It has been a week of excitement for the award-winning fast-casual chain Burger 21, which just announced the signing of its first New Mexico franchise agreement and opened its first freestanding location with a full bar in Florida.
In New Mexico, the franchise business plans to open a location in Albuquerque, with site selection currently underway. This marks the 12th state for the chain, which now has 22 open restaurants and 20 locations in development across the US. President and Founder Mark Johnston says the company is thrilled to bring Burger 21 into Albuquerque, one of the biggest cities in the state.
The new location is set to open in late 2017 and is owned by Chris Zalesiak, a local entrepreneur. Zalesiak brings more than a decade of food-service experience with her, and she's also an active member of the community. It was the burger chain's menu variety, unique brand culture and commitment to local charities that sealed the deal for the new franchisee. According to Zalesiak, the fast-casual brand donates 10 percent of its sales on the 21st of every month to a local charity.
On the other side of the country in Ocala, Florida, Burger 21 just opened a freestanding location with an outdoor patio and full service bar - the first of its kind for the chain. Johnston spoke about the achievement, saying the chain is excited to unveil the new restaurant and launch the brand's specialty shaketails and cocktails in the Ocala market. This new Florida location has already exceeded expectations, bringing in more than $15,000 in sales on its grand opening day and breaking all previous opening day records.
The 4,300-square-foot Ocala location has the brand's signature interior design with several upgrades, including a full-service bar with craft beer on tap and chef-inspired drinks, such as the Black & Bleu Martini and the Sunshine State. It is nearly twice the size of the burger chain's standard locations and has seating for 160 guests, with 90 team members on staff.
Currently, the rapidly growing "beyond the better burger” brand is offering franchise opportunities throughout the country. To qualify for one of these franchise opportunities, applicants should have a net worth of at least $600,000, with $250,000 in liquid assets available per unit. The franchise fee is $40,000, with discounts available for qualified veterans, minorities and those who agree to open at least four units, and the total investment ranges from $422,083 to $974,395.