Top Ten Heroes of the American Economy

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#9. Smashburger: 995 jobs created

CEO: David Prokupek

Smashburger is one of the fastest-growing of the new breed of fast-casual, burger joints. The company, which gets its name from the way their burgers are smashed during cooking, has more than 170 locations across the United States, as well as restaurants in Canada and Kuwait. Smashburger’s founder, Tom Ryan, is a legend in the fast-food industry, having created such stomach-churning creations as Pizza Hut’s stuffed-crust pizza and McDonald’s McGriddles breakfast sandwiches.