Smashburger Receives 2012 Inc. Hire Power Award

Company Recognized among Top Growing Private Companies Putting America to Work

DENVER - December 5, 2012 - (BUSINESS WIRE) - Smashburger, the rapidly expanding better burger restaurant, today announced it has ranked 9th on the inaugural ranking of Inc.’s Hire Power Awards, recognizing the private businesses that have generated the most jobs in the past three years. Sponsored by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, the Inc. Hire Power Awards celebrate private companies on the forefront of American job creation.

Smashburger is the country’s fastest growing fast casual restaurant concept which has built its reputation on fresh, made-to-order, 100 percent Certified Angus Beef burgers that are “smashed” and seared to lock in juicy flavor. Over the past three years, the company has created 995 jobs and today has 186 restaurant locations globally, with locations in 28 markets in the United States, as well as international locations in Canada, Costa Rica and Kuwait. By the end of 2012 the company will have nearly 200 restaurant locations around the globe. In 2013, Smashburger plans to open 70 to 80 new restaurants and will hire more than 225 employees to support brand growth both at the corporate level and at company-owned restaurants in key domestic and international markets. Smashburger’s franchise partners will collectively add several hundred additional jobs.

“We are honored to be recognized with Inc.’s Hire Power Award and for our role in creating jobs in the restaurant industry,” commented Dave Prokupek, chairman and CEO of Smashburger. “With our focus on expansion, there are many exciting opportunities with our company. And no matter how fast and big we grow, we know at the heart of our great food is our employees. It's their excellent service and understanding of our culture that makes Smashburger so successful."

Inc. is the only major business media brand aimed solely at CEOs of fast-growing private companies. The Hire Power Awards will appear in Inc.’s December/January issue, as well as the brand’s web site, www.inc.com.

“The top 100 companies on the list have created 73,032 American jobs in the three-year period from 2008 to 2011 – an amazing feat, given that much of that job growth came during the heart of the recession,” explains Inc. editor-in-chief Eric Schurenberg. “And it isn’t just the big guys that are adding jobs. Companies with less than $50 million in annual revenue make up nearly one-third of the Hire Power list.”

The inaugural Inc. Hire Power Awards are sponsored by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, which is proud to recognize American companies that have greatly increased their workforces.

About Smashburger

Smashburger is America’s fastest growing, fast casual “better burger” restaurant with global appeal, offering a variety of handcrafted menu items, including regionally inspired burgers and sides, and a ‘create your own’ model that allow guests to customize their experience. Smashburger also offers a wide assortment of chicken sandwiches, a selection of local beverages, craft beer and hand-spun Häagen-Dazs® shakes to provide a unique experience. Developed and owned by private equity firm Consumer Capital Partners (CCP), Smashburger operates and develops both corporate and multi-unit franchise territories across the globe with 186 restaurants across 28 markets in the United States, Canada, Kuwait and Costa Rica. Smashburger recently topped Fast Casual’s 2012 Top Mover & Shakers list, and was named America’s Most Promising Company by Forbes magazine last year. It is the recipient of the International Council of Shopping Centers 2011 Hot Retailer Award and was also named to the Inc. 500 List of America's Fastest Growing Companies the past two years in a row. To learn more, visit www.smashburger.com.

About Inc.

Founded in 1979 and acquired in 2005 by Mansueto Ventures, Inc. is the only major brand dedicated exclusively to owners and managers of growing private companies, with the aim to deliver real solutions for today’s innovative company builders. Total monthly audience reach for the brand has grown significantly from 2,000,000 in 2010 to over 6,000,000 today. For more information, visit www.inc.com.

About Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Bank of America Merrill Lynch is one of the world's largest financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small- and middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving approximately 57 million consumer and small business relationships with approximately 5,700 retail banking offices and approximately 17,250 ATMs and award-winning online banking with 30 million active users. Bank of America Merrill Lynch is among the world's leading wealth management companies and is a global leader in corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of asset classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions and individuals around the world. Bank of America Merrill Lynch offers industry-leading support to approximately 4 million small business owners through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. For more information, visit: http://corp.bankofamerica.com/business/smb.

“Bank of America Merrill Lynch” is the marketing name for the global banking and global markets businesses of Bank of America Corporation. Lending, derivatives, and other commercial banking activities are performed globally by banking affiliates of Bank of America Corporation, including Bank of America, N.A., member FDIC. Securities, strategic advisory, and other investment banking activities are performed globally by investment banking affiliates of Bank of America Corporation (“Investment Banking Affiliates”), including, in the United States, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated and Merrill Lynch Professional Clearing Corp., all of which are registered broker-dealers and members of FINRA and SIPC, and, in other jurisdictions, by locally registered entities. Investment products offered by Investment Banking Affiliates: Are Not FDIC Insured * May Lose Value * Are Not Bank Guaranteed.

Contact:

ICR
Kristina Jorge
646-277-1234
kjorge@icrinc.com

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