Smashburger,the nation’s fastest growing “better burger” concept, announced it has added five new franchise partners to its rapidly growing family of franchisees, totaling a combined commitment for 63 new franchise units across the country.

These most recent franchise agreements bring Smashburger’s total franchise pipeline to 463 locations, which are expected to open over the course of the next several years. These new commitments will also allow Smashburger to make its debut in four new markets, further expanding its growing national footprint.

Each of Smashburger’s five new franchise partners possesses deep restaurant operations and management experience. Smashburger is pleased to announce its partnership with the following franchisees to introduce the company’s sizzling offering in the following markets:

-Queens and Westchester County, New York, and Fairfield County, Connecticut – Smashburger has partnered with Rich Greenstein, Ronnie Portnoy, and Howie Novick to open 24 Smashburger restaurants over the next six years. The three partners are also longtime Dunkin’ Donuts franchisees.

-Cincinnati, Ohio – Smashburger has partnered with Scott Snow to open 12 new restaurants in Cincinnati, expanding Smashburger’s operations in Ohio. Snow is also a franchisee with Buffalo Wild Wings.

-Jacksonville, Florida – Smashburger has partnered with Jim Crossen of American Food Services Group, LLC to expand Smashburger operations in Florida by committing to open seven restaurants over the next four years in Duval County.

-New Orleans and Birmingham, Alabama – Smashburger has partnered with Compleat Hospitality Management, LLC in the New Orleans and Birmingham markets to open 10 Smashburger restaurants. This new partner is also a Buffalo Wild Wings franchisee.

-Charlotte, North Carolina – Smashburger has partnered with Craig and Peter Cunningham for a 10 unit agreement in Charlotte. Craig Cunningham previously served as Regional Area Director for Mimi’s Café.

“We are very pleased to welcome our new franchisees to the Smashburger family and look forward to leveraging their experience gained from successfully operating other growing restaurant concepts,” says Dave Prokupek, chairman and CEO of Smashburger. “Consumers’ response to the Smashburger concept has driven our positive same-store sales growth for the first quarter and has put us ahead of schedule with our franchise commitments. We are right on track with our openings, with 100 restaurants across 31 markets, and we look forward to working with our new franchisees to introduce Smashburger in new markets across the country.”

Smashburger plans to open 85 new restaurants in 2011, putting its year-end target at 175 units. Its restaurants are currently half-company-owned and half-franchised. Smashburger’s goal is to have 500 restaurants in the next few years. International expansion is also part of Smashburger’s plans for continued growth as the restaurant operator aims to become the number one global “better burger” brand.

Smashburger’s award-winning burgers are made with 100 percent Certified Angus Beef, cooked to order and smashed on a flat grill to sear in the juicy flavor. Smashburger also serves tender marinated grilled or crispy chicken sandwiches, grilled and split hot dogs, entrée salads, with an array of signature sides like rosemary and garlic–seasoned Smashfries, sweet potato Smashfries, crispy haystack onions, and veggie frites. Burger lovers can pair their meals with Häagen-Daz shakes, malts, and floats and an array of local craft bottled beers and wine. 

Burgers, Denise Lee Yohn: QSR's Marketing Guru, Growth, News, Smashburger