Boardwalk Fresh Burgers and Fries Inc. announced that one of its master franchisees in the Midwest has received six I-526 approvals from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for the construction and operation of six new units of Boardwalk Fries Burgers Shakes in the Cincinnati, Ohio, area. The master franchisee who received the six I-526 approvals plans to continue using the EB5 program to finance the company’s growth. The Master Franchisee has already submitted several more I-526 petitions for additional Boardwalk units, and expects to receive approvals shortly.
Dave DiFerdinando, president of Boardwalk Fries Burgers Shakes, expects the master franchisees nationwide to add a significant number of new units using the EB-5 program to obtain the necessary financing. “These six I-526 approvals are a very big step for us. They are proof that our brand and our business model are solid. It also shows that EB5 investors can play a big role in our franchisees’ continued expansion,” DiFerdinando says.
Marc Hyman, an EB5 consultant based in Santa Barbara, California, suggested to DiFerdinando and his company, Boardwalk Fries Burgers Shakes, that the EB-5 program could help his company’s franchisees build out more units in a very cost-effective manner. Hyman worked with Boardwalk Fries Burgers Shakes’ management team to map out a strategy for capitalizing on the EB-5 program. Hyman subsequently introduced Boardwalk Fries Burgers Shakes to a team of professionals who developed the now successful EB-5–financed growth strategy.
“Marc Hyman brought the EB-5 program to our attention because he saw an opportunity that we weren’t even aware of. He continued to show us how EB5 could finance our franchisees’ growth, and to top it all off, he introduced us to all the right people,” says DiFerdinando, adding that “ throughout the process, Marc Hyman urged us to be patient, because he knew that our brand and our business model were an ideal match for the EB-5 program.”
Dave DiFerdinando and Marc Hyman plan to continue working together to expand the number of franchisees who use the EB5 program to add units in their territories. Together they are developing Boardwalk Fries Burgers Shakes’ fast-casual restaurant format so that it can continue to accommodate the needs of the EB-5 program. “The upcoming changes in the EB5 program will likely shift the focus of the program away from major real estate development projects,” says Hyman, adding “ the EB-5 program was initially designed to help smaller businesses create jobs and that is exactly what Boardwalk franchisees will be doing, thanks to the EB-5 program.”