Gourmet burger operator BurgerFuel says regulatory hurdles in the United States mean it will be at least six months before its franchises can be offered there.

The Auckland company and the founders of the Subway sandwich chain this year finalised a partnership deal which BurgerFuel aims to use as it pushes to open 1000 new stores in new markets, including the US, over the next eight years.

"There are considerable regulatory requirements to overcome to enable us to offer a franchise concept in the US and we are working on these processes to ensure entry can occur as soon as possible," the company said.

BurgerFuel yesterday reported a net profit of $400,656 for the year to March 31, down from $1.1 million a year earlier.


The company said the drop in profit was a result of investments to drive future growth, which the market had been told about.

BurgerFuel said group operating revenue - what the listed franchisor earns from franchisees' royalties - rose 20 per cent to $14.4 million.

Total system sales, which include the revenue of franchise-owned stores, rose 34.3 per cent to $66.2 million, the company said.

BurgerFuel opened 12 new restaurants during the year, compared with eight in the previous year, taking the total number of outlets to 56 on March 31.

The company has been expanding in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, as well as New Zealand, and opened its first store in Egypt last month.

BurgerFuel's first store in Kuwait is expected to open this month or next.

Its share price closed down 1c at $2.51 last night.