BurgerFi mounts aggressive growth plan

The newly public, better-burger chain, which released preliminary Q4 results Wednesday, said it plans to add 30-35 new locations this year.
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Fresh off its go-public deal, better-burger chain BurgerFi is plotting an aggressive expansion strategy, according to preliminary Q4 financial results released Wednesday.

The fast casual opened 11 new units in 2020 and has opened four new stores since Dec. 1, including the brand’s first drive-thru. The chain said it is on track top open 30 to 35 company and franchised stores this year, and 40 to 45 new units in 2022. BurgerFi said it also intends to ramp up its ghost kitchen operations.

“While this past year was challenging for the entire restaurant industry, it has been a tremendous year of growth for BurgerFi as they have just gone public,” BurgerFi Executive Chairman Ophir Sternberg said in a statement.

Sternberg was the chairman and CEO of Opes Acquisition Corp., and is curently BurgerFi’s executive chairman and new owner. Opes was a SPAC, a special purpose acquisition company, that uses money from investors to buy private companies, thus taking them public.

BurgerFi reported preliminary total revenue of $9 million for the quarter ended Dec. 31, up slightly from $8.9 million in revenue during the same period in 2019. The chain said it expected its total revenue for the year ended Dec. 31 would be approximately $34.3 million, again up a small amount from $34.2 million in annual revenue the previous year.

During Q4, same-store sales fell 2.9%, showing continual improvement each quarter since the pandemic began. For the year, same-store sales declined 13.4%.

Company-owned stores fared better than franchised ones, with sales climbing 12.4% in Q4. Ten franchisee-owned stores were temporarily closed due to the coronavirus, the company said.

The 125-unit chain credited “significant increases” in delivery and app sales for the small revenue boost in 2020.

In December, for example, BurgerFi’s delivery sales jumped 154% from the year before.

From January 2020 until the end of the year, BurgerFi reported a 41% increase in order volume and a 65% increase in sales volume on third-party delivery platforms and BurgerFi’s app.

“Our investments in digital platforms and our swift response to the current environmental challenges has allowed us to have five consecutive months of over 90% month-over-month delivery sales growth,” BurgerFi CEO Julio Ramirez said in a statement. “We’ll continue to invest in technology with the goal of delivering a frictionless, omnichannel experience to drive guest satisfaction and sales.”

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