Tampa-based Burger 21 was named among the 10 best franchises to buy in 2017. According to Franchise Times, whose new Zor Awards program recognized the fast-casual burger brand, Burger 21 was best suited to win its Better Burgers category. The franchise beat out fellow finalists Smashburger, South Florida's BurgerFi and MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes.
With 22 locations in 10 states, including three in the Bay area, the 7-year-old Burger 21 specializes in gourmet burger combos made with Certified Angus beef (plus turkey, seafood, chicken and veggie patties), along with a large selection of shakes.
The Franchise Times editorial staff divided its winners into 10 categories that reflect industry momentum (and will change every year) — three of which are hot food-focused commodities: Drive-Thru Classics, Fast-Casual Pizza and, of course, Better Burgers. Meant to connect prospective franchisees to what could become their company of choice, the Zor Awards acknowledged Blaze Pizza in the Fast-Casual Pizza category, while Drive-Thru Classics went to Dairy Queen.
Other victorious franchises that locals might recognize include Pinot's Palette, Orangetheory Fitness and Sky Zone.
The staff's methodology included leaving out brands that didn't publicly provide information on profitability and financial performance and hosting an online vote to gauge enthusiasm and act as a tiebreaker. A full breakdown of the award program's selection process can be found online.