Wiederhorn says the company has “an active pipeline of acquisition opportunities,” and expects to make “one or two more,” before 2020.
“We don’t have a pizza brand yet,” he says. “We don’t have a coffee and dessert brand. We don’t have a sandwich brand. Those kinds of things would round out our portfolio. But there would also be no issue adding another burger or wings brand, if it made sense geographically or in terms of product offering.”
Elevation Burger is a good example. Yes, FAT Brands was in the burger game already. But Elevation gives the company an East Coast presence it lacked before, with 30 or so units scattered up and down the region. Hollywood-famous Fatburger returned to the East Coast in June with a co-branded (with Buffalos Express) restaurant in Trout Run, Pennsylvania. A Cherry Hill, New Jersey, store opened later in the month. Now, they can scale together.
In addition to the map expansion, Elevation gave FAT Brands a specialized platform. It features differentiators that appeal to perspective and current franchisees and helps aid the cross-selling process for FAT Brands. Things like grass fed, USDA certified organic, halal, fresh-cut fries cooked in olive oil, etc. FAT Brands can sprinkle Elevation into markets where these sorts of trends have traction, like California and New York.
Wiederhorn says Elevation “didn’t really get big enough to move the needle anywhere,” which led to the founders looking for a way to capitalize on their efforts.
“We say when these smaller brands come under our platform, look, you’re going to get better purchasing power. And you get the benefit of our marketing department where we don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time,” Wiederhorn says.