Smashburger celebrates 200 restaurants

12:45 PM, Jan 16, 2013   |    comments
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The burger franchise started in Denver five years ago and now has over 190 restaurants across 28 markets in the United States, Canada, Kuwait and Costa Rica. Smashburger recently topped Fast Casual's 2012 Top Mover & Shakers list and was named America's Most Promising Company by Forbes magazine.

9NEWS Business reporter Gregg Moss spoke with Smashburger Founder Tom Ryan about what sparked the idea for this successful franchise.

"There were a lot of burgers being eaten but not a lot of passion for them, and so we had this feeling that there was space out there - space to bring burgers back into peoples' lives and to create a burger that people could get excited about," Ryan said.

While the name also points to the inevitable restaurant being a "smash," that is not where the idea for the title came from.

"We came up with this wonderful idea taking certified Angus, loosely packed, smashing it on the grill to order and - voila - Smashburger," Ryan said.

Smashburger took the risk of opening during a recession but were actually able to use that to their advantage by making smart real-estate decisions. They also started franchising after only four restaurants, and their franchise partners see Smashburger as a better use of capital than other restaurants.

Another contributing factor to their success as a "better burger" chain is that they do not compete with the top three burger chains that control 70 percent of that market, but instead are battling Five Guys Burgers & Fries, local bar and grills, and casual dining restaurants like Applebee's.

Ryan says they plan on opening between 60 and 80 new restaurants in 2013. He does not know yet which location will be the 200th to open, but said they will be celebrating when it does. Either way, the successful chain will always call Denver home.

Morgan Aguilar contributed to this report.

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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