Former Smashburger President to Lead BurgerFi as CEO | Franchise News

The new CEO of BurgerFi International calls himself a “foodie at heart,” and says the chef-driven focus of BurgerFi and Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza & Wings is part of what attracted him to the company.

“I wouldn’t come to a brand unless they really cared about food quality, fresh-cooked food,” says Carl Bachmann, who in a move announced May 30 is leaving his post as president of Smashburger to take the chief executive position at BurgerFi International. Bachmann will join the company July 10 and replaces Ian Baines, who is retiring in June but will stay on as an outside consultant for 12 months.

BurgerFi acquired Anthony’s in late 2021, about a year after it went public by merging with blank check company Opes Acquisition Corp. Anthony’s has 60 corporate-owned casual dining restaurants, while fast-casual burger concept BurgerFi has 27 corporate and 85 franchised locations. Last year, the Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based company announced a co-branding effort, which Bachmann says positions it to continue attracting franchisees.  

Related: BurgerFi Operators Add Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza as Brand’s First Franchisees  

Carl Bachmann-BurgerFi CEO

Carl Bachmann will join BurgerFi International in July as CEO after six years at competitor Smashburger.

“We can give them two complementary brands,” says Bachmann, noting he also sees “so much opportunity” to also franchise Anthony’s as a standalone brand. As a former franchisee—he owned and operated 10 Ruby Tuesday locations for a dozen years after first working as the casual dining chain’s director of operations—Bachmann says he can relate to operators and his experience helps him understand the challenges they face running their restaurants.  

“I’ve walked in their shoes. That’s a huge advantage for me. I can speak and understand their language,” he says.

Most recently at 240-unit Smashburger, which according to a news release had same-store sales growth in the double digits under his leadership, Bachmann says he was proud to advance an omnichannel strategy that included a new e-commerce platform and increases in digital revenue.

“In order to be successful today, you’ve got to have an omnichannel approach,” he says, adding at BurgerFi and Anthony’s he also plans to emphasize an improved customer experience. “I think young people today, everyone, is looking for a really great experience. You have to have it.” Both brands, he continues, have price points and menu offerings well-suited to capture pent-up consumer demand.

BurgerFi International reported total revenue increased to $45.7 million in the first quarter of 2023, up slightly compared to $44.9 million in the same period in 2022. That increase was driven by same-store sales growth of 3 percent at Anthony’s. The BurgerFi brand, meanwhile, saw systemwide same-store sales decrease 4 percent in the first quarter, an improvement, according to the company, from the 9 percent decrease in the fourth quarter of 2022.

The company posted a net loss of $9.2 million for the quarter, compared to a net loss of $13.6 million a year ago.

Source link