Word of Mouth

Smashburger makes Inc.'s list of ten most promising franchises in 2011

Things have gone, uh, smashingly for Denver-based Smashburger since it first opened on Colorado Boulevard back in 2007, serving American classics that have won over many burger-hungry diners.

The chain has readily expanded since then, opening close to one hundred additional outposts from sea to shining sea. It's about to get another boost: Inc. just named it one of the ten most promising franchises of 2011.

Specifically, the publication commends the company's plans to aggressively expand its "better burger" business and double in size over the next year. The majority of the new restaurants will be in the Northeast, where Smashburger will open twenty locations in the coming months.

It's not all good news for Colorado-based fast-casual joints, though. Inc. also looked at the worst franchises in the country and came up with a Denver-based enterprise in that list, too: Quizno's, where 25 percent of franchisees get toasted.

In other words: If you're thinking about investing, better go with the burger.

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Laura Shunk was Westword's restaurant critic from 2010 to 2012; she's also been food editor at the Village Voice and a dining columnist in Beijing. Her toughest assignment had her drinking ten martinis and eating ten Caesar salads over the course of 48 hours. She still drinks martinis, but remains lukewarm on Caesar salads.
Contact: Laura Shunk