Smashburger Continues Aggressive National Expansion with Second 30-Store Franchise Group

Newest "Founders Club" Member, Areios LLC, Signs Deal to Develop Smashburger in Key Mountain and Mid-West Communities in Western Colorado, South Dakota and Kansas City

DENVER--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Smashburger, a fast-casual "better burger" concept recently launched and funded with $15 million by private equity and concept development firm Consumer Capital Partners (CCP), has secured its second franchisee and "Founders Club" member, Areios LLC. Areios, a partnership between experienced franchise and restaurant operators Ron Chaulk and Jim Cagle, collectively represents over 30 years of industry experience with as many as 30 franchised and new concepts such as Subway, Papa Murphy's, TCBY, Dairy Queen and Shake, Rattle and Roll. As Smashburger's second "Founders Club" member, Areios will provide valuable field insight on Smashburger's brand and menu development as well as operations and real estate. The "Founders Club" designation will be reserved for the first five large franchisees to join the Smashburger team.

"Contrary to what the macro-economic environment might dictate, the strength of the Smashburger brand and our diligent focus on unit level economics, combined with the opportunity in the 'better burger' category, continues to attract the best franchisees in the country like Ron and Jim," said David Prokupek, Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer of Consumer Capital Partners. "Ron and Jim represent the ideal spectrum of experience that can generate valuable input as 'Founders Club' members -- input that will help us execute our growth strategy on both a local and national level."

Areios' initial development plans have targeted the Western Slope of Colorado in communities such as Rifle, Durango, Montrose, Glenwood Springs and Steamboat, as well as the South Dakota cities of Brookings, Mitchell, Watertown, Aberdeen and Sioux Falls and a significant presence in Kansas City. These markets will complement Smashburger's current corporate footprint of seven stores in the Denver metro area, as well as the impending launch of stores in Wichita and Houston in December. The Company plans to grow its corporate footprint to a total of 10-12 stores by the end of 2008 and as many as 30-60 stores by the end of 2009 on its way to achieving a strong national footprint.

"Smashburger offers a unique opportunity because of the clear superiority of the product quality and the strength of the economic model," said Cagle. "Additionally, Ron and I were very attracted to the simplicity and focus of the operation, the commitment on behalf of the Company to build corporate stores and their approach to partnering with seasoned operators for growth on the franchising side." Chaulk added, "The experience of the management team and their vision for the brand in the medium and long term made this an outstanding investment and development opportunity and we look forward to working with Smashburger to turn this concept into the top national brand in the 'better burger' category."

"Operationally, it is critical that we choose franchisees that have the experience and back-end infrastructure to support the exacting standards we require to maintain the quality of the Smashburger brand and product," said Scott Crane, President of Smashburger. "Ron Chaulk and Jim Cagle not only bring those operational elements, but they also represent a wealth of experience in developing the one and two store smaller markets that will play an important role in achieving our goal to be the number one player in the 'better burger' category. Their focus on the Western half of Colorado and South Dakota will put a Smashburger in cities that often get overlooked for development by other restaurant chains, creating a pent-up demand for a quality, fast-casual burger experience. Smashburger looks forward to meeting that demand."

About Smashburger

Headquartered in Denver, Colo., Smashburger is an innovative fast-casual restaurant concept featuring "the best burgers you ever tasted." Developed and owned by private equity and concept development firm Consumer Capital Partners, Smashburger intends to expand to 10-12 restaurants by the end of 2008 and another 30-60 corporate stores in 2009 on its way to becoming the national better burger leader. There are currently seven restaurants located in the Colorado area. If you crave a better burger, keep watching for Smashburger -- coming to your community soon!

About Consumer Capital Partners

Headquartered in Denver, Colo., Consumer Capital Partners is an innovative private investment, concept development and strategic advisory firm focused on multi-unit retail businesses, primarily in the restaurant, liquor, food and leisure industries. Consumer Capital Partners has deep experience in the fields of private equity, brand, concept and product development, and strategic consulting.


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