Though he earned a degree in finance and accounting at the Wharton School, of the University of Pennsylvania, and studied law at UCLA, Scott Gillman left behind his career at a New York law firm to join his brother in the restaurant business, which he felt was his calling.
"I got involved with law really to learn about business," Gillman said. "I've always been intrigued by business, and I have an entrepreneurial spirit."
That spirit has taken Gillman far: In April, he will open his 13th Smashburger franchise in New Jersey, in North Brunswick. He plans to open a total of 30 Smashburgers in North and Central Jersey by 2016.
"I was going to try to develop my own burger restaurant concept, but I thought this was a good franchise formula," he said.
Gillman bought the business when his brother moved away and convinced his wife, Andrea Gillman, a corporate banker and financial consultant, to work with him. She is in charge of marketing, promotions and scouting for real estate locations.
"We work great together," he said. "When I'm talking about business at dinner, at least it's not just me talking about myself."
Their Hillside-based company, Mascott Corp., owns Marker's Restaurant in Jersey City, three Cinnabon/Carvel franchises and a Seattle's Best Coffee shop.
In addition to their goal to open 30 Smashburgers, the Gillmans are planning 40 Noodles & Co. franchises in New Jersey. The first one is under construction in East Brunswick. According to Scott Gillman, their 70-plus restaurants are expected to bring about 3,000 jobs to the state.