Hesburger is a registered trademark, which is owned by a Finnish parent company Burger-In Ltd. Burger-In is owned and operated by the Salmela family. Heikki Salmela, the founder of the company, is the Chairman of the Burger-In Board of Directors. Kari Salmela serves as CEO and Jari Vuoti as Deputy CEO of Burger-In .
Around 5,400 people in Finland and some 2,500 outside of Finland work in Hesburger restaurants. At the end of 2019, there were 278 Hesburger restaurants in Finland. The Hesburger headquarters is located in Turku, Finland. At the headquarters, there are around 70 people working in functions of the restaurant chain, such as management, business and personnel administration, legal affairs, information technology, product development, marketing and communications. Hesburger has a production plant of its own located in Kaarina, Finland. The Hes-Pro central warehouse is located there as well. Hes-Pro employs around 85 people.
The standard selection of products
In Finland, the standard selection of Hesburger products includes hamburgers, meals, tortillas, salads, desserts and hot or cold beverages. The standard selection also includes nuggets, soy fingers and onion rings. In addition to the standard products, Hesburger serves its customers periodically changing campaign products.
The product selection has some variation in different countries.
How did it all start?
The Hesburger story began in 1966 when two young entrepreneurs, Heikki and Kirsti Salmela began a little grill stand in Naantali, Finland. After the fast-food culture reached Finland, they opened the first Hesburger restaurant at the Hansa shopping centre in downtown Turku in 1980.
Over the years, Hesburger has expanded its chain to cover all of Finland, bringing its products within reach of nearly every person living in the country. The chain grew the most in the 1990s.
After the mid-1990s, Hesburger expanded from Southwest Finland to become a national chain. During the past couple of years, the number of Hesburger restaurants in Finland has stayed around 270. In 2002, Burger-In Oy bought fast-food chain Carrols, becoming the industry’s market leader in terms of both turnover and the number of places of business. The greatest number of new Hesburger restaurants were opened in 2011–2012. However, because there were already more than 200 restaurants, the number of restaurants opened at the time is not proportionally as substantial as the number of restaurants opened in the 1990s.
The chain took its first steps abroad in 1996 when it opened restaurants in Estonia and Germany. In recent years, the successful concept has gained a strong foothold elsewhere as well. At the end of 2019, there were Hesburger restaurants not only in Finland, Estonia and Germany, but also in Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Russia, Ukraine and Bulgaria.
In terms of responsibility, going to the German markets has had a major impact on the chain’s environmental choices. Compared with the environmental requirements in Finland, the requirements in Germany were tighter in the 1990s. Responding to those requirements increased awareness about waste issues, among other things, and led the company to substantial decisions concerning packaging materials.