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FAT Brands — the Beverly Hills, Calif.-based global franchising company known for its flagship brand, Fatburger, along with five other brands — has fared relatively well in pivoting to off-premise during the coronavirus lockdowns.
Some of the biggest challenges for the company, CEO Andy Wiederhorn tells us, are in creating different strategies for their wide range of brands. Panderosa Steakhouse features buffet-style dining that turned into cafeteria-style, with employees serving the food instead of guests. For Fatburger, to-go sales rose from 40% to almost 70% over the past few months as the company shifted to off-premise.
Now, as dining rooms begin to reopen, FAT Brands’ casual-dining brands are performing better than many of their industry counterparts. That relative success, Wiederhorn said, has many causes:
“We’re fortunate that the design of our casual-dining restaurants incorporated outdoor features and some of the menu items are grab-and-go items like chicken wings, and you don’t need a lot of attended service,” Wiederhorn said. “I also think the alcohol component is real. People want a break and want to get out, sit outside and they can have finger food themselves that’s not being passed around by other people. And we’re right now at least 25% alcohol [sales] right now.”
In our podcast, Wiederhorn continues to discuss the added challenges of reopening in states where the number of COVID-19 cases is going up, as well as how he aided franchisees during the nation’s time of political unrest in June.
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