Smashburger is pushing into Canada for the first time with the aim of sparking franchise development there, the company said Tuesday.
The Denver-based fast-casual chain has signed two lease agreements for locations in the Calgary market, with the restaurants expected to open in 2012. An additional 10 to 15 company-operated units are planned for Calgary and Edmonton over time, the company said.
At the same time, Smashburger is seeking experienced franchise partners to grow the brand across Canada, particularly in the Vancouver and Toronto markets.
“We are eager to introduce Smashburger’s better-burger offering and our diverse menu of chicken sandwiches, fresh tossed salads and signature sides to residents in Calgary and Edmonton,” Dave Prokupek, Smashburger chairman and chief executive, said in a statement. “Canada is a very attractive market to us and we believe we are bringing a unique, premium dining experience at a competitive price point to local residents.”
Canada is the second international target for the 135-unit Smashburger chain, which has also been growing rapidly in the United States.
Earlier this year, Smashburger announced plans to expand in the Middle East, where franchisees plan to open multiple units in Kuwait, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia over the next few years.
Prokupek has also cited the United Kingdom as another international market where the chain is seeking franchise partners.
Smashburger is owned by private-equity firm Consumer Capital Partners.