Burger 21 Announces Grand Opening of First Fort Myers, Fla. Restaurant - Award-Winning Fast Casual Chain Signs Additional Agreement in Sarasota -

TAMPA, Fla., Dec. 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Burger 21®, a new better burger franchise founded by the owners of The Melting Pot® Restaurants, Inc., has announced the grand opening of its first restaurant in the Fort Myers, Fla. market, located in the Gulf Coast Town Center at 9902 Gulf Coast Main Street, D150. Furthering its expansion in Southwest Florida, the brand also has signed its second franchise agreement for the Sarasota market. Currently, Burger 21 has 10 restaurants open and 18 franchised locations in development across the U.S.

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"We're extremely happy to continue our expansion in Florida and build a presence for the brand in new parts of the state," said Mark Johnston, Burger 21 president and chief concept officer and president of Front Burner Brands, management company for Burger 21. "We plan to continue developing in additional Florida markets and look forward to working closely with our new franchisees to help them realize the benefits of growing with Burger 21."

Locally owned and operated by Sulei Hessami, Burger 21 Fort Myers features 21 unique, chef-inspired burger creations, hand-crafted signature shakes, gourmet hot dogs and specialty salads served in a contemporary-style diner atmosphere with fast, high-touch service.

"My team and I are excited to bring Burger 21's "beyond the better burger" experience to Fort Myers," said Hessami. "With consumer demand for fast-casual experiences on the rise, we are confident that Burger 21 and its extensive menu will fit perfectly in the Gulf Coast Town Center and neighboring communities."

In addition, Melting Pot franchisees and long-time friends, Barry Berkowitz and Brian Marshall, have signed an agreement to develop a second Burger 21 location in Sarasota, Fla. Berkowitz and Marshall's first unit inked in early 2013 for the Sarasota market is expected to open in 2014. This agreement brings the number of new units signed this year to 14.

Burger 21 began franchising in fall 2011 and launched an aggressive growth initiative to bring its crafted burger creations and signature shakes to more cities across the country. Since that launch two years ago, the brand has signed franchise agreements with 13 different entities in nine states to develop a total of 24 franchised restaurants. As an affiliate of Front Burner Brands and sister concept of The Melting Pot Restaurants, Burger 21 benefits from an established distribution network that has allowed it to expand rapidly across the country with locations now open or in development in the Northeast, Southeast, and most recently, the Southwest. 

The company credits brand differentiation and menu diversity largely for its success. In addition to 10 unique crafted Certified Angus Beef® burgers, Burger 21 offers 10 non-beef burgers, including the Black Bean Burger, the Ahi Tuna burger and the Chicken Marsala burger, as well as one rotating burger of the month. Approximately, 40 percent of burgers ordered at Burger 21 are non-beef burger alternatives and 60 percent of burgers sold are beef. Burger 21 also focuses on providing premium ingredients like toasted brioche buns, pickled cucumbers, applewood-smoked bacon and sweet potato fries with toasted marshmallow sauce. 

Burger 21 recently was named one of Fast Casual's Top 100 "Movers and Shakers" of 2013. The concept ranked No. 22 based on its variety of innovative recipes and recent expansion. In addition, the franchise's gluten-free menu received the No. 1 ranking in the "Top 10 Menu Innovations" category and Mark Johnston was recognized as one of the "Top 20 People" for his strategic leadership in the growth and development of the brand.

Burger 21 has developed a unique culture in its restaurants that includes a strong commitment to the communities it serves. Since its inception in fall 2010, the company has provided over $50,000 in contributions as part of its "B Charitable" initiative, in which it donates 10 percent of its restaurants' sales to local schools and charities on the 21st of each month.

To further expand its presence, Burger 21 is actively seeking qualified franchisees throughout the U.S. and will host a live webinar on Jan. 15 at 2 p.m. EST. To register, or to learn more about franchising opportunities with Burger 21, please visit www.burger21franchise.com/events.aspx.

Burger 21 is seeking single- and multi-unit operators with restaurant experience to join its upscale fast-casual dining concept. Franchisee candidates should have a minimum net worth of $500,000 and liquid assets of at least $200,000 per unit. Burger 21 will be developed through both single-unit agreements and Area Development Agreements. Depending on the real estate site selected, franchisees can expect the total initial investment for one restaurant to be approximately $414,495$832,495. The initial franchise fee is $40,000; however, reduced franchise fees apply for Area Development Agreements of four or more units. 

About Burger 21
With 10 locations open in Tampa Bay, Fla., Orlando, Fla., Fort Myers, Fla., Voorhees, N.J., Atlanta, Ga., and Charlotte, N.C., and 18 in development in seven states, Burger 21 is a "beyond the better burger" fast-casual franchise concept founded in 2010. Burger 21 is a chef-inspired brand with offerings including 21 unique burger creations ranging from hand-crafted, freshly ground Certified Angus Beef® to chicken, turkey, vegetarian, shrimp and tuna burgers, specialty salads, all-beef hot dogs, hand-breaded chicken tenders and an extensive shake bar including hand-crafted shakes, floats and sundaes. Burger 21 is an affiliate of Front Burner Brands, a restaurant management company headquartered in Tampa, Fla. For more information, visit http://www.burger21.com.

About Front Burner Brands
Front Burner Brands (formerly known as TGS Restaurant Management) is a restaurant management company headquartered in Tampa, Fla. It is affiliated with the corporate owners of and its management services extended to The Melting Pot Restaurants, Inc., founded in 1975 with more than 135 locations in North America and more than 25 locations currently in development, Burger 21 with 10 locations open in Tampa Bay, Fla., Orlando, Fla., Fort Myers, Fla., Voorhees, N.J., Atlanta, Ga., and Charlotte, N.C., and 18 in development in seven states, GrillSmith with six locations in the Tampa Bay area. For more information, visit http://www.frontburnerbrands.com.

CONTACT:
Ellie Mannix
Fish Consulting
(954) 893-9150
emannix@fish-consulting.com

SOURCE Burger 21



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