A Denver-based restaurant chain specializing in burgers has found two franchise partners for restaurants in Kuwait, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, with the first locations expected to open over the next year, the company said Wednesday.
The locations are Smashburger's first expansion outside the U.S.
Smashburger said it was working with the Bahrain-based commercial development firm Georgetown Advisors to open six Smashburger locations in Kuwait and three in Bahrain, most likely in malls and entertainment centers.
It was partnering with the Al Musbah Group to open eight airport locations in Saudi Arabia. The Al Musbah Group also operates stores for other brands, including Cinnabon.
Smashburger chief executive, Dave Prokupek, said Kuwait, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia provide markets with strong appetites for restaurant concepts successful in the United States.
The chain tailors its menus to local markets to offer burgers, shakes and side items.
Prokupek expected the overseas menus might be altered for cultural or religious reasons, but the overall color scheme, look and ambience of the restaurants would keep with Smashburger's brand.
The privately-held Smashburger, which has 118 U.S. stores, has been growing by opening a mix of corporate, joint venture and franchise locations in high-traffic areas where people work and live.
The company also was looking to open locations in Canada and the United Kingdom. It still hoped to expand nationwide and was in discussions to possibly expand in western Europe, Asia and Latin America, Prokupek said.