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Smashburger inks first franchise deal

DENVER The seven-unit Smashburger fast-casual chain here said it has signed its first franchisee, the New Jersey-based Mascott Corp., to open up to 30 units on the East Coast.

Mascott is a family-owned multiconcept franchisee of such brands as Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Carvel Ice Cream, Cinnabon and Seattle’s Best Coffee. As part of its deal with Smashburger, Mascott becomes a member of the chain's Founders Club, a designation for the brand's first five large franchisees.

Started last year with $15 million from private equity and concept development firm Consumer Capital Partners, Smashburger is attempting to carve out a niche in the “better burger” category. The company said it expects to have 10 to 15 stores by the end of the year and another 30 to 60 corporate stores in 2009.

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