Smashburger, the rapidly expanding better burger restaurant concept, announced it has added five new franchise partners to its growing family of better burger franchisees, totaling a combined commitment for 19 new franchise units across the U.S. These most recent franchise agreements bring Smashburger’s total active franchise pipeline to approximately 300 locations, which are expected to open over the next several years. These new commitments will also allow Smashburger to make its debut in three new markets, further expanding its growing national footprint as it looks to reach all fifty states.
Additionally, Smashburger has entered into an agreement to acquire a 75 percent stake in 13 restaurants currently owned and operated by franchise partner Scott Gillman of Mascott Corporation in the state of New Jersey. This year’s growth, combined with the acquisition, will move its systemwide corporate and franchised breakdown closer to its goal of 60 percent company owned and 40 percent franchised locations. Mr. Gillman, who has been a Smashburger Franchisee of the Year, will continue to be actively involved in the growth of Smashburger in New Jersey. Smashburger’s stake in these select high performing restaurants will allow the company to accelerate its growth in the market and is part of the company’s corporate development strategy on the east coast, coming on the heels of its corporate entrance into the Washington D.C. market.
“Consumer appetite for Smashburger’s “better burgers,” as well as for other premium fast casual offerings, is continuing to grow and the opportunity to develop the Smashburger brand has never been better,” says Dave Prokupek, chairman and CEO of Smashburger. “New Jersey and the entire East Coast markets are very attractive to us from a corporate and franchise perspective, and we believe there is considerable opportunity to expand our footprint here over time. We’re also very pleased to welcome our newest group of veteran franchise partners who are just as passionate as we are about growing the Smashburger brand in order to bring great tasting premium burgers and other offerings to consumers across the country and around the world.”
Each of Smashburger’s new franchise partners possesses deep restaurant operations and management experience. Smashburger is pleased to announce its partnership with the following franchisees to expand the company’s sizzling fast casual offering in the following markets:
· Tallahassee, Florida – Smashburger has partnered with David Walker and Kerry Nohle of Sizzle Adventures to debut the first Smashburger restaurants in Tallahassee and open four locations in the northern Florida area over the next few years. The two partners are former operators of Tropical Smoothie, Subway, and Marco’s Pizza restaurant franchisees.
· Charleston, South Carolina – Smashburger has partnered with Josh Snyder of Low Country Burgers to debut Smashburger in Charleston and open three new restaurants in the area over the next couple years. Mr. Snyder is also an operator of a Moe’s Southwest Grill franchise.
· Salt Lake City, Utah – Smashburger has partnered with husband and wife team Mark & Chris Beck-McKay of McKay Management to expand the brand’s operations in Utah with the opening six new restaurants in Salt Lake City over the next few years. Local operator Chris Beck-Mckay is a former McDonald’s franchise veteran.
· Colorado Springs, Colorado – Smashburger has partnered with husband and wife team Lucas & Allyson Farnham of Better Burger Builders to open three new restaurants in Colorado Springs over the next few years. The couple also operates restaurants under the Black Bear Diner brand.
· Ventura County, California – Smashburger has partnered with father and son duo Ron & Ryan Hunter to open three new restaurants in Ventura County over the next few years. Local operator Ryan Hunter is also a Culinary Institute of America trained executive chef.
Smashburger remains on track to grow its unit count by approximately 30 percent in 2013 and plans to open an additional 30 to 40 restaurants in the balance of 2013, putting its year-end target at approximately 250 locations globally. The company’s goal is to become the number one global “better burger” brand with 500 restaurants globally in the next few years. The company continues to seek qualified franchise partners to expand the brand into top DMA markets in new states domestically and in international markets including Canada, South America, United Kingdom, and South East Asia.