US burger chain Smashburger to open 35 UK sites
Smashburger is set to become the latest of the US-based ‘better burger' concepts to make its way to the UK, with plans to open 35 restaurants.
The news comes following a deal between the concept's founders and its UK master franchisee AL Ventures Ltd.
Smashburger will be fronted in the UK by managing director Tim Lowther, who has previously had roles at other US-based burger concepts that have made the jump to the UK, including Five Guys (where he was head of operations UK north), and Shake Shack, (where he was business manager in the UK).
Smashburger was founded in 2007 by Rick Schaden alongside restaurateur Tom Ryan, with the backing of US-based private equity company Consumer Capital Partners, which is owned by Rick Schaden and his father Richard.
The business now operates more than 310 corporate and franchise restaurants in 34 US states and six other countries including: Canada, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Kuwait, Panama, and Saudi Arabia.
Smashburger offers fresh Angus beefburgers and takes its name from the technique used to cook them, which involves "smashing" the beef onto a hot buttered grill.
In addition to burgers, it will offer UK customers other main course options such as chicken, as well as side dishes such as sweet potato fries, fries with rosemary, haystack onions, fresh salads, milkshakes and craft beer.
AL Ventures, which lists Niels Ladefoged (a director and shareholder in Mexican fast casual restaurant chain Poncho No 8) and Satnam Singh Grewal among its directors, is part of the multi-site operator MSG Group.
Commenting on the plans to bring Smashburger to the UK, Tim Lowther said: "The fast casual dining market is yet to reach its potential and there is most definitely an exciting long term future ahead with huge potential for brands such as Smashburger. We are extremely looking forward to propelling Smashburger to lead the better burgers in the UK. Due to its laser focus on quality and taste, we are certain Smashburger will appeal to the UK's tastes and more importantly satisfy the burger feeding frenzy for the next 30 years and beyond".
"The better burger category is growing, especially in international markets like the UK," said Tom Ryan, founder at Smashburger. "We are excited to be part of London's booming food culture and look forward to introducing a new way to eat burgers with our new franchise partner who we're confident will continue the brand's status as a leader in the fast-casual industry across the pond".