Franchisee abandons location after reported accidental flood.
Denver, Colorado-based Smashburger has closed its Sandy Springs location. The restaurant, located at 6080 Roswell Road, just north of Hammond Drive, closed about three weeks ago. According to an employee at another location (who used to work at the Sandy Springs restaurant) the owner decided it was not worth reopening the restaurant after a sprinkler malfunction caused flooding and damage inside.
The Sandy Springs location was the chain's fourth unit in the Atlanta market when it opened in late 2011. The restaurant occupied a building once home to Nothing But Noodles. A Moe's Southwest Grill that opened about the same time as Smashburger remains open in a separate building next door.
Smashburger locations on Windward Parkway in Alpharetta, on Barrett Parkway in Kennesaw, on Medlock Bridge in Johns Creek, and on Piedmont Road in Buckhead remain open for now.
Atlanta area Smashburger restaurants were first developed and owned by Rising Star, Inc., a Smashburger franchisee. Rising Star and its CEO Phil Wilkins were originally franchisees of four McDonald's restaurants in Lexington, Kentucky, but sold them and relocated to metro Atlanta to become Smashburger franchisees. Rising Star reportedly once had "ownership rights" to 28 Smashburger restaurants in the Atlanta area, but it seems highly unlikely that number (already reduced from a corporate commitment of 50 units) will ever be realized.
A source close to Smashburger locally tells me that Wilkins subsequently sold his Smashburger holdings to Robert Wagner. According to Wilkins' Twitter page, his new passion is "Helping three sons fulfill their dreams of being college athletes."
Do you think other Smashburger locations in metro Atlanta will soon close? What is your favorite non-local burger chain? What would you like to see open in place of Smashburger in Sandy Springs?
Please share your thoughts below.