Burger 21, an award-winning, “beyond the better burger” fast-casual franchise, announced its 2015 franchise growth results, with six new franchise agreements signed representing six future restaurants, including the brand’s first locations in Pennsylvania, Texas, and Arkansas. This year, the brand will debut its first hybrid, freestanding restaurant and one of the first steps in a brand refresh plan announced last year. Also, to kick off 2016, Burger 21 opened its 21st restaurant in January and has more than 20 franchised restaurants in development in 11 states.
“Our 21st restaurant opening in Orland Park, Illinois, represents a huge milestone for the Burger 21 brand,” says Mark Johnston, Burger 21 founder and president. “In just five years, we’ve grown from a four-unit concept to a nationally recognized franchise with 21 open locations across eight states—a number that truly shows how far we’ve come. With extensive [quick-service] experience, we’re confident the local franchisees in Orland Park will further position Burger 21 as an innovator in the ‘beyond the better burger’ industry and remind consumers why our brand is different from the rest.”
The company celebrated its five-year anniversary in 2015. It was a year of growth and planning for the future, with Burger 21 announcing the opening of six new restaurants, increasing its brand presence in new and existing markets, as well as executing eight leases in seven states. The excitement continues in 2016, as the company plans to open 10 additional restaurants, including Burger 21's first locations in Texas, Illinois, and Michigan during the first quarter of the year. Additionally, the fast casual franchise will be developing the brand’s first airport locations in the newly renovated Tampa International Airport.
“At the start of this new year—our sixth year in business—the Burger 21 team is proud to reflect on our tremendous growth and the exciting developments in store for our brand and franchisees in 2016,” Johnston says. “As we open new restaurants in communities across the country and welcome new franchisees to the Burger 21 family, we continue our commitment to being bold, with innovation and quality that distinguishes us in the marketplace.’”
One of the company's biggest announcements in 2015 was enlisting branding and design consultancy Brand Architecture to rebrand the next generation of the Burger 21 experience. From a new logo and packaging to new chairs and uniforms, the updated Burger 21 visual identity will deliver a personality that is more aligned with the brand’s culture, aspirations, and customers.
“We’re thrilled to be partnering with an award-winning agency like Brand Architecture to retell Burger 21’s story with a fresh, new perspective that resonates with our loyal guests,” Johnston says. “We’re excited to provide an even greater customer experience for our guests and confident this brand refresh will position us for future growth across the country.”
Additional restaurant openings in 2016 include Burger 21's new Ocala, Florida, location, which will be the first location to sport the brand’s first full-service bar with cocktails and shaketails. Other new locations opening in 2016 include McAllen, Texas; Raleigh, North Carolina; Novi, Michigan; and Sterling, Virginia.
To fuel its national expansion plans, Burger 21 will be exhibiting at Franchise Expo South February 11–13 at the NRG Center in Houston. Local entrepreneurs are invited to meet with the brand’s franchise development team at booth No. 603 to learn more about growth opportunities.
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