Hot Concepts 2009: Smashburger

Hot Concepts 2009: Smashburger

Tom Ryan, the founder of 2-year-old Smashburger, says he realized in the late 1990s that consumers wanted an upgrade from the typical quick-service burger—but without the full-service wait times or the $9 casual-dining price tag.

He was not alone, and in recent years Smashburger and other fast-casual burger restaurants have been popping up nationwide in the race to capitalize on the premium-burger craze.

All of the f

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