Burger 21, a better-burger franchise founded by the owners of The Melting Pot Restaurants Inc., signed a franchise agreement to develop its first restaurant in Chicagoland, marking the brand’s entry into Illinois. Additionally, the company signed a franchise deal for the development of one restaurant in Dallas. Burger 21 currently has 15 open locations and more than 20 franchised restaurants in development across the country.
“We are thrilled to announce the signing of these new franchise agreements that will bring our chef-inspired brand to Dallas and Chicagoland for the very first time,” says Mark Johnston, president of Burger 21. “With the development of these new restaurants, we see great potential to further expand the brand’s footprint in both Texas and Illinois. We look forward to building on this momentum as we continue to drive our national expansion efforts across the country.”
Ed Karayanes and Art Chmiel bring years of multiunit restaurant operations experience with McDonald’s and plan to develop the first Illinois restaurant in the Rosemont area of Chicagoland, which is slated to open by fall 2015.
“We were attracted to Burger 21 not only for its strong unit economics, but also for its unique variety of high quality menu items and its ‘beyond the better burger’ experience, which is unlike any other in the city,” says Chmiel, who plans to serve as the restaurant’s general manager. “We look forward to opening the first Burger 21 in the state and eventually expanding the brand’s footprint in the greater Chicago area.”
Additionally, Ken and Chantrell Goodgames plan to develop their Burger 21 location in the Irving-Las Colinas area of Dallas. Ken will oversee the restaurant’s daily operations when it opens in the latter half of 2015. The franchisees plan to open additional locations in the Dallas market over the next few years. Earlier this year, the brand inked a franchise deal with another franchise group to bring its first Texas restaurant to Austin, which is slated to open by summer 2015.
“We always wanted to open our own better burger business and Burger 21 truly exceeded our expectations of what we wanted in a restaurant,” Ken says. “We are also proud to work with a brand that supports our community through charitable initiatives that align with our personal values. We are confident that Burger 21 will become a standout dining destination for Dallas residents.”