BurgerFi is the world’s fastest growing all-natural burger franchise. Standing behind their “all-natural tastes better” philosophy, BurgerFi uses grass-fed, free-range, fresh Angus beef.
Their philosophy is one of environmental sustainability that guides every decision they make — from each store’s construction materials (upcycled materials) to their all-natural grass-fed beef (containing no chemicals or additives).
BurgerFi has been delighting customers at each of their locations for years and it’s now making headway by expanding rapidly in their “Burgerfication of the Nation,” preparing to open 150 stores nationwide (and adding to that number every month).
Nick King is BurgerFi’s Managing Director.
Franchise Chatter (FC): Can you tell us how BurgerFi got its start? What are some of the key milestones in your company’s history thus far?
Nick King (NK): In 2010, restauranteur and BurgerFi co-founding partner John Rosatti saw that one of the best-selling menu items at several of his full-service restaurants was their famed all-natural burgers. With that realization into what his customers craved most, Rosatti wanted
to provide the public with a faster and more casual way to get their hands on these delicious, all-natural burgers.
In addition to just the best burgers in town, however, Rosatti also added menu items like a Kobe beef hot dog, gourmet toppings, fresh cut fries,
frozen “concrete” custard, as well as craft beer and wine — all of it served in a restaurant that was built with environmentally sustainable practices, and even used recycled furniture.
So, along with BurgerFi co-founder Lee Goldberg, the duo set out to build BurgerFi into the national franchise that it is today. Starting with just two South Florida locations, BurgerFi has become the fastest growing all-natural burger franchise in the marketplace, and is currently poised to open 150 stores across the nation.
FC: What sets BurgerFi apart from all the other “better burger” franchises out there?
NK: BurgerFi picks up where the other “better burger” franchises leave off. First, BurgerFi focuses on all-natural, grass-fed beef. We do this
because it tastes better, and it’s better for you — with no chemicals and no additives. Also, where others limit their menu to just the basic, no-frills options, BurgerFi has built a menu with specialty items like Kobe beef hot dogs, gourmet toppings, delectable desserts, craft beer and wine, and an overall focus on a healthier menu selection.
More than just great food, dining at BurgerFi is a unique experience — one you can feel good about. Each BurgerFi store is built according
to environmentally sustainable best practices, and includes earth-friendly elements like chairs that are made from recycled Coke bottles, tables made out of compressed recycled wood, and large fans that use 66% less electricity. BurgerFi maintains a low carbon footprint and maintains a strict recycling program for oil, cardboard, bottles, and cans.
For these reasons and more, BurgerFi has been called the very “heart” of the better burger movement.
FC: How many locations do you currently have open? How many restaurants do you have under contract to open? To what do you attribute the rapid growth of your franchise sales?
NK: Currently, BurgerFi has 4 locations open: Fort Lauderdale, Lauderdale by the Sea, Delray Beach, and Coral Springs. Additionally, we have over 100 new locations under contract to open across the nation.
BurgerFi’s rapid growth is due in large part to our unique restaurant concept, delicious food, and of course, by the unprecedented success of the first two locations.
FC: Can you tell us about the unique elements of BurgerFi’s restaurant design, furniture, and fixtures? What are you doing to ensure that your buildout costs stay within a reasonable range?
NK: One of BurgerFi’s driving forces is our commitment to environmental sustainability. This commitment extends into the construction
of our stores, certain aspects of our decor, and even into our furniture. BurgerFi uses recycled materials such as chairs made from Coke bottles, and tables made from compressed recycled wood. Custom decor such as polished metal “meat-hook” lights, yellow-pine and perforated metal wall panels, Big Ass brand ceiling fans, and multiple 50”+ LED screens as menus, all set BurgerFi apart when it comes to the dining experience.
To ensure build out costs stay within a reasonable range, BurgerFi has an in-house General Contractor Consultant, who is made available to all franchise owners as they make plans to open. By providing an experienced consultant who understands the building process, BurgerFi makes the process of opening your store as cost-effective as possible.
FC: What is your strategy for sourcing the ingredients and supplies needed to run a BurgerFi restaurant? What are you doing to help keep these costs down for your franchisees?
NK: We source only the highest quality ingredients for our food, and rely on the most proven equipment. At the corporate level, we constantly negotiate and re-negotiate the best possible prices on all of our ingredients to ensure the best possible price and consistency of price across the nation. Regarding equipment, the BurgerFi team thoroughly tests everything for quality, availability, cost, durability, cost of repair, and ease of use.
FC: What is your strategy for getting the word out about your brand to your target customers and prospective franchisees?
NK: BurgerFi’s strategy for getting our message out to the world is less about mass-marketing and promotional gimmicks, and more about
truly giving customers and franchise owners experiences worth talking about.
For the customer, that means providing them with the best-tasting burgers, hot dogs, and desserts they’ve ever eaten, not to mention a great selection of craft beer and wine — all in an environment that they can feel good about, because it’s both beautifully decorated and built with environmental sustainability in mind.
For the franchise owner, BurgerFi focuses on providing all of the tools, resources, and support that they need to be successful in growing their business, including a world-class training program, and a mobile business management system that allows BurgerFi franchise owners to monitor and manage their business from anywhere in the world.
By focusing on delivering exceptional experiences in each of these areas, BurgerFi’s customers and franchise owners alike have something worth talking about to their colleagues, families, and friends — and that’s BurgerFi’s primary strategy for getting the message out about the “Burgerfication of the Nation.”
Beyond just positive word of mouth, however, BurgerFi corporate has launched a major national advertising campaign in print, outdoor,
web, and soon, broadcast — both radio and TV. BurgerFi also takes part in the major annual tradeshows such as the ICSC and IFE.
FC: Can you identify the top 3 factors that contribute the most to the success of a “better burger” restaurant?
3. Perceived value by the guest.
FC: What can you tell us about the estimated initial investment, royalty fees, and profit potential for a franchised BurgerFi restaurant?
NK: As stated in BurgerFi’s Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD), the estimated initial investment ranges from $380,000 to $680,000,
depending on several factors. BurgerFi collects 5.5% in royalties. An additional 1% goes into the National Brand Building budget.
FC: Can you name a few franchises (inside or outside your category) that you admire, and why?
NK: The BurgerFi team admires many of the aspects of the Chipotle brand — mostly for their quality, consistency, and the value provided to
FC: What are your growth targets for 2012 and beyond? How do you plan to scale the business to achieve your targets?
NK: BurgerFi’s goals are for 25 restaurants to be open in 2012, 75 stores open in 2013, 100 more in 2014, and ultimately 500+ open by 2017. International development will begin in 2013.