How Martha Stewart Really Joined Forces With BurgerFi - Exclusive

On February 26, Martha Stewart announced to the world on Instagram: "I just joined the Board of Directors of BurgerFi." While it may seem odd that Stewart is getting into the burger business, she's always been undaunted in finding and trying out new "good things" for her own brand (like a line of CBD products!). In an exclusive Mashed interview, BurgerFi CEO Julio Ramirez explained the company's interest in bringing Stewart on, telling us, "Martha Stewart [is] obviously one of the icons of food in the world."

Even before joining the team, Stewart understood the appeal of BurgerFi. In an interview on Fox Business (via YouTube), she said "No matter what, Americans love burgers. And I really think that burgers can be very delicious, they can be very healthy, very appealing ... BurgerFi started preparing and selling some of the best burgers in the United States." It appears this isn't just lip service, as over the past couple of months the star has posted a series of photos on Instagram of her chomping down on BurgerFi products. According to Ramirez, Stewart is co-Chair of the Product & Innovation committee, working with chef Paul Griffin to "create menu choices of highest quality ingredients for discriminating diners," as Stewart shared in her Instagram announcement. But, surprisingly, Stewart was drawn to get into business with BurgerFi for reasons other than its antibiotic and hormone-free beef, cage-free chicken, and massive onion rings.

BurgerFi's Executive Chairman and Martha Stewart are both horse lovers

In BurgerFi's press release about Stewart joining the team, Executive Chairman Ophir Sternberg praised the industry titan, saying, "Highly regarded as the 'original influencer,' her lifetime of successful achievements and knowledge of marketing, product innovation and food expertise are second to none." BurgerFi CEO Julio Ramirez told us that Sternberg and Stewart met at a food and wine festival where she was an honoree. "It turns out they both have a love of horses," he told us, "and they're into that quite a bit, so they became actually great friends."

According to Business Insider, it's a particular type of horse, the Friesian (which the US Equestrian Federation describes as a pure breed that originated in the Netherlands), that both have a fondness for. Sternberg has stabled his favorite horse, "Bond," at Stewart's farm for the winter, and when BurgerFi went public on December 17, 2020 (via QSR Magazine), Sternberg told Business Insider, "it was only natural to reach out" and ask Stewart to play an important role in BurgerFi's expansion. This turned out to be a great decision, as Ramirez told Mashed: "I've been so impressed by her. She is top-notch, super smart, and it's gotten so much excitement now that we're a public company." Franchisees have been messaging Ramirez positively about Stewart's partnership more than anything they've ever done. "It's been huge," the CEO said. 

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