Smashburger, the rapidly expanding better burger restaurant concept, and QSR International LDC, a leading multi-brand quick service restaurant developer, today announced a new partnership agreement with Diqueos Tagaropulos and his company, Inversiones Platinum Brands S.A., to build five new Smashburger restaurants in the Republic of Panama over the next six years. This agreement will continue the market growth for Smashburger in Central America and represents the second territory in the region, with locations in Costa Rica in Moravia, San Jose and the Juan Santamaria International Airport scheduled to open this spring.
Inversiones Platinum Brands S.A. currently operates Wing Zone, a U.S. based chicken wing fast-casual restaurant chain. Inversiones Platinum Brands opened Wing Zone’s first international location in Panama in 2010 and now operates five restaurant locations in the region. Smashburger is the second restaurant concept for the company.
“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,” commented Dave Prokupek, Chairman and CEO of Smashburger. “It is an honor to welcome Inversiones Platinum Brands to the Smashburger family and to help them build the leading better burger brand in Central America.”
Richard Eisenberg, President of QSR International stated: “As we continue to execute upon our expansion plans for the Central and South American region, we are excited for the opportunity to partner with Inversiones Platinum Brands and look forward to recruiting other well qualified restaurateurs to our franchise system as we continue to build a strong, passionate following for our leading better burger brand around the world.”
Diqueos Tagaropulos, President of Inversiones Platinum Brands S.A. added: “We are proud to be selected by Smashburger and QSR International to be the exclusive developer for the brand in Panama. We are excited to replicate the success of the Smashburger brand model, which has set a new standard for fast casual restaurants across the globe.”
As Smashburger continues expanding throughout the United States and internationally, Panama marks the latest international country for the young brand. The first Panama location is expected to open in 2014. Recognizing there is still significant opportunity and global demand for its burgers, Prokupek adds “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.”
Smashburger is America’s fastest growing, fast casual “better burger” restaurant with more than 200 corporate and franchise restaurants operating in 29 states and in four international countries. The company began in 2007 with the vision of Rick Schaden and funding by Consumer Capital Partners—the private equity firm that he and his father Richard own. By offering fresh, premium “smashed to order” burgers, chicken sandwiches, salads, signature side items and hand-spun Haagen-Dazs shakes, Smashburger has modernized the way people think about burgers. Known for localizing its menu in every market with regionally inspired burgers and side items and offering local craft beers, Smashburger has received numerous awards including topping Fast Casual’s 2012 Top Mover & Shakers list, America’s Most Promising Company by Forbes magazine, INC. 500’s List of America’s Fastest Growing Companies, INC’s #9 Hire Power Award winner, and is regularly voted “best burger’ in cities all around the world. To learn more, visit www.smashburger.com.
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QSR International is a 141-unit multi-brand Master Franchise quick service restaurant developer currently conducting business in 15 countries throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. In this region, QSR owns and operates the Master Franchise for Quiznos Sub, Smashburger, and Teriyaki Experience where they currently have 110 units of these brands operating.
Through a subsidiary, QSR International recently won bids to operate food concessions on the air-sides of both international airports within Costa Rica and acquired development rights to open Cinnabon bakery shops. Plus, QSR owns and operates a Centenario Rum Bar & Café in the busiest Costa Rica airport.
In addition, and within Costa Rica, QSR International also owns, licenses, and operates 30 KFC’s, 18 Quiznos, one Smashburger, and five Teriyaki Experience restaurants. Plus, Costa Rica is where QSR International bases a 10,000-square-foot restaurant support center employing over 110 persons.
Finally, QSR International, through wholly owned subsidiaries, operates several companies including a restaurant supply chain store, an industrial bakery, and a real estate investment company. To learn more about QSR, please visit www.qsr.co.