FAT Brands Embraces Ghost Kitchens

FAT Brands is adding ghost kitchens to its repertoire. The global franchising company has acquired a number of major restaurant brands, including Fatburger, Buffalo’s Express, and Yalla Mediterranean. And, in a unique spin on the ghost kitchen concept, some of those brands might be seeing their menu items available for delivery via other brick-and-mortar restaurants owned by the conglomerate.

Ghost kitchens represent a low risk delivery option for budding entrepreneurs and restaurants. For those looking to start a business in high-rent places like New York City, ghost kitchens save hundreds of thousands of dollars in square footage alone.

Updating and expanding a menu is also an easier and more lucrative process. Peter Schatzberg, the founder of virtual kitchen Green Summit, notes that for a traditional restaurant, it can cost over $800,000 to try a new menu. For Green Summit, if a menu fails to gain traction, the company only loses about $25,000.

According to Andy Wiederhorn, the president and CEO of FAT Brands, the company simply wants to do what is best for customers. “We want to take the opportunity to offer our brands everywhere we can,” says Wiederhorn. “We don’t necessarily have to have a brick-and-mortar location.”

Just last month, FAT Brands acquired fast casual chain Elevation Burger for $10 million. Elevation Burger currently maintains over 50 locations worldwide. Later this year, FAT Brands intends to offer a modified Elevation Burger menu out of select sister brand restaurants for delivery purposes only. According to Wiederhorn, the move would ideally provide a supplementary revenue source for franchise partners.

“It doesn't grow unit count, it grows total sales per franchisee,” adds Wiederhorn. “Our entire focus is on the success of our franchisees.”

FAT Brands has already implemented a similar co-branding strategy for its Fatburger and Buffalo’s Express brands. Over 100 of Fatburger and Buffalo’s Express restaurants are placed in the same location, uniting the two brands under one roof and driving up the average unit volume by 20 to 30 percent.

FAT Brands is also looking to experiment with adding a few plant-based and vegan Fatburger items to the Elevation Burger menu. Elevation Burger already prioritizes organic and sustainable meat, so FAT Brands is hoping current customers will be interested in trying plant-based options. And according to Wiederhorn, Tyson’s plant-based nuggets—courtesy of its Raised & Rooted brand—may also be on the menu.

Why the Parent Company of Fat Burger Went the Reg A+ IPO Route 

Why the Parent Company of Fat Burger Went the Reg A+ IPO Route 

On Monday this week, Fat Brands, the multi-brand restaurant franchising company that operates Fat Burger, along with Buffalo's Cafe and Buffalo's Express, filed a Regulation A+ IPO.

If you aren't familiar, you may be asking how is the Reg A+ different than the traditional IPO that other brands like Shake Shack and Habit Burger have filed in the past?

According to the NYSE, a "Regulation A+ (Reg A+) is an alternative to a traditional IPO, which makes it easier for smaller, early stage companies to access capital."

Fat Brands is the 6th company to go the Reg A+ IPO route. 

So why did the company filed this type of IPO versus the traditional IPO model?

“We were in the process of doing a conventional S-1 IPO but we decided to switch over to Reg A+ because of the lower costs for the process and because we have many customers that are fans of our restaurants. We wanted to provide a way for them and for our franchisees to become owners of our stock. Our franchisees are our partners and their involvement is key to our success. Many have told me that they want to be shareholders and the Reg A+ IPO method makes that possible," said Andy Wiederhorn, CEO of Fat Brands.

The IPO was filed officially on Monday to raise $24 million and  2,000,000 shares sold priced at $12 per share.

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Beyond vs. Impossible: Which Meatless Burger Will Conquer the Industry?

It looks like those bleeding veggie burgers are becoming more accessible to the masses.

Earlier this year, Foodable reported on how companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are disrupting the meat industry by offering alternative protein to consumers like never before— by catering to both carnivores and flexitarians.

This October, Fatburger, the California hamburger fast casual brand, announced it will begin serving the Impossible Burger in Southern California.

“Fatburger pioneered the development of the ‘better burger’ industry,” said Fatburger CEO Andrew Wiederhorn, in a press release. “Now we're pioneering menu development with the Impossible Burger, and are excited to offer it to our customers.”

Meanwhile, Beyond Burger recently made a deal with Sysco, the largest food distributor to thousands of restaurants, schools, hospitals and other outlets.

While Impossible Foods also aims to supply its scientifically-engineered, heme-bleeding, meat-tasting, plant-based burger to high-end restaurants around the country, Beyond Meat earned a spot on the menu of casual dining chain TGI Friday’s, not to mention it is selling its alternative burger directly to consumers through select grocery stores.

"Similar to how we've partnered with conventional grocery stores to bring The Beyond Burger to the meat aisle where everyday consumers shop for protein, we are thrilled to be a part of Sysco's Cutting Edge Solutions program to bring The Beyond Burger to menus alongside beef at thousands of mainstream restaurants nationwide" said Ethan Brown, Beyond Meat’s CEO in a press release.

While Beyond Meat gets a boost in distribution, Impossible Foods’ founder and CEO, Patrick Brown, reveals his hopes to replace other foods besides just beef.

“We want to completely replace animals as a food production technology by 2035,” said Patrick Brown, who is also a Stanford biochemist, at a press briefing. “We are working on producing all foods that we get from animals.”

Can you imagine plant-based bacon, fish, or eggs that taste close to the real deal?

The news comes after the Impossible Foods opened its large-scale production facility in Oakland, Calif. earlier this year.

It is appropriate to mention, Beyond Meat has partnered-up with BurgerFi, a gourmet burger joint, to bring its plant-based patty to burger lovers visiting the chain’s many stores. This makes BurgerFi the first national fast casual brand to offer The Beyond Burger.

Whether people are eating more plant-based foods for health or ethical reasons, the trend is growing steadily. Although a world without meat seems far, far away in the future, it looks like this is the beginning of a world with plenty of more choices.

As the Burger Boom Continues: Burger Restaurants Get Creative To Compete

Fatburger in Vegas | YELP

Fatburger in Vegas | YELP

The burger boom has caused the restaurant industry to be crowded with better burger joints. In order to compete with the many other burger restaurants, these restaurants are getting rather creative with their burger recipes. 

Fat Burger now has the "skinny" burger and this burger has no bun or any mayo. You would think that the consumer going to a place called "fat" burger would not care about getting a healthier burger option. However, the skinny burgers account of 10% of the company's sales.

How do you feel about burgers without buns? Is it really a burger then? How long do you think until consumers get sick of these burger joints? Read More 

Fatburger Customizes to Millennials

Fatburger has been a solid player in the Better Burger segment for over 60 years, starting in LA as Hollywood's favorite late night burger option. Now in 29 different countries around the world, the Fatburger name continues to expand. The brand's high-level ingredients, customizable toppings, and alternative options - from lean beef to veggie and chicken burgers - keep Fatburger a success in giving consumers what they want.

Watch the Fast Casual Trends episode below as Host Paul Barron discusses the LA-based brand with Fatburger CEO Andrew Wiederhorn at the Fast Casual Trends & Directions Conference.