The founder of the Slater’s 50/50 burger chain has agreed to sell his six restaurants and brand intellectual property to Elite Restaurant Group.
Terms were not disclosed, but Slater’s founder Scott Slater said Friday he plans to step down as president but will remain involved in an advisory capacity as “baron of bacon.” The deal is scheduled to close in February.
Founded about seven years ago, the Orange County, Calif.-based Slater’s 50/50 is known for its indulgent signature 50/50 burger made with half ground beef and half ground bacon, though the menu also includes lighter options.
The chain’s new ownership will be led by Elite Restaurant Group partner Mike Nakhleh, who will serve as president of the newly formed Slater’s Restaurant Group, which will be based in Orange County, Calif., at a location to be determined.
Nakhleh’s Elite Restaurant Group had operated 12 restaurants, including franchised locations of Fatburger and Sizzler along with several one-off concepts. But those restaurants are being liquidated to allow the company to focus on the investment in Slater’s 50/50, he said.
Once the deal closes, Nakhleh plans to renovate some of the older Slater’s 50/50 locations and update those that may need TLC, he said.
Early in 2017, he plans to launch a franchising program for the brand to expand beyond Southern California, in addition to opening more company-owned locations.
“We’ve been looking at being on the franchisor side for a long time,” said Nakhleh. “Slater’s food is amazing. They have the total package. It just felt right for us to take on this brand and really expand with it. I think it will do very well in the next few years.”
Both Slater and Nakhleh declined to offer details on how existing restaurants were performing.
Because the company is reforming under a new corporation, Slater’s was required by state law to file Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notifications because all 700 employees will be technically laid off and rehired by the new corporation, Slater said.
However, said Slater, “Not one person is losing their job with this transition.”
Last year, Slater’s 50/50 closed one restaurant in Lake Forest, Calif., and Slater said he is in the process of selling his now-closed one-off concept S&M Sausage and Meat separately.
Slater said he will remain focused on the culinary side of Slater’s 50/50, as well as helping build the corporate culture, along with site selection and strategy. But he also hinted that other projects may be in the works.
“I got a bag of tricks,” said Slater. “But I invented this out of my own heart and soul and I know Mike places a lot of value in that.”
Nakhleh agreed, adding, “Scott really has the passion. His name is above the door. It was important to us that he was staying on board.”
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