Denver’s Smashburger aims to raise stature in “better burger” segment

By  Steve Raabe The Denver Post

Posted:   02/04/2014 06:52:56 PM MST
New Smashburger CEO Scott Crane on Tuesday displays some of the food available at Smashburger’s first location, 1120 S. Colorado Blvd. in Glendale.

Running one of the nation’s fastest-growing hamburger chains may seem like  easy money. Open outlets, sell burgers, rake in cash.

But for Smashburger’s new CEO, Scott Crane, how do you top seven  consecutive years of double-digit growth?

By making sure that it becomes eight consecutive years, then going from  there. Crane’s plan is to stick to the template that has made Denver-based  Smashburger one of the nation’s fastest-growing players in the  restaurant segment defined as fast-casual, better-burger.

Category leader Five Guys Burgers and Fries has about five times as many  outlets as Smashburger’s 256, but Virginia-based Five Guys has been in business  21 years longer.

Crane, 40, took the reins in November after the departure of CEO David  Prokupek. Crane, however, is no newcomer. He has served as Smashburger’s  president since the company opened its first location on South Colorado  Boulevard at Mississippi Avenue in 2007.


Smashburger honors top operators and franchisees

Smashburger has announced the recipients of its annual awards, including Franchisee of The Year, which were presented to seven franchise groups and corporate leaders at the company’s 2013 Conference held in Laguna Beach, Calif., last week.

“We have great appreciation for the hard work of dedicated people across our organization that continues to propel Smashburger’s growth and positively impact the hospitality experience we serve our guests every day,” said Dave Prokupek, chairman and CEO of Smashburger. “Much of our company’s success is due in part to the outstanding leadership displayed by this year’s awards recipients — franchise and corporate partners who not only represent the ‘best of the best’ in operating and motivating restaurant teams, but embodying true passion for our brand at the highest level.”

This year’s top awards recipients include:

  • Franchisee of the Year: Smashburger’s partners Rich Greenstein, Howard Novick and Ronnie Portnoy of Smash Enterprises are this year’s recipient of the Franchisee of the Year Award. Smash Enterprises currently operates two Smashburger locations in Westchester County, N.Y., and has plans for seven additional restaurant openings in the greater area including Queens County, N.Y., and Fairfield County, Conn., between now and 2014.


  • Operator of the Year: Smashburger’s partners Irwin & Dona Kruger of ISK Enterprises in Long Island, N.Y., are this year’s Operator of the Year Award. They currently operate three Smashburger locations in the Long Island area and have plans to open three additional restaurants next year.


  • Rookie of the Year: SB Philly rookies Dan O’Shaughnessy, Sean Leonard, Kevin Murphy, Vernon Hill, Dan Hill and Gene Giordano are Smashburger’s Rookie of the Year Award. SB Philly currently operates two locations in the greater Philadelphia area and has plans to open four additional restaurants next year.


  • Founder’s Award: Smashburger Director of Franchise Operations Rod Boyer received this year’s Founder’s Award. This award recognizes the corporate or franchise leader that “demonstrates the principles and values of the Smashburger brand while delivering results, demonstrating commitment to the brand and focusing unwaveringly on success.”


  • Franchise Support Person of the Year: Smashburger Director of Operational Analytics Elliot Schiffer was honored with the Franchise Support Person of The Year Award. This award is voted by the franchise community.


  • Corporate Leadership Circle: Smashburger’s Brian Beers, Kevin McCarthy, Angela Sanders, Aaron Johnson, Eric Marcoux and Maria Fernandez are recipients of Smashburger’s inaugural Corporate Leadership Circle award. This award recognizes team leaders across the corporate and franchise system that “embody Smashburger’s core brand values highlighting people, passion and purpose.”

Private Company Too Popular For Investors To Ignore

By Lee Brodie | Producer                       

Smashburger CEO: We’re stealing share from McDonald’s

Privately held “fast casual better burger” chain Smashburger is growing rapidly. Its CEO Dave Prokupek says his business is “the fastest growing company in the restaurant space” he knows of.

In an effort to make more money in the stock market, Cramer says it’s necessary to talk with all kinds of companies – even those that are not publicly traded?


“If you’re going to get your head around the most cutting edge trends, you sometimes need to go off the tape and listen to what’s happening at important, privately-held companies,” Cramer explained.

And the Mad Money host thinksSmashburger is one of those companies. People love their food.

The fast casual better burger chain with more than 220 locations in 29 states and four foreign countries is growing by leaps and bounds with lines sometimes out the door.

“The growth that we experienced in 2012 has continued into 2013 as we see a growing demand for a premium dining experience that emphasizes fresh ingredients and innovative recipes,” commented Dave Prokupek, chairman and CEO of Smashburger.

The company has posted a whopping 3 year sales growth of 254%.

“This company is all about making healthier hamburgers,” Cramer explained. “Smashburger is at the forefront of better eating.”

And their blockbuster success would seem to confirm a trend that Cramer has advocated for quite some time. That is, people are seeking out higher quality foods and they’re willing to pay a little more for them.

Although individual investors can’t buy Smashburger stock, there are publicly traded companies that also leverage the trend. In the past Cramer has cited Whole FoodsHainand White Wave as among

Colorado floods: Smashburger offers first responders free meals

Smashburger, the popular burger chain with locations around Colorado, is offering first responders free meals at all its Colorado locations. The offer, good through Wednesday, is in gratitude for the workers’ efforts during the the devastating floods of the past few days.

It’s a simple arrangement: If you’re a first responder, show up at participating Smashburger locations, show your agency ID, and you get a free entree, side and beverage.

“The flooding that started on Thursday in Boulder County is a terrible situation,” Smashburger CEO Dave Prokupek said in a press release. “Colorado is Smashburger’s home, so we want to show our thanks for the efforts of our extraordinary first responders by offering them free food and a place to take a break and charge their cell phones and other mobile devices. These are our heroes, and we appreciate their hard work during this very difficult time.”

Participating Smashburger locations include Aurora, Boulder, Denver, Englewood, Federal Heights, Fort Collins, Glendale, Greenwood Village, Highlands Ranch, Lafayette, Littleton, Lone Tree, Longmont, Loveland, Northglenn and Wheat Ridge. Smashburger hours are 10 a.m.-10 p.m.