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September 16, 2014

Burger 21 Introduces Corporate Chef to Lead Menu Innovation

TAMPA, Fla.Sept. 16, 2014  — Burger 21®, a new better burger franchise founded by the owners of The Melting Pot®Restaurants, Inc. franchise company based in Tampa, Fla., announced today the promotion of Mike Remes to Burger 21 corporate chef and field trainer earlier this year, a strategic move that gave Burger 21 its own dedicated corporate chef for the first time. In this role, Remes manages all aspects of the brand’s menu development, including its monthly featured burgers and shakes, while overseeing training and operations for all new restaurant openings across the country.

“It is our pleasure to recognize Mike’s leadership and contributions to the success of Burger 21’s restaurant operations,” said Mark Johnston, president and chief concept officer of Front Burner Brands, management company for Burger 21. “Mike’s professional growth and his commitment to excellence for Burger 21 is a true testament to his passion for the brand. We are confident that Burger 21’s menu development will continue to thrive under his culinary leadership.”

Remes has been a member of the Burger 21 team since its early days, starting in the fall of 2010 as a heart of the house trainer and line cook at the brand’s inaugural location in the Westchase area of Tampa, Fla. He quickly worked his way up to management at the Westchase location, overseeing back-of-the-house employee training and development. In 2012, he was then promoted to food tech for the brand, working under the former corporate chef of management company Front Burner Brands and training staff at every Burger 21 restaurant opening to date.

Last month, he introduced one of his first new burger creations with much fanfare at all Burger 21 locations. The Bayou Burger, a featured burger of the month available through Sept. 20, is a play on New Orleans-style gumbo. On Sept. 21, he draws on his southern roots to unveil a fried green tomato burger available Sept. 21 – Oct. 20.

“It’s exciting to be in a position at Burger 21 to really shape our menu and featured burger and shake offerings. I look forward to introducing guests to even more gourmet, fine dining flavors in our fast casual setting,” said Remes. “As corporate chef of Burger 21, my goal is to create a diverse pipeline of innovative menu items that will further enhance our already extensive and diverse menu. As the brand continues its national expansion, I’m confident that Burger 21 will become the go-to destination for unique, great-tasting burgers and shakes.”

Remes began his career in the restaurant industry in 2000 with Outback Steakhouse and then as a grill cook at RJ Gator’s Restaurant, while he attended high school in Sebring, Fla. After graduating, he was promoted to a kitchen trainer position and helped to open several restaurants for the brand in the Southeast U.S.  After moving to Tampa in 2005 to pursue a career in the culinary industry, Remes attended the Art Institute of Tampa as part of the inaugural class. Prior to joining the Burger 21 team, he served as general manager of a local burger restaurant. He also worked for J.Alexander’s and Bern’s Steak House in Tampa before turning his attention back to his passion, burgers.

To further fuel Burger 21’s expansion, the company is actively seeking qualified franchisees and will host live webinars on Sept. 17 and Oct. 2 at 2 p.m. EDT. To register, or to learn more about franchising opportunities with Burger 21, please visit www.burger21franchise.com/events.aspx.

Burger 21 was named one of QSR’s “Best Franchise Deals” and also earned the No. 5 ranking in Fast Casual’s Top 100 “Movers and Shakers” of 2014, up from No. 22 the prior year. Additionally, Burger 21 President Mark Johnston was acknowledged as one of the “Top 25 People” for his continued strategic leadership in the growth and development of the brand. Last year, the franchise’s gluten-free menu received the No. 1 ranking in the “Top 10 Menu Innovations” category.

As the brand continues to expand across the U.S., Burger 21 is seeking single- and multi-unit operators with restaurant experience to join its upscale fast casual dining concept. Franchisee candidates should have a minimum net worth of $500,000 and liquid assets of at least $200,000 per unit. Burger 21 will be developed through both single-unit agreements and Area Development Agreements. Depending on the real estate site selected, franchisees can expect the total investment for one restaurant to be approximately $422,083 – $974,395. The initial franchise fee is $40,000; however, reduced franchise fees apply for Area Development Agreements of four or more units.

To learn more about ownership opportunities with Burger 21, contact Ashley Pollard, franchise development manager for Burger 21, at 813-425-6228 or visit http://www.burger21franchise.com.

About Burger 21
With 14 locations open in ArizonaFloridaGeorgiaNew JerseyNew YorkNorth Carolina and Virginia, and more than 20 in development in eight states, Burger 21 is a “beyond the better burger” fast-casual franchise concept founded in 2010. Burger 21 is a chef-inspired brand with offerings including 21 unique burger creations ranging from hand-crafted, freshly ground Certified Angus Beef® to chicken, turkey, vegetarian, shrimp and tuna burgers, fresh salads, all-beef hot dogs, chicken tenders and an extensive shake bar including hand-crafted shakes, floats and sundaes. Burger 21 is an affiliate of Front Burner Brands, a restaurant management company headquartered in Tampa, Fla. For more information, visit https://www.burger21.com.

About Front Burner Brands
Front Burner Brands is a restaurant management company headquartered in Tampa, Fla. It is affiliated with the corporate owners of and its management services extended to The Melting Pot Restaurants, Inc., founded in 1975 with 135 locations in North America and more than 25 locations currently in development, Burger 21 with 14 locations open in ArizonaFloridaGeorgiaNew JerseyNew YorkNorth Carolina and Virginia, and more than 20 in development in eight states, and GrillSmith with five locations in the Tampa Bay area. For more information, visit http://www.frontburnerbrands.com.

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