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Chef-Driven Burger Chain Preps for Big Growth

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January 11, 2017   Copyright: QSR Magazine

Todd Coerver heads to his new corporate digs in Denver and joins five other co-workers each day. Even for a brand that toasted its 10th anniversary on December 9, it’s fair to say Larkburger remains a fast casual with a start-up vibe. But things are changing. Coerver, who was named Larkburger’s CEO in September, spent the past six years with 170-plus unit Taco Cabana. Before that, he was the vice president of marketing and innovation at Whataburger. When he arrived at Larkburger, it was Coerver’s big-pond experience that the brand was counting on. In 2017, the better-burger concept, which was started by Chef Thomas Salamunuovich a decade ago, is leaving The Centennial State for the first time, opening a unit in Kansas’ Overland Park, the home of Sprint. This is really just the beginning of what Coerver says will be parallel growth throughout Larkburger’s home state and the Kansas City market. He expects expansion to ramp up over time, with two to three new units in 2017 and five in 2018. After that? It will come down to growing Larkburger “as fast as we can replicate the magic,” Coerver says. “If you’re not careful, the brand can get away from you,” he says. “There’s a long list of brands out there that have experienced that. When you embark on explosive growth it’s easy to lose yourself along the way, and we want to be sure that doesn’t happen to this  ...

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