Finnish burger chain Friends & Brgrs has announced it will open six more restaurants this year, creating 200 hundred new positions in cities around the country.
The new restaurants will open in Helsinki, Espoo, Lappeenranta, Kuopio and Rovaniemi; adding to the 10 Friends & Brgrs restaurants already operating in Finland, and one in Hamburg Germany.
The growth for the company, founded in Jakobstad in 2014, comes despite the coronavirus epidemic which saw tough times for many in the restaurant and hospitality industry. At first the chain furloughed around 40% of its workforce for several months, but was able to keep all restaurants open, offering take-away and delivery options as business started to pick up again.
Friends & Brgrs CEO Peter Fagerholm says they boosted their marketing efforts by half, working with app-based food delivery companies, and were strict with procedures and hygiene during the virus lockdown period when in-person dining was prohibited.
“A lot of other places closed but we decided we would keep our restaurants open as long as we can, and we were able to sell quite a bit actually. We sold probably roughly about 50, 60% of the normal sales” he tells News Now Finland.
The new restaurant locations happen to be in shopping centres, but Fagerholm explains that’s not the primary objective when they’re identifying potential new markets.
“We like locations like shopping centres that are located in the centre of a city. That’s a good thing for us. We do have other locations, and at the moment when we’re looking for new locations we look very broadly” he explains.
“There’s a lot of good opportunities now if you are able to take them.”
Latest restaurant’s business is “encouraging” for future openings
Since restaurants opened again for dine-in customers, the Friends & Brgrs saw a growth in customer sales, and opened the newest restaurant in Jyväskylä during August.
“Jyväskylä’s sales success is encouraging for future openings. While customers have physically returned to our restaurants, digital sales have developed positively” says Fagerholm.
Next year sees another planned expansion for the chain, which makes a point of sourcing local ingredients for its burgers and fries, and bakes its own burger buns in-house.
Up to three new Friends & Brgrs outlets will be located in the new UROS LIVE arena in Tampere, which will be completed by December 2021.
The company aims to employ 1,000 people within three years.
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