulf Coast Main Street, D150. Furthering its expansion in Southwest Florida, the brand also signed its second franchise agreement for the Sarasota market.

“We’re extremely happy to continue our expansion in Florida and build a presence for the brand in new parts of the state,” says Mark Johnston, Burger 21 president and chief concept officer and president of Front Burner Brands, management company for Burger 21. “We plan to continue developing in additional Florida markets and look forward to working closely with our new franchisees to help them realize the benefits of growing with Burger 21.”

Locally owned and operated by Sulei Hessami, Burger 21 in Fort Myers features 21 chef-inspired burger creations, signature shakes, gourmet hot dogs, and specialty salads served in a contemporary-style diner atmosphere with fast, high-touch service.

“My team and I are excited to bring Burger 21’s ‘beyond the better burger’ experience to Fort Myers,” Hessami says. “With consumer demand for fast-casual experiences on the rise, we are confident that Burger 21 and its extensive menu will fit perfectly in the Gulf Coast Town Center and neighboring communities.”

In addition, Melting Pot franchisees and long-time friends, Barry Berkowitz and Brian Marshall, signed an agreement to develop a second Burger 21 location in Sarasota, Florida. Berkowitz and Marshall’s first unit inked in early 2013 for the Sarasota market is expected to open in 2014.

The company credits brand differentiation and menu diversity largely for its success. In addition to 10 beef burgers, Burger 21 offers 10 non-beef burgers, including the Black Bean Burger, the Ahi Tuna burger, and the Chicken Marsala burger, as well as one rotating burger of the month. Approximately, 40 percent of burgers ordered at Burger 21 are non-beef burger alternatives and 60 percent of burgers sold are beef. Burger 21 also focuses on providing premium ingredients like toasted brioche buns, pickled cucumbers, applewood-smoked bacon, and sweet potato fries with toasted marshmallow sauce.


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