• Chain Profile: Bar 145 Finds Its Niche

  • 2015 Dealer of the Year: Clark Associates, Inc.

  • Facility Design Project of the Month: Ristorante del Lago and Bar del Lago at The Broadmoor

  • DSR of the Month, May 2015: Fred Potekin, Commercial Kitchen Equipment Sales and Design, Beltram Foodservice Group, Largo, Fla.

Foodservice News

Read more Foodservice News

Blog Network

jCarbonara
Joe Carbonara

Lesson Learned: The Cost of Staying the Same

For years now, if you were to ask most any member of the foodservice supply chain about some of their biggest challenges, they would include attracting and retaining top young talent and coming to terms with price pressures brought on by their arch nemesis, the internet.

Read more...

jMartinez
Juan Martinez

A Systematic Approach to Labor Economics

Foodservice operators can choose from countless ways to manage labor resources. Here consultant Juan Martinez outlines the 10 key attributes any labor management system should have, regardless of how a restaurant approaches this all-important topic.

Read more...

jStiegler
Jerry Stiegler

Fast Food B'fast Wars Heat up, Americans Are Eating Their Savings and More

Government numbers show good restaurant sales in April. US Foods is getting antsy over delay in the Sysco merger but no quick decision is anticipated. Seattle operators struggle with minimum wage increase. YUM may divest its Chinese businesses. These stories and a lot more in This Week In Foodservice.

Read more...

Highlights

Chain Innovators: Fatburger

If growing in a recession is tough, growing in a recession while emerging from bankruptcy is tougher still. Fatburger has done both, executing a turnaround strategy since it filed for bankruptcy protection in April 2009. Last year, the company landed squarely in positive territory, achieving double-digit unit growth and systemwide revenue gains of 4 percent. In its primary markets of California and Nevada, same-store sales rose more than 11 percent for the year, says Don Berchtold, president.

FatburgerAs Fatburger worked to come out of bankruptcy, underperforming units were closed as were some in high-rent real estate. The store's footprint, which had inched up from 1,200 sq. ft. to almost 2,500 sq. ft. was brought back down. Old equipment was replaced and, working with suppliers, changes were made to the grill, the burger grind and format to improve speed of service. A veggie burger was added as was a Fat Salad Wedge. Interiors were spruced up and localized, with photos of XXXL (King Burger) Challenge winners adorning the walls. Menu boards were updated and burger options renamed and simplified.

All but three company-owned stores were sold to franchisees, with the ideal being "conversions" — local independents who buy into the brand and convert their operations to Fatburgers. That profile jives with a new management strategy that encourages franchisees and managers to take ownership, participate in their local communities and operate like entrepreneurs. "We don't just tell them what to do, we teach them how to do it and why it's important," Berchtold says. "We didn't chase trends and make big menu changes. We tightened everything up and focused in hard on our attitude, our people and our service."

Fast Facts

  • Year founded: 1952
  • Headquarters: Beverly Hills, Calif.
  • Menu specialties: Beef burgers custom made to guests' tastes
  • Service Model: Quick service, fast-casual
  • Units: 105
  • 2010 Sales: $78 million
  • 2010 Growth: Revenue grew by 4 percent, units grew by 18 percent
  • Projected 2011 growth: 25 units to open in 2011
  • Key expansion markets: South Korea, Dubai, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia
  • Typical location: Freestanding, mall, food court, drive-through
  • Average unit size: 1,600–2,200 sq. ft.; 45–50 seats
  • Average kitchen space: 35 percent to 40 percent of total square footage
  • Average covers per day per unit: 250
  • Average check: $11.26
  • Total equipment investment per unit: $125,000
  • Total unit cost: $450,000

Key Players

  • Chairman: Andrew Wiederhorn
  • President: Don Berchtold
  • Vice President, Construction & Facilities: Bentley Hetrick
  • Smallwares & Equipment: TriMark SS Kemp, TriMark RobertClark, Concept Services
  • Food Distributors: Sysco Corp. and U.S. Foodservice
  • Design: Robert Lee
  • Purchasing: Procurement Plus
Related Articles

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies is proud to be the exclusive media sponsor for 2015 RestaurantPoint.

Restaurant Point - Innovating the restaurant experience