Denver & Phoenix--(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 fourth franchisee and "Founders Club" member, SunWest Burgers LLC. This latest franchise agreement brings the total number of Smashburger franchise locations to 135, as well as a 10-store joint venture, announced October 2008. The "Founders Club" designation has been reserved for the first five large franchisees to join the Smashburger team.
A subsidiary of Phoenix-based SunWest Restaurant Concepts, SunWest Burgers LLC's principals -- David Doty, Chuck Riske and Robin Yoshimura -- collectively bring over 40 years of restaurant industry experience to Smashburger. Doty, Riske and Yoshimura also own and operate six Jerry's Restaurants and six Black Bear Diners in Arizona and are involved in over 30 other restaurants in six western states. As Smashburger's fourth "Founders Club" member, SunWest will provide valuable field insight on Smashburger's brand and menu development as well as operations and real estate.
"The response to Smashburger has been tremendous, which has allowed us to be very selective as we continue to seek only the best and brightest franchise partners around the country," said David Prokupek, Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer of Consumer Capital Partners. "We know that Smashburger has the potential to become the top 'better burger' concept nationally in a very short amount of time, and we are honored that David, Robin and Chuck not only share that vision but will also provide their guidance and input to help us achieve that goal in Phoenix and around the country."
SunWest hopes to have its first Phoenix location in operation no later than April 2009 and all 30 of its stores in Maricopa County opened over the next six years. The new locations in Phoenix will complement Smashburger's current corporate footprint of ten stores in Denver, Wichita and Houston, as well as 115 locations under development in Texas, Kansas, New Jersey, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado and South Dakota.
"We are very optimistic about the fast-casual segment and when the opportunity was presented to join Smashburger in the early phase of its development, we knew we had found the logical next step in SunWest's growth strategy," said David Doty, CEO of SunWest Restaurant Concepts. "We were initially drawn to Smashburger due to the extensive talent pool behind the concept and as we did our due diligence, we developed a deep respect not only for the Smashburger team but also the operational elements they had engineered into the concept. We are honored to be a part of the Founders Club and we look forward to lending our own operational excellence to the Smashburger brand while bringing to Phoenix the best burgers our city has ever tasted."
"SunWest has a deep commitment to Phoenix and a long history of well-executed concepts in that market," said Scott Crane, President of Smashburger. "Their current restaurant holdings, as well as their collective industry experience, puts Dave, Robin and Chuck in an elite category of franchise operators -- the exact category we are targeting to help Smashburger execute its national growth strategy. We look forward to welcoming SunWest to the Smashburger team and we are eager to begin what we know will be a successful and long-term partnership."
Headquartered in Denver, Colo., Smashburger has a singular focus -- to become the national leader in the "better burger" category, which is the fastest-growing segment of the $100B burger market. The plan to reach that goal is simple -- offer the best burger you've ever tasted and become every city's favorite burger place. Developed and owned by private equity and concept development firm Consumer Capital Partners, Smashburger will expand to 30 to 60 locations by the end of 2009 and ultimately grow to 500 locations in 30 markets. There are currently ten restaurants across the Denver area, Wichita and Houston, with an additional 145 franchise and joint venture locations under development in Texas, Arizona, Kansas, New Jersey, South Dakota, New Mexico and Colorado. If you crave a better burger, keep watching for Smashburger –- coming to your community soon.
SunWest Restaurant Concepts, Inc. is a restaurant concept management company originally founded in 1962 in Yreka, California by the Goucher family. Originally a Sambo's Franchisee, the Goucher family decided to create and operate their own concept, Jerry's Restaurant. At its peak, the Jerry's chain had over 40 units located in Oregon, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and Oklahoma. In 1986, the Gouchers sold the company, which was then known as Jerry's, to a partnership of Edward Doty and Charles Davis. Charles Davis operated the company until 1994 at which time he was bought out by the Doty family, lead by Edward's son, David Doty. The company is now fully owned by the Doty family with David acting as C.E.O.
Currently, the company operates six Jerry's Restaurants and seven Black Bear Diners in Arizona, Nevada and Oklahoma. The Jerry's Restaurants are locations that remain from the original chain of Jerry's started by the Goucher Family. The Black Bear Diner is a relatively new concept started in Mt. Shasta, California in 1995. SunWest has a master license agreement with the founders of Black Bear Diner and this has been SunWest's main growth vehicle over the past seven years. All of the Black Bears have been conversions of existing Jerry's locations.
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.