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Smashburger CEO Forges Ahead with Chain's Growth

DSCN0065 Scott Crane, Smashburger’s CEO as of last November, has no plans to change Smashburger’s template in remaining one of the nation’s fastest-growing players in the fast-casual “better-burger” arena.

The Denver Post reported yesterday that Crane plans to make Smashburger’s eighth consecutive year one of double-digit growth.

Crane projects that Smashburger this year will open about 75 new units nationwide and in a few foreign markets. Sales will grow to an estimated $300 million compared with $228 million in 2013.

The chief executive is not a newcomer to the brand. Crane was Smashburger’s president from the date the Denver-based company opened its first restaurant in 2007. But that is still a tall order considering Five Guys Burgers and Fries has about five times as many locations as Smashburger’s 256.

The Post states that restaurant analysts are questioning Crane’s aggressive goals.

“Is the better-burger space too crowded?" asks John Gordon of San Diego-based Pacific Management Consulting Group. "Many believe that there are way too many chains, and only a limited number are going to make it."

But few are betting against Smashburger.

The chain recently was ranked by Forbes magazine as one of the top 10 "Most Promising Companies," and Crane was named one of the "10 Executives to Watch" by Nation's Restaurant News.

The article explains that the chain’s growth is viewed as “impressive in some metrics but tiny in others.”

Restaurant-analysis firm Technomic reports that among all limited-service hamburger chains, Smashburger's market share is 0.2 percent. By comparison, Five Guys has a 1.4 percent share. Mega-chains McDonald's, Wendy's and Burger King collectively command 71 percent of the market.
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Article: Denver’s Smashburger aims to raise stature in “better burger” segment Denver Post

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About Janet Sparks

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Janet Sparks is the former publisher of the Continental Franchise Review, an industry newsletter that covered the franchise community for over 30 years. She has also been a columnist for a leading franchise magazine for the past 13 years. Today she is an independent journalist who engages in investigative reporting, tackling complex issues that impact the franchise industry.

Janet can be reached at jsparks@bluemaumau.org or at 303-799-7398.