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Joint-stock company
Industry Restaurants
Founded 1966
Founder Heikki Salmela
Headquarters Turku, Finland
Number of locations
Key people
Kari Salmela, CEO
Products Fast food
(hamburgers • french fries • soft drinks • coffee • milkshakes • salads • desserts)
Revenue €97.3 million (2015)
Number of employees
6,700 (2015)
Website hesburger.com

Hesburger (colloquially known in Finland as Hese and in Estonia as Hess) is a fast-food chain based in Turku, Finland. Today, it is the largest hamburger restaurant chain in Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, with a larger presence in these markets than U.S. rival McDonald's.

The company name is derived from the nickname of the founder, Heikki "Hese" Salmela.[1]


The chain's history reaches back to 1966, when 20-year old Heikki Salmela opened a street food kiosk in Naantali. He later opened the first Hesburger in 1980 on Kristiinankatu in Turku, which became the first element of the first fast food restaurant chain in Finland. In the 1980s the chain grew fast. Salmela sold the chain and several hotels in 1988 for almost 200 million Finnish markkaa. Three years later, during the early 1990s recession, he bought it back for 25 million markkaa.

With only 12 outlets in 1992, Hesburger expanded to over 200 restaurants in 60 cities and towns across Finland over the following decade, absorbing rival chain Carrols in 2002. The purchase of Carrols gave Hesburger some previously-nonexistent leverage on the fast food market of Helsinki. Hesburger has kept rival chain McDonald's out of Turku efficiently: in 2014, there were 21 Hesburgers but only two McDonald's-locations in the city. Hesburger has also expanded to international markets, opening outlets in the Baltic states, Belarus and Germany.[2] There was a Hesburger in Damascus, Syria for a short period between 2004 and 2006, but it was closed as unprofitable.[3] Further expansion into the Middle East has been discussed by the company.[4]


A typical Hesburger restaurant in Riga, Latvia.
A modern Hesburger restaurant at University of Helsinki metro station.

Hesburger has 281 restaurants in Finland, 46 in Lithuania,[5] 45 in Latvia,[6] 42 in Estonia,[7] 33 in Russia, three in Germany, three in Ukraine, one in Belarus and four in Bulgaria.[8] Hesburger employs over 6700 people, of which 5000 are based in Finland.[9]

Hesburger hamburger

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