Serving up FAT Brands’ 18-brand portfolio across the world

In describing the shift in the restaurant franchise space over the last several years one word comes to mind – consolidation. Multi-unit conglomerates are the future of the category as they afford the portfolio brands significant advantages – scale, synergies, and access to greater resources, all of which come with cost savings. FAT Brands founder and Chairman, Andy Wiederhorn, saw this value years ago and launched the global franchising company, FAT Brands Inc. in 2017. Building off of brands Fatburger, Buffalo’s Cafe, and Buffalo’s Express, the company quickly grew, adding a flurry of new brands in the last several years: Round Table Pizza, Marble Slab Creamery, Johnny Rockets, Fazoli’s, Twin Peaks, Smokey Bones, Great American Cookies, Hot Dog on a Stick, Hurricane Grill & Wings, Pretzelmaker, Elevation Burger, Native Grill & Wings, Yalla Mediterranean and Ponderosa and Bonanza Steakhouses. Currently, the franchising powerhouse has over 2,300 units worldwide across 40 countries and 48 states. 

Supply Chain World had the pleasure of speaking with Mark Avery, Global Head of Partnerships and Supply Chain Strategy and SVP of D.E.I., and Raphael Tomlin,

Mark Avery

Chief Supply Chain Officer of QSR Division. Both gentlemen play a unique role in delivering fresh, authentic, and tasty food and drink offerings across FAT Brands’ diverse portfolio. 

“FAT Brands is truly a fascinating company from a supply chain standpoint,” opened Avery, Global Head of Partnerships and Supply Chain Strategy and SVP of D.E.I. “While there are commonalities across our portfolio – we have a wide array of concepts and cuisines. We operate fast casual, quick-service, casual dining, and polished casual dining concepts. On top of that, our cuisines range from burgers, wings, pizza, ice cream, and cookies to bar fare and more. You might be thinking – how do you manage all of that? It comes down to leveraging our scale and having strong partner relationships. Similarly, there are parallels across our brands where we can flex our muscles. Since aggregating our many brands, we have come up with a number of successful co-branded concepts. In 2023, we opened the first co-branded Fatburger and Round Table Pizza restaurant, which offers nearly complete menus from each concept. These co-branded and even tri-branded concepts leverage occupancy, equipment, and food and labor costs in the most efficient way possible.”   

Game-changing technology 

Avery also emphasized: “Our scale and size have allowed us to lock in long-term contracts at more cost-effective prices. This, coupled with our strong relationships, helps us weather challenges across the supply chain industry, such as product shortages. At FAT Brands, we can find a way to source that respective product to avoid disruption across our restaurants. This is much more difficult for small business owners. Additionally, as part of the partnerships with our broad line partners, FAT Brands is currently working on implementing proprietary technology that will allow us to gain greater visibility into supply chain cost components and will extend custom contracting capabilities to help us deliver products to market faster and within specification. Speed, cost, and quality are essential components for a healthy supply chain, so we see this technology as a game-changer for FAT Brands.” 

Raphael Tomlin

Tomlin, Chief Supply Chain Officer of QSR Division, added: “Aside from our scale, something unique to FAT Brands is that we have a 40,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. Currently, we produce cookie batter and pretzel mix for two of our brands, Great American Cookies and Pretzelmaker. With our product being sourced internally and our expertise in food safety and food regulations, we can collaborate in a more detailed manner with vendors and distributors. For example, we can capitalize on synergies and partnerships at the ingredient level. One example is our strategic relationship with Mars, who provides us with toppings for some of our best-selling cookies such as our Chocolate Chip Cookie with Mini M&M’s – my personal favorite. Seasonal M&M’s are used during Valentine’s Day, 4th of July, and Christmas. Currently, we are planning to launch limited-time offerings featuring expanded items from Mars that we have never used before in our cookies. Also, as part of our unlimited mix-in philosophy at our Marble Slab Creamery stores, we provide many Mars products as ice cream topping options.”  

Tomlin continued: “Looking ahead, a key growth objective for FAT Brands is expanding our facility’s capacity, which is currently just shy of 50 percent. Last year, we looked internally and saw great value in rolling out cookie offerings, with the batter being sourced from our facility, across our burger portfolio – Fatburger, Johnny Rockets, and Elevation Burger. We plan to extend this initiative to our casual dining concepts and Fazoli’s. Additionally, there is opportunity for growth with external partners where they can source product from our facility. We know how to work across multiple departments – operations, marketing, and sales – to allow for an efficient introduction and roll-out of new products. The different layers we navigate with our FAT Brands concepts make us well-suited to supply other restaurant brands.” 

Avery concluded: “Looking ahead it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that FAT Brands is looking to grow both organically and via acquisition. What we are tasked with is ensuring we manage our continued growth to not lose sight of providing the high-quality products that our customers and franchisees are accustomed to. Similarly, we are in the business of relationships. Our suppliers are like family, and we are FAT strong when we are working together in lockstep to provide innovative product solutions that fuel the cravings of our loyal fans.” 

By Mark Avery and Raphael Tomlin