The phrase "America's Most Promising Company" brings to mind a business on the cutting edge of technology, that is changing the way we live, think and interact with the world. Surely, the company that holds that vaunted title is some developer of a soon-to-be-groundbreaking iPad 4 app that will be able to predict a newborn's genetic future with a two-second scan of its iris. Right?
Not according to Forbes, at least not this year.
Instead, the billionaire-ranking business magazine has picked a rapidly-growing fast food chain, Smashburger, for the honor of the title.
The gourmet burger chain was founded in Denver in 2007, but has quickly become nationally known for its wide-ranging toppings and cultish following. Forbes writes that, including franchises, there are now 143 locations in America alone. And Smashburger is already making moves overseas. In September, the company announced its intention to open eight Smashburger outposts in the Persian Gulf region over the next several years. And just today, David Prokupek, the CEO of Smashburger, revealed plans for a major expansion in central Canada, with two restaurants slated for Calgary in 2012 and 10 to 15 others planned in Calgary and Edmonton down the road.
The Forbes article cited Smashburger's innovative incentive-based employee pay and the chain's relatively adventurous menu as factors that have set the company apart from its competitors.
Smashburger emerged as the magazine's choice for the most promising company after the company paired with data firm CB Insight to analyze performance and growth potential at over 30,000 American businesses. Other food companies that made the top 100 include snack maker Popchips, meal delivery service Fresh Diet and healthy vending machine manufacturer HUMAN Healthy Vending.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article misspelled the name of Smashburger's CEO, David Prokupek.