New Zealand burger chain scores $5.9 million US investment

New Zealand burger chain BurgerFuel Worldwide has secured a $NZ5.9 million ($A5.5m) investment from US company Franchise Brands.

BurgerFuel started in Auckland in 1995 and now has more than 30 stores across New Zealand and one store in Australia.

The chain turned over $NZ30 million in the last six months and has recently expanded into the Middle East.

Under the deal, Franchise Brands, which was founded by the team behind Subway, has bought an initial 10% stake in BurgerFuel with an option to increase its holdings up to 50% over eight years. 

Franchise Brands paid $NZ1.35 per share, the trading price when discussions were first initiated in April last year, but on the back of the announcement BurgerFuel shares jumped to $NZ3.15 today. 

BurgerFuel chief executive Josef Roberts told SmartCompany the deal gives the burger chain the opportunity to “turbo charge” its business by expanding into the United States and other countries alongside “the largest franchise company in the world.”

“It’s a significant investment because it means we have a strategic investor on board, so it’s not just cash it’s the ability to have assistance and guidance,” he says.

The deal was struck after Roberts met Lisa Oak, vice president of Franchise Brands, at a conference last year.

“I met Lisa in America last year and we got talking and, over time, developed a plan for them to invest in BurgerFuel.”

At this stage BurgerFuel only has one Australian store, in Sydney, but Roberts says more Australian stores are “definitely on the radar” and are likely to be opened later this year.

“I think Australia has potential for us to grow the brand,” he says.

BurgerFuel founding director Chris Mason said the chain’s vision was always to develop the brand globally and build a big business.

“We want to make BurgerFuel a household name around the world like it is in New Zealand and like it’s becoming in the Middle East,” he said in a statement.

“We’re only just getting started”.

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