Smashburger has signed a franchise agreement for five restaurants in Panama, the fast-casual chain said Monday.
The Denver-based better-burger concept said it has signed an agreement with franchisee Diqueos Tagaropulos and his company Inversiones Platinum Brands S.A., which plans to build five Smashburger restaurants in the Republic of Panama over the next six years. The first unit is scheduled to open in 2014 in Panama City.
“We are pleased with the progress of Smashburger’s international expansion, with Panama representing our fifth international country, and are fortunate to work with leading franchise partners to develop and grow our global presence,” said Dave Prokupek, Smashburger’s chair and chief executive, in a statement.
“We are dedicated to continue growing our better-burger concept all over the world and expanding through new partnerships including Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, as well as Central America, South America, the U.K. and Asia,” he added.
Inversiones also operates five Wing Zone restaurants in Panama.
The Smashburger agreement was signed in partnership with QSR International LDC, a master franchise operator in the region, which is led by Richard Eisenberg, former general manager and executive director of Yum! Brands Inc.’s Central America, Caribbean and Northern Latin America divisions.
In December, QSR International opened Smashburger’s first restaurant in Costa Rica, the first of 18 units planned throughout Latin America. Three more Costa Rica locations are scheduled to open this year in Moravia, San Jose and Juan Santamaría International airport.
In addition to Smashburger, QSR International owns and serves as a master franchise operator for Quiznos and Teriyaki Experience in the region. It is also a franchisee of 30 KFC units.
Smashburger has been growing internationally in recent years, and currently operates restaurants in Canada, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
In the United States, Smashburger operates or franchises more than 200 restaurants in 29 states. Smashburger was founded in 2007 by Quiznos co-founder Rick Schaden. The burger chain is owned by Schaden’s private-equity firm Consumer Capital Partners, which sold Quiznos last year.
Consumer Capital Partners is also expanding the full-service Tom’s Urban 24 concept, and is soon expected to launch a fast-casual pizza concept called Honest Pizza.