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A Sneak Peak at BurgerFi's Massive Growth Plan for 2021!
The Fast Casual Nation podcast offers exclusive interviews with experts ranging from top chefs and brand makers to executives and restaurateurs who work in one of the fastest-growing segments of the restaurant industry. In this episode, host Paul Barron sits down with Julio Ramirez, CEO of BurgerFi. The company's new CEO joined the BurgerFi team in October of 2020 with nearly three decades of experience in various positions at Burger King.
The better-burger chain, who celebrated its 10th birthday on February 5, 2021, is plotting a massive expansion strategy, with plans to add 30-35 new locations this year alone. Since December 1, 2020, BurgerFi has already opened 4 new restaurants, including its first drive-thru in Hamburg, KY and plans for its second in Las Vegas, NV.
“We need to be prepared and adjust and always be listening to our guests. One of the things we use our loyalty program for is to really understand what issues folks have and how they want to be served,” says Ramirez. “We are still a relatively small chain, we have great franchisees, and are a very nimble company, so we like to move quickly to respond to the market.”
Through expanding ghost kitchen operations and the gourmet burger brand’s first drive-thru, it has been a tremendous year of growth for BurgerFi as it has just gone public (BFI). The 125-unit chain credited significant increases in delivery and app sales for the 121% YOY jump.
Ramirez adds, “In March, as the pandemic was starting, about 28% of our business was online and now we are upwards of 65%, so what that means is that our guests are looking to order in a new way.”
Fast-casual has been one of the only sectors that has been able to sustain growth and see positive momentum through this economic downturn.
“We just need to be the chain that adapts and picks the best thing for our guests to handle the total needs that exist out there.”
“For the great hand-crafted food—people will wait 5-7 minutes.” -Julio Ramirez, CEO BurgerFi
“Your wallet is what it is. It only holds so many dollars—and we’re trying to get more guests coming here, not the other way around, so our focus is really on value.” -Julio Ramirez, CEO BurgerFi
“Integration of a QSR mindset into a fast casual reality is a very tough thing to do.” -Paul Barron
“Our chef, Paul Griffin, has been with the brand since the beginning (2011) and I always compare him to the guy in the 007 movies with all the secret weapons!” -Julio Ramirez, CEO BurgerFi
Catch the full episode for all the juicy details!
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