Veteran Restaurant Trio Heats Up Better Burger Battle with ‘Next Generation’ Franchise

The better burger segment has its first serious contender – a true force to be reckoned with in the $68 billion burger segment. Led by a trio of industry veterans with decades of five-star restaurant experience, BurgerFi, a sustainable, fast-casual concept focusing on gourmet, all-natural Angus beef burgers in a hip, urban setting, has more than 100 signed deals secured in its first year of franchising alone and continues to attract high-level, business savvy investors looking to open single or multiple units around the country.

“We set out to lead the ‘BurgerFication of the Nation’ by changing how people think about burgers,” said Dave Manero, BurgerFi’s Chief Concept Officer and co-founder. “Every time a BurgerFi opens, the community embraces the brand. There’s a huge buzz. From the high-quality food to the upbeat atmosphere to the sustainable model, wherever we open, people love everything about us,” noted Manero, owner of David Manero Restaurants and Vic & Angelo’s, as well as a former development manager for Wolfgang Puck and owner of numerous restaurants in his native Connecticut.

Veteran Restaurant Trio Heats Up Better Burger Battle with 'Next Generation' FranchiseBurgerFi is clearly differentiating itself in the marketplace with a distinctive menu of flavorful gourmet burgers made from Angus beef that is certified all-natural and Humane, 100 percent grass-fed beef hot dogs with no nitrates, fresh-cut potato fries, hand cut onion rings, house-made frozen custard with no preservatives, sundaes, shakes and crafted beers and wines.

“The segment has yet to see a serious player with the depth of executive experience, the sustainability and added sophistication to burgers and fries, and the attention to detail from top to bottom,” Manero added. “BurgerFi is all natural, it’s “farm-to-tray”, and it’s sustainable. These ingredients, put together are the sustainable growth model for the future.”

Created by veteran restaurant industry experts David Manero, John Rosatti and Lee Goldberg, the idea for BurgerFi came after the success and acclaim generated from Manero’s Delray Beach restaurant, The Office and its top selling and most talked about all Natural Angus “CEO Burger”. BurgerFi currently operates three locations in Florida with plans to open 24 more in California, Texas, Ohio, and Connecticut by the end of 2012. Typical development costs range from $300,000 to $550,000 and the average unit sales volume is more than $2 million. Each BurgerFi location runs about 2,000 to 3,000 square feet, employs between 15 and 27 people.

“We go to great lengths to find the highest quality natural and organic locally sourced ingredients finding more natural and creative ways to create real flavor, including all natural, no anti-biotic food, and we don’t use high fructose corn syrup, said BurgerFi co-founder Rosatti. “We are also built with sustainability at our foundation. We’re proud of the fact that we use FSC certified lumber, LED lighting, low VOC paint, and Energy Star appliances,” said Rosatti, adding that each location also uses aluminum trays and cups made of recycled corn.

Additional menu items include onion rings, nitrate-free hot dogs, and house-made frozen custard with no preservatives. BurgerFi uses ingredients that are naturally grown, humane certified, source and age verified, vegetarian fed with no antibiotics or hormones that come from sustainable humane certified ranches. In addition, BurgerFi serves craft beers and wines which are burger-centric that complement the savory flavors of the BurgerFi burgers and over 20 toppings.

“The green movement is becoming mainstream and people are realizing that a healthy, natural meal doesn’t have to be boring, and it doesn’t have to dent the wallet,” co-founder Goldberg said. “Unlike other burger brands that were built from the bottom up with guys from fast-food chains, this one was built from the top down by people with a lifetime of fine dining restaurant experience who go to great lengths to choose only the highest quality, best tasting ingredients. Once people try us, they don’t have a desire to eat a burger anywhere else.”

BurgerFi was co-founded in 2010 by renowned restaurateur David Manero along with co-managing members John Rosatti and Lee Goldberg. Manero, BurgerFi’s Chief Concept Officer, has deep roots in the restaurant industry founding David Manero Restaurants in 1999. He created the well known and successful Vic & Angelo’s restaurants as well as The Office Delray Beach, originator of the “CEO Burger”. BurgerFi Chairman John Rosatti, a New York native and serial entrepreneur, has achieved a number of successes throughout his career including Plaza Auto Mall, Millennium Super Yachts and most recently BurgerFi. Lee Goldberg, General Counsel for BurgerFi, specializes in national and international transactional law in the restaurant and entertainment industries. He has a long success track as a former Wendy’s and Popeye’s Famous Fried Chicken franchisee. Rated by his peers as one of America’s leading attorneys, Mr. Goldberg has assumed an active role as a chief executive of BurgerFi.

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