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Foodservice News

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Blog Network

jCarbonara
Joe Carbonara

When Good Is Not Good Enough

During the depths of the recession, people would often joke that flat was the new up. In other words, if a company was not losing ground fiscally that was as good as gaining ground, given the challenging economic environment. Well, it's been a while since the recession ended and yet growth remains hard to come by for the foodservice industry.

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jMartinez
Juan Martinez

Foodservice Design Parameters for Successful Co-Branding

 The concept of co-branding, meaning having two restaurants share the same space, is nothing new. Sometimes it works. Other times it does not. So what’s the difference between successful and unsuccessful co-branding initiatives?

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jStiegler
Jerry Stiegler

Minimum Wage Debate Rages on, Darden Gets Strong Advice, Sysco Merger Under Scrutiny and Much More

This Week in Foodservice provides reports from the minimum wage fight, a story that the Sysco/U.S. Foods merger may be challenged by the government, news on Darden’s fight with some of their investors, Johnny Rocket’s new concepts, and a whole lot more.

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Greg Christian
Greg Christian

Outcomes for Year One of a New, Self-Op School Lunch Program

As the 2014-2015 school year draws to a close, I'd like to share the final outcomes of Nardin Academy's new self-operated foodservice program.

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Highlights

Chain Innovators: Smashburger

Less than five years after launching its "smash. sizzle. savor." next-gen burger concept, Smashburger in May celebrated the milestone opening of its 100th unit. By year's end, the company expects to almost double in size again and be operating in 30 to 35 markets nationwide.

SmashburgerSmashburger's success is thanks to some key differentiating product innovations, says Greg Creighton, chief operating officer. Top among them is a menu strategy that combines systemwide consistency on signature products with distinctly local offerings. In Kentucky, it's a Bluegrass smashburger with Wild Turkey bourbon barbecue sauce and fried banana peppers on an egg bun. In Illinois, it's a Windy City Burger with cheddar cheese and Gulden's spicy mustard on a pretzel bun. In Iowa, it's a smashburger topped with Maytag blue cheese and applewood smoked bacon on an egg bun. Featured drinks are localized, too. "In Chicago, we have the Green River Float made from locally made Green River Soda; in Utah we have a Huckleberry Shake and in Utah a Grasshopper Mint Shake," Creighton says. "They're all made with products that are indigenous to the locale."

In every market, the "local" menu features are consistently top sellers," he notes. "It drives our marketing department crazy because every menu's different, but it's the key to us being able to deliver on our promise of being every city's favorite place for burgers."

And while burgers are the big draw, Smashburger also caters to guests who may not want a burger. A line-up of grilled and crispy smashchicken sandwiches, smashsalads and smashsides, including smashfries seasoned with olive oil, rosemary and garlic, is offered and a new fresh-made black bean burger is rolling out systemwide this summer.

Fast Facts

  • Year founded: 2006
  • Headquarters: Denver
  • Menu specialties: Beef burgers cooked to order and "smashed" on a flat grill to sear in juices and seasonings; grilled or crispy chicken sandwiches; grilled and split hot dogs; entrée salads; signature sides such as rosemary and garlic–seasoned Smashfries, sweet potato Smashfries, crispy haystack onions and veggie frites
  • Ownership: Consumer Capital Partners
  • Service Model: Fast-casual
  • Units: 100 (currently 50 percent franchised)
  • 2010 growth: Revenue increased 88 percent, units grew by 116 percent
  • Projected 2011 growth: 85 new units expected
  • Key expansion markets: New York City, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta, Southern California
  • Typical location: Urban, suburban strip center end-cap location
  • Average unit size: 2,100 sq. ft.
  • Average kitchen space: 700 sq. ft.
  • Average covers per day: 400
  • Average check: $8
  • Total equipment investment per unit: $75,000
  • Total unit cost: $400,000

Key Players

  • Chairman & CEO: David Prokupek
  • Founder & Chief Concept Officer: Tom Ryan
  • Chief Operating Officer: Greg Creighton
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