Britain’s flourishing gourmet burger market could yet provide more opportunities for kitchen equipment providers after one of the fastest-growing US brands yesterday confirmed plans to enter the UK market.
Smashburger, which operates in excess of 300 outlets globally, announced it would open more than 35 restaurants in the UK over the “next several years”.
The brand has appointed the MSG Group as its franchise partner for the UK and tasked it with leading its initial entry into the market. MSG will fund the growth of the UK business and use its extensive restaurant management and operations experience to find suitable locations to open sites. MSG knows the UK QSR landscape well through the 120 Domino’s pizza chain restaurants that it owns.
MSG managing director Tim Lowther will personally lead the expansion. He has 30 years’ experience in the burger and fast casual industry and most recently introduced Shake Shack and Five Guys in the UK.
“The fast casual dining market has yet to reach its potential in the UK and there is a huge opportunity for brands such as Smashburger,” declared Lowther. “Due to its focus on quality and taste, we are certain Smashburger will be a success and more importantly satisfy the burger appetite for the next 30 years and beyond.”
The UK becomes the eighth country that Smashburger operates in and follows a period of high growth for the firm. It added 65 new restaurants last year, representing 22% new unit growth.
Smashburger offers a diverse menu featuring fresh, made-to-order burgers that are seared and seasoned on the grill to lock-in natural juices. The menu features innovative burger combinations, or guests can create their own customised burger or chicken sandwich.
Scott Crane, CEO of Smashburger, said: “The United Kingdom is hungry for better burgers and presents a significant opportunity for us to meet the global demand in the category. We are excited to grow our international presence in the UK with such a seasoned franchise partner who will help us bring Smashburger to a rapidly-growing fast casual market.”
Smashburger was launched in 2007 with the vision of Rick Schaden and funding by Consumer Capital Partners — the private equity firm that Schaden owns with his father Richard. It operates more than 315 corporate and franchise restaurants in 34 US states, as well as sites in Kuwait, Canada, El Salvador, Panama, Costa Rica and Saudi Arabia.