Smashburger, a fast-casual “better burger” concept launched and funded with $15 million by private equity and concept development firm Consumer Capital Partners (CCP), has two Founders Club franchisees opening the company’s first franchise stores in the coming weeks.

The first franchise store to open is in Grand Junction, Colorado and is owned by Areios LLC, which is a partnership of franchise and restaurant operators Ron Chaulk and Jim Cagle. The June 15 grand opening is the first of several planned along the Western Slope of Colorado.

Areios was the second “Founders Club” member which is a designation reserved for the first four large franchisees to join the Smashburger team.

The second and third franchise stores, owned by SB Alamo Development, LLC, will open in San Antonio, Texas, at the Stone Ridge shopping center and the Park North shopping center on June 21 and July 8, respectively. SB Alamo is also a Founders Club member and was awarded a 45-unit deal for Texas and New Mexico.

“Our growth strategy is focused on opening close to 40 restaurants this year, a combination of corporate, joint venture, and franchise locations,” said Dave Prokupek, Smashburger chairman and CCP managing partner and chief investment officer. “The opening of our first franchise locations is significant, considering that in the last six months we’ve signed deals to open nearly 200 franchise locations over the next several years. It gives the ability to expand quickly and efficiently without sacrificing profitability or the guest experience.”

Both Areios and SB Alamo have plans to open more restaurants this year, helping Smashburger reach its expansion goals.

“Our franchise strategy is to find strong multi-unit operators who know and understand their respective markets and have an appreciation for what Smashburger is doing. We’re pleased to see our work with Areios and SB Alamo come to fruition with the opening of our first three franchise locations,” said Scott Crane, president of Smashburger. “The reception we’ve received from burger lovers across the country as Smashburger expands its culinary footprint is exciting. Along with our franchise partners, we’re eager to earn our place as Grand Junction’s and San Antonio’s favorite burger place.”

News, Smoothie King