BurgerFi announced Thursday the opening of its first restaurant in London, accelerating the company’s international franchise development expansion efforts. Located in London’s Wembley Central Square, the new restaurant is owned and operated by franchise group Ground Round Limited. Led by entrepreneur Jamie Wood, son of Rolling Stones’ guitarist Ron Wood, and hospitality industry veteran Constantine Kulukundis, the group plans to develop a total of 10 new restaurants throughout the U.K. over the next several years. Their second location slated to open in downtown London later this year.

“For the past five years, BurgerFi has done a great job establishing itself as a leader in the better burger space with immense potential, which drove my business partner and I to franchise the concept in London,” says Jamie Wood, BurgerFi franchisee. “The corporate team has passion like I’ve never seen before, and they go above and beyond to set their franchise partners up for success. Because of that, I truly believe that BurgerFi will succeed in this new market, and I look forward to growing its presence even more over the next several years.”

The expansion in London has contributed to BurgerFi’s surge in franchise development, propelled by the brand’s goal to have 100 restaurants open by year-end. The company has experienced very strong growth in 2016, both domestically and internationally, expecting to end the year with 24 openings in the U.S. and four abroad. Furthermore, the company is on track to report record-high system-wide sales at the end of this year with a projected increase of 20 percent.

“Our next goal to open 100 restaurants is in sight, and adding a location in London is a significant milestone for the BurgerFi brand,” adds Corey Winograd, chief executive officer of BurgerFi. “In just five years, we’ve grown from a single restaurant in South Florida to an internationally recognized franchise with 89 open locations, which has further fueled our franchise development nationwide. Our fast-paced growth is a true testament to BurgerFi’s commitment to providing a premier better burger experience in a fast-casual environment, and we’re confident that Jamie and Constantine, along with our other dedicated franchisees, will help us continue our growth worldwide and take the BurgerFi brand to new heights.”

To continue the momentum in 2017, BurgerFi plans to open 35 new restaurants next year, including the company’s first locations in Panama and Kuwait. With global demand and enormous opportunity for expansion, BurgerFi is poised for another year of phenomenal growth and will continue to seek qualified candidates to expand the brand’s presence domestically and internationally.

“As we prepare for 2017, we recognize that setting development goals is crucial to the success of any business, but finding the right operators and restaurant sites is how you sustain long-term growth,” says Winograd. “We’re focused on recruiting franchisees that resonate with our chef-driven, all-natural menu, as well as our commitment to providing an environmentally sustainable experience in all of our restaurants.”

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