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Is the future of restaurants elevated casual?


As the line between fast-casual and casual-dining continues to blur, Smashburger is hopping on the more upscale, experiential trend within the limited-service category. Recently, somewhat in defiance of the off-premises focus of the COVID-era restaurant, Denver-based fast-casual burger chain, Smashburger, has been trying to get guests to linger longer instead of grabbing their food at a pickup window or multi-lane drive-thru.

Over the past few years, Smashburger has elevated its brand with new digital-first prototypes that focus just as much on technology as they do aesthetics. The new prototypes, which began rolling out in 2021, feature open concept kitchens so that customers can see their burger being smashed and milkshake being made in a sort-of “culinary theater” experience.

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