Smashburger needs no introduction, but for interested entrepreneurs who seek to replicate its success, it’s important to deconstruct the business model to savor the genesis of its popularity.

Why is Smashburger squashing the competition and making so much money with a simple menu and strong commitment to a huge following?

Supply and Demand

To start, Tom Ryan, the burger giant’s founder, saw a demand in the market despite the longstanding presence of brands like Wendy’s, McDonald’s, and Burger King. Americans eat 13 million burger per year; half the country says it eats at least one burger per week. Simply put, Tom Ryan saw a demand that hasn’t waned in decades and put himself in a position to capitalize on the food’s tenacious popularity.

Built to Scale

If you have a popular product, it makes sense and dollars to expand. In its first few years, Smashburger expanded to over 150 locations outside of Denver. Rapid expansion works well when there are no signs of immediate or impending failure.

Shared Wealth

Tom Ryan’s vision, envied and sought after by other entrepreneurs, made it possible to make the brand into a franchise; that is why half of the Smashburger stores are franchises. Taking a note from McDonald’s playbook, the brand used outside resources and the help of anxious franchisees to cover a wider area and enter newer markets faster.

Low Maintenance

Smashburger is nestled in a sweet-spot among fast-casual restaurants like Chipotle. Such restaurants feature fresh foods, a hip ambiance, and a small bill. Those who want to feast on lobster and steak have places to go and those who seek cheap eats can go to the grocery store, yet those who want fast, fresh, and fabulous foods have a small number of chains to rely upon, and Smashburger is one of them. It’s easy to get in and out while spending less than $10.

Less is More

Smashburger’s menu is not extensive, yet it’s accommodating for most. If you’re not in the mood for a burger, you can order a fresh salad, chicken sandwich, or veggie fries. The limited yet eclectic menu allows for fast delivery and the ability to cater to a wider number of patrons.

Unique Taste

Burgers are grilled on a butter-brushed grill to lock in the juices and then topped with unique additions such as avocado, fried eggs, and garlic mushrooms. Would you like to add one of eleven sauces? Burgers are simple; Angus beef accounts for the ‘meat’ of Smashburger’s success, yet finer details matter too, and additions such as chipotle mayo and pretzel roll buns differentiate the brand from other burger competitors.

Service Matters

Good customer service is an oft-used yet seldom understood sentiment. You want to be accommodating without being overbearing. McDonald’s drive-thrus push patrons in, around, and out at a fast pace with a number of mistakes while a Friday’s waiter can be a bit eccentric for some, yet Smashburger is founded on a fast, reliable, and casual customer atmosphere revered by the millennial generation. First impressions matter but made in a small timeframe. Knowledgeable, efficient, and affable cashiers make customers feel at home but not bothered.