BurgerFi, OPES agree to $100M deal that takes brand public

125-unit fast-casual concept expects to close agreement in October


Ron Ruggless, Nation's Restaurant News 

Jun 30, 2020


BurgerFi International LLC and OPES Acquisition Corp. have entered into a $100 million deal that will take the better-burger brand to the public markets, the companies said Tuesday.


Miami-based OPES and Palm Beach, Fla.-based BurgerFi, which has about 125 units, expect the deal, announced earlier in June, to close in October and that the combined company, BurgerFi International Inc., will trade on the Nasdaq exchanged with the ticker symbol BFI.


“The company presents a tremendous investment opportunity for OPES in what we believe will be a very attractive public company,” said Ophir Sternberg, chairman and CEO of OPES as well as founder and CEO of Lionheart Capital, in an investor call Tuesday.


Charlie Guzzetta, BurgerFi president, said the brand has come a long way since its first location in 2011 at Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Fla. And the next phase of growth will tap into the brand’s points of difference, such as digital menu boards, diverse menu, vegetarian and vegan offerings and customization, he said.


Besides traditional expansion, Guzzetta said BurgerFi is targeting non-traditional venues for growth, including airports, transportation hubs, travel plazas, higher-education campuses, sporting venues and military bases.


“There is significant untapped potential that exists in these premier non-traditional venues,” Guzzetta said, “and we have every intention of capitalizing on these opportunities.” The company has strategic partnerships with on-site giants like Aramark and HMS Host for some such venues, with a location at Lauderdale-Hollywood airport in Florida that has produced more than $3 million in annual sales.


BurgerFi also has an agreement with the U.S. Air Force to open units on bases domestically and abroad...