A “Smashing” Success
In spite of challenging economic conditions, some companies have actually managed to grow and even thrive in the past three years. Leading the pack in the restaurant industry is Denver-based Smashburger Master LLC, with a three-year unit growth rate of +1600%.
As a recent entrant into the battle of the gourmet hamburgers, Smashburger has shown remarkable growth in just three years. From only three locations open at the end of 2007, the company now has 85 restaurants and franchise agreements for an additional 500 locations. Its signature product, the smashburger, starts with 100% Angus Beef on an artisan bun topped with a variety of cheeses, fresh produce, and condiments. Unlike what some might consider its most direct competitor, Five Guys Burgers & Fries, Smashburger also offers chili, salads, milk shakes, and smashchicken sandwiches. The restaurants also provide bottled beer and wine. Burger prices range from $4.99 to $6.99, and sides (including sweet potato smashfries, veggie frites, and fried pickles) run $1.99 up to $3.99. According to the company’s home page, the average check is $8.
Although initial growth was through the opening of corporate stores, the company is now franchising, helping to fuel its rapid expansion. Of the restaurants that are currently open, only 30 are corporate locations. Restaurants are typically 1,600-2,200 square feet, and the company prefers end cap or in-line locations with seating for 40-70 and a minimum of 16 parking spaces. Site preferences for major markets include a daily traffic count of at least 50,000 cars and surrounding population (employees and residential) of at least 75,000 within a three-mile radius.
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