WICHITA — The Smashburger restaurants in Wichita and Derby have changed from corporate-owned stores to franchisee-owned ones.
"We weren't operating them there as well as we could corporately," says Smashburger chairman and CEO David Prokupek. "They weren't performing up to our standards."
Kansas City franchisee Ron Chaulk is the new owner.
Chaulk grew up in Salina and is a Wichita State University graduate.
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"I have a little bit closer connection with the community and the city," Chaulk says. "We both agreed that I might be able to have a little bit more luck getting things going in the right direction."
Chaulk owns six Smashburgers counting the ones here.
Prokupek says the stores here were profitable for corporate but not doing as well as they could.
"Ron's going to continue to . . . add to the marketplace there and keep growing," he says.
Chaulk says he'll look to west Wichita for a possible second Wichita Smashburger — the first opened in late 2008 near 35th and Woodlawn — but not for at least a year.
"We're going to see how things work out with the two that we have."