UK's first Smashburger outlet to open in Milton Keynes next week


US burger chain Smashburger will make its long-awaited UK debut next week as the firm gears up to open 35 stores and create up to 1,400 new jobs.

Over a year after first announcing that it would launch in the UK, Smashburger will open its first outlet in Milton Keynes on Wednesday, with Bath and Brighton planned to go live in the summer.

Tim Lowther, the company's managing director, told the Press Association that despite the explosion of premium burger chains over the past few years, the market is not yet saturated.

"There's a £2.8 billion burger market in the UK, and we think there's significant scope to capture more of the market, there's massive room for growth.

"We don't think the market is saturated, and what differentiates us is that nobody makes burgers to the same level of detail we do," he said.

Smashburger burgers are created by smashing a ball of fresh beef on to a hot buttered grill, which Mr Lowther says creates a seal that keeps juices inside the patty.

"We treat our meat like gold," he said.

Mr Lowther said the delay in launching was because the company wanted to "get it absolutely right", adding: "We'll open five or six stores in 2016 and we're aiming for 35 over the next few years."

In the US, Smashburger has more than 300 stores and in the UK the firm has teamed up with the MSG Group, which acts as the chain's master franchiser.

Smashburger will join fellow US burger giants Five Guys and Shake Shack who have both beefed up their presence in the UK.