Smashburger, the rapidly expanding better burger restaurant concept, announced the recipients of its most prestigious annual awards, including Franchisee of The Year, which were presented to seven deserving franchise groups and corporate leaders at the company’s 2013 Conference held in Laguna Beach, California, from September 18-20.


We have great appreciation for the hard work of dedicated people across our organization that continues to propel Smashburger’s growth and positively impact the hospitality experience we serve our guests every day,” says Dave Prokupek, chairman and CEO of Smashburger. “Much of our company’s success is due in part to the outstanding leadership displayed by this year’s awards recipients—franchise and corporate partners who not only represent the ‘best of the best’ in operating and motivating restaurant teams, but embodying true passion for our brand at the highest level.”


This year’s top awards recipients include:


Franchisee of the Year: Smashburger’s partners Rich Greenstein, Howard Novick, and Ronnie Portnoy of Smash Enterprises are this year’s recipient of the Franchisee of the Year Award. This award identifies the franchise group that exemplifies excellence in all areas, demonstrating a drive for success, passion for the brand, extraordinary customer service, and attention to detail. Smash Enterprises currently operates two Smashburger locations in Westchester County, New York, and has plans for seven additional restaurant openings in the greater area including Queens County, New York, and Fairfield County, Connecticut, between now and 2014.


Operator of the Year: Smashburger’s partners Irwin and Dona Kruger of ISK Enterprises in Long Island are this year’s recipient of the Operator of the Year Award. This award celebrates the operator who sets the system standard for store-level execution by performing well on operating metrics, achieving consistent positive customer feedback, and high marks on secret shops. Irwin and Dona currently operate three Smashburger locations in the Long Island, New York, area and have plans to open three additional restaurants next year.


Rookie of the Year: SB Philly rookies Dan O’Shaughnessy, Sean Leonard, Kevin Murphy, Vernon Hill, Dan Hill, and Gene Giordano have been honored with Smashburger’s Rookie of the Year Award. This award recognizes franchisees that opened in a new market and demonstrate leadership in launching the brand, hiring great talent, and training strong team members to introduce Smashburger into the new communities they serve. SB Philly currently operates two locations in the greater Philadelphia area and has plans to open four additional restaurants next year.


Leadership Award: SunWest Burger’s David Doty, Chuck Riske, Kurt Riske, and Robin Yoshimura have been awarded Smashburger’s Leadership Award for a second consecutive year. This award recognizes franchisees who celebrate people as the most valuable asset. Leadership Award recipients focus on recruiting, training, and retaining the best team. SunWest Burger currently operates 13 Smashburger locations in Phoenix.


Founder’s Award: Smashburger director of franchise operations Rod Boyer received this year’s Founder’s Award. This award recognizes the corporate or franchise leader that demonstrates the principles and values of the Smashburger brand while delivering results, demonstrating commitment to the brand, and focusing unwaveringly on success.


Franchise Support Person of the Year: Smashburger ‎director of operational analytics Elliot Schiffer was honored with the Franchise Support Person of The Year Award. This award recognizes an individual as voted by the franchise community who is consistently responsive, proactive, and goes above and beyond to support and sustain the franchise community.


Corporate Leadership Circle: Smashburger’s Brian Beers, Kevin McCarthy, Angela Sanders, Aaron Johnson, Eric Marcoux, and Maria Fernandez are recipients of Smashburger’s first annual Corporate Leadership Circle award. This award recognizes team leaders across the corporate and franchise system which embody Smashburger’s core brand values highlighting people, passion, and purpose.

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