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Famous-Daves-Quick-Que.jpg Famous Dave's
Famous Dave's first-ever quick-service model is expanding, along with ghost kitchens and dual concepts.

Famous Dave’s parent company plans to acquire more brands

BBQ Holdings acquired Granite City brewery and Real Urban barbecue in 2020 and is “currently analyzing multiple opportunities” in 2021

Famous Dave’s parent company BBQ Holdings Inc. is looking to make more acquisitions and add to their portfolio after the company bought two brands in 2020: 18-unit brewery chain Granite City Food & Brewery and Chicago-based independent barbecue restaurant Real Urban.

BBQ Holdings confirmed in an updated investor presentation filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday that the company is “currently analyzing multiple opportunities” with a vision of building “a diverse portfolio of established food and beverage concepts.” Currently, they’re looking for “legacy brands” that have franchise systems “with growth potential” and potential for retail sales.

“We are diligently working to execute our organic and M&A growth plan, while continuing to adjust with the fluid COVID restrictions,” BBQ Holdings CEO Jeff Crivello said in a statement. “We believe there is a significant amount of pent up demand for dining, and expect demand to grow throughout the year. We will provide future guidance as the year develops.”

The Famous Dave’s parent company was busy in 2020, purchasing Granite City Food & Brewery in Feb. 2020 during an asset sale after the then-25-unit company declared bankruptcy. BBQ Holdings then clarified that it planned to operate Granite City as-is, while adding some Famous Dave’s items to their menu and selling Granite City beers at Famous Dave’s locations.

In Monday’s 8-K, BBQ Holdings said that it plans to re-establish same-store sales growth, add a loyalty program and subscription program, and grow Granite City through ghost kitchens and dual concepts. BBQ Holdings also has plans to expand Real Urban.

Throughout the pandemic, the Minnetonka, Minn.-based barbecue chain’s  growth has been anchored by their development of ghost kitchens and dual concept restaurants, which they clearly plan to continue according to the 8-K. Crivello explained in a February Extra Serving podcast interview how this real estate-light expansion plan works: The ghost kitchens are operated out of a shared commissary space without the Famous Dave’s name attached to them, and if those do well, then they are graduated to dual concepts alongside Famous Dave’s.

BBQ Holdings Inc. said that they’re planning to build 10-12 additional ghost kitchens and two additional dual concepts in 2021 alongside casual Italian chain, Johnny Carino’s, which announced a cobranding partnership with Famous Dave’s in October 2020. The filing also suggested that they could work with a “well-known pizza brand” with simplistic operations to test out their dual brands concept next.

In the 8-K filing, BBQ Holdings Inc. also mentioned that it would be expanding the line service store model. Although Famous Dave’s is traditionally a casual-dining chain, franchisees are experimenting with a more quick-service, counter-served format with Quick ‘Que. The first Quick ‘Que is set to open in Coon Rapids, Minn. this September with a legacy franchise group. In April, the company announced that the second location of Quick ‘Que in Salt Lake City will add a drive-thru and is scheduled to open in June.   

Contact Joanna at [email protected]

Find her on Twitter: @JoannaFantozzi


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