City Beat: Houston Business Journal

News from the food and drink front

A newcomer to the parade of quick-service hamburger restaurant chains plans on opening 30 locations in the Houston market over the next three years.

Colorado-based Smashburger will open at Kirby and Main Street on Dec. 23, with a second location to follow in late January at Briarforest and Eldridge.

The company is also currently scouting sites in The Woodlands, Sugar Land and the Memorial area.

Founder Tom Ryan says the company generally looks to locate restaurants in high-density residential areas with heavy day traffic.

He says the existing seven restaurants in the chain’s home state of Colorado tend to get customers who already eat at quick-service restaurants, but are looking for a new and better options.

“We also get what we call wanderers,” he says. “These are people who left the burger category years ago, but now they come back to try something new.”

The average ticket per person at Smashburger is $8.24 and Ryan estimates that each diner spends about 22 minutes at the restaurant.

He says he chose Houston as an expansion city because of its large population and for the city’s reputation as a restaurant-friendly city.

“Houstonians love to eat out and they also love to try out new restaurants, so with our product, we think we’ll be a great fit in Houston,” he says. – Allison Wollam