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BBQ Holdings might look into pizza or beverage brands next.

Famous Dave’s CEO on why BBQ Holdings has been on an acquisition spree

BBQ Holdings acquired Tahoe Joe’s, a Calif.-based, 5-unit steakhouse earlier this month, among other recent purchases

Since the pandemic began, BBQ Holdings — parent company of Famous Dave’s BBQ — has added several brands to its portfolio, including Granite City and Real Urban Barbecue in 2020, and family dining chains Village Inn and Bakers Square earlier this year. The company’s latest acquisition was announced this month: Tahoe Joe’s, a Central Valley, Calif.-based five-unit steakhouse known for its Lake Tahoe-style steaks and chops.  

Rather than acquiring these smaller-mid-sized regional concepts to expand them traditionally, BBQ Holdings is growing its portfolio with the intention of increasing its virtual kitchen presence and adding more dual-concept restaurants alongside core brand Famous Dave’s.

“We have a lot of capacity in our restaurants—Famous Dave’s at 7,000 square feet, Granite City at 10,000 square feet and they were built to do a lot more volume than they’re doing,” BBQ Holdings CEO Jeff Crivello told Nation’s Restaurant News. “These restaurants are great opportunities for ghost kitchens, virtual brands, and dual concepts.”

After acquiring five brands over the past year and a half, BBQ Holdings has more acquisition opportunities up its sleeves, with ideas for diversifying their portfolio even further.  

“We were just barbecue and then we added polished casual and then we're the Village Inn and Baker’s Square’s pies and bakery, now steak with Tahoe Joe’s,” Crivello said. “We’d be looking for stuff next like pizza, bar concepts, quick-service drink brands, anything that’s not overlapping what we already have.”

Crivello said they’re looking for franchisable legacy brands with growth potential, that makes sense when bolted onto one of their pre-existing concepts.

“I understand the risks of being too centered around one concept,” Crivello said. “In the last year, we've seen what can happen with proteins and commodity prices, […] With a diversified portfolio, you're always going to have disruptions […] and even though that's happening in one corner of the portfolio, you've got the other three-quarters that are still producing.”

The acquisition of Tahoe Joe’s also included the IP for Home Town Buffet, Ryans, Furr’s Fresh Buffet, and Old Country Buffet, though these brands are currently closed and there are no plans to open them as of right now.  

Contact Joanna at [email protected]

Find her on Twitter: @JoannaFantozzi

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