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Smashburger adds five stores to pipeline with new agreement

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Smashburger is expanding in Utah.

So far in 2023, Smashburger has struck deals to develop 26 new stores.

The fast-casual hamburger chain has signed a multi-unit development agreement to expand its footprint in Utah, bringing five new locations to Salt Lake City. Multi-unit franchisee Michael Walker of Zuvachs LLC will lead the Utah expansion and acquired two existing Smashburger locations in Salt Lake City through the deal.

In addition to the group's portfolio of Smashburger restaurants, Walker and Zuvachs are set to build five Fazoli's locations in Greater Salt Lake City.

Smashburger is also looking to expand within Southern CaliforniaGeorgia and the Carolina's, as well as Florida. Smashburger provides franchise operators site selection criteria, construction, decor, as well as opening support. Once open, Smashburger provides regular advice on ways to increase sales, improve operations and monitor customer feedback. 

"We are extremely proud of the growth that has been accomplished since reigniting our franchise development program towards the end of last year. Franchisees across the country have seen first-hand how strongly our elevated better-burger experience resonates in each of the markets we operate in, and see the promise in our brand's vision," said Toni Bianco, senior VP of global operations at Smashburger. "We're looking to partner with experienced operators that are eager to grow, and Michael has proven to fit that classification."

"From the moment I took my first bite into Smashburger's signature smashed patty, I knew we had found a brand that shared our passion for quality, flavor and innovation. The brand's commitment to using fresh, premium ingredients and their dedication to handcrafting each burger with precision sets them apart in the fast casual industry, said Walker. "Along with craveable menu items, Smashburger continues to show immense growth potential due to the increased consumer demand for a modern customer experience. We are thrilled to be leading the brand's expansion in Salt Lake City!"

Smashburger debuts ‘virtual drive-thru’ in Houston

Smashburger recently opened its first “virtual drive-thru” concept at its new corporate-owned restaurant in Houston. The format allows customers to place an order online or through the Smashburger app, then pull through the designated parking lane where their food will be delivered to the driver by a store associate.

First announced in 2022, the virtual drive-thru prototype utilizes the Curbit digital ordering system, which provides customers an exact wait time for their order and the ability to track the order accurately from start to finish. With the wait time reduction provided by this new concept, Smashburger reports the experience has driven a 30% lift in customer repeat rate.

[Read more: Exclusive Q&A: Smashburger transforms drive-thru with next-gen tech]

Additionally, Smashburger says the new prototype is more environmentally friendly than a standard drive-thru, as it reduces traffic congestion and carbon emissions by minimizing the amount of time customers spend idling in the car. 

Founded in 2007 in Denver, Smashburger operates over 240 locations across 34 states and seven countries.

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