Fatburger Secret Menu Part II: “The Char”

Like many fast food and fast casual restaurants these days, we’ve eliminated char-grilling. Flat-top grilling is just more versatile and the product is cooked more consistently.

That said, Fatburger does offer a secret menu item dubbed “The Char,” that substitutes flame-grilling and results in a smokier taste with less fat. Some people really do prefer flame-grilling and if you’re one of them, keep this option in mind during your next visit.

This month, QSR Magazine takes a look at flame-grilling in the fast food/fast casual market. Our own James Newell, VP of Ops has a few things to say:

Another restaurant company that is eliminating char grilling at its newer restaurants is Fatburger, the Santa Monica, California–based burger chain with 115 locations. Historically, the stores offered burgers cooked on the flattop or char grill. Today, most of the burgers are made on the flattop, while charred burgers are a secret menu item.

“We call it The Char,” says James Newell, vice president of operations, of the flame-grilled version. “It’s a much different burger. It can be a little dryer, but if you cook it right, you get a good sear at the higher heat, and the fat drops off and out of the way.”

Still, the window for error is small and is a reason char grills aren’t in new units. Additionally, the grill is a “gas hog, and we have to be respectful of the environment and the cost for franchisees,” Newell says.

Still, many restaurants are willing to put up with that due to the taste grilling provides.

Check out the full article over at QSR if you’re curious about flat-top versus flame-grilling.

Meet the Fatmobile – Fatburger’s Mobile Food Truck

Were you aware that you can book our Fatmobile — the Fatburger food truck — for your party or event?

Please visit our official page for all of the pertinent details, but here’s a quick overview of how it works:

Fatmobiles are fully self-contained units, equipped with generators and operated and staffed completely by FatBurger Associates. Sorry, French fries and shakes cannot be prepared on the Fatmobile. The Fatmobile Trailers are only available in Los Angeles and Orange Counties and limited parts of Ventura, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. Fatmobiles are booked on a “first come, first served” basis. We advise you to book your cookout a minimum of 4 to 6 months in advance. Longer lead times are always beneficial, especially for weekends and weekday lunch hours.

Sound interesting? You can read more at the official Fatburger website.

The Fatburger XXX Challenge – Join the Few, the Proud, the Beltless

I always get a lot of questions about Fatburger’s XXX Challenge, also referred to as the “Triple King Challenge.”

How many patties are there? How many calories is that? What do I get if I successfully complete the challenge? Who is the current record-holder and how many patties did his burger consist of?

First the rules: you must order a Triple King Burger at your local franchise. In case you’re not familiar, our burgers range in size, starting with small, going to medium, then large (AKA the “King Burger”) and followed by the XXL and XXXL. The last option is the burger you must eat to win the challenge. There are 3 king burger patties, hence the “XXX” notation. There is no time limit for eating your burger. The burger has about 240 ozs of ground beef total and runs about 1850-2050 calories.

Now, the prize: if you complete your challenge, you’ll get a spiffy certificate to take home and you’ll get your picture on the wall.

Who’s the current record holder? The guy you see below. Jose consumed a record 16 patty Fatburger in only 35 minutes back in 2010 at our West Hollywood location. And no one has surpassed his record-setting burger to date.




13 Things You Didn’t Know About Fatburger

Some of my favorite conversation-starters are the lesser-known facts about Fatburger. With over 60 years of history, a near-cult status brought about by West Coast Hip Hop artists, there’s always some interesting aspects of our franchise that people aren’t aware of.

For instance, did you know that Ice Cube went to Fatburger on January 20th, 1992? The very day described in his hit song “It was a Good Day.” It’s true. Another “secret” about Fatburger is our long-standing XXXL Challenge. Our XXXL burger is stacked with 24oz of meat. If you can finish it, your photo goes up on the wall of the store and you get to bring home a signed certificate of achievement.

Up for the challenge of learning more insider info about Fatburger? Check out this Thrillest article. You’ll definitely learn something new.


Out of the Ashes – Bankruptcy and the Restaurant Industry

I found an insightful article over at QSR Magazine that discusses the perils of bankruptcy in the food-service sector.

As you may know, I successfully restructured Fatburger while under Chapter 11 protection. For ailing companies, sometimes it feels like a last resort, but I’m here to say that bankruptcy doesn’t carry the stigma it used to. Not only that, it can be the one tool in your arsenal that can help reset your company and get things growing again.

The article examines the issue of bankruptcy from the perspective of several CEO’s from the restaurant sector, like Friendly’s Ice Cream CEO John Maguire (pictured), as just one example. Please take a moment to read the entire piece, but here are some great quotes I pulled to give you a quick idea:

“I think unfortunately what happened to Friendly’s was not a unique story,” he says. “What happened to Friendly’s over the last 10 or 15 years was a story of this: As sales fell, people panicked and tried things out of panic to get things to rebound.” Maguire, who joined Friendly’s after nearly 20 years at Panera Bread, says the challenge for legacy brands like the nearly 80-year-old Friendly’s is to stay true to the brand identity while also remaining relevant in the 21st Century.

Yours truly received a chance to chime in on page two.

“Bankruptcy is a tool to use carefully to resolve very specific problems. It’s not for everybody,” says Andy Wiederhorn, CEO of Fatburger. “You run the risk of losing control of the process when the court and other creditors are involved.”

Thanks again to Kevin Hardy from QSR for the great article and for reaching out to me for comment.

New Fatburger/Buffalo’s Express Lands in the Greater Toronto Area

One of my fave sites, Eater, has a timely article up about Fatburger’s first co-branded unit in the Greater Toronto area.

The 1600 square foot location is opening soon and is located at 10 Disera Drive, Thornhill, ON L4J 0A7. Map it.

I had to chuckle at their mention of our new neighbors:

… located (beneath) a yoga studio. Because irony.”

I wonder how long the yoga students will be able to resist the smell of fresh burgers and fries wafting into their studio?

Not for long, I’d bet. :-)

Buffalo’s “Secret” Spicy Peanut Wings Recipe Revealed

If you love the spicy peanut wings at our Buffalo’s Cafes (and really, who doesn’t?), our very own former Buffalo’s chef (now COO), Shaun Curtis reveals this crowd fave.

Oaklee’s Family Guide has the full recipe, but be sure you have the following ingredients on-hand:

  • 1 cup Frank’s Red Hot
  • 1/2 cup Parkay Margarine
  • 1/4 cup crushed peanuts
  • 1/4 cup dried parsley
  • 1/4 cup dried onions
  • 2 Tablespoons White Vinegar
  • 6 fresh peppers*

*Determine how spicy/the heat you want by choosing the right pepper. Use Jalapeño Peppers for more mild heat or jump up to Habanero Peppers for an extreme warming.

Get the full recipe now, it’ll be a real crowd-pleaser at your next BBQ.

Undercover Boss Press Round-Up

I have to say, appearing on “Undercover Boss” was not only a great business exercise, it led to a number of great stories on the topic.

Here’s a brief round-up of some of the recent press on the episode:

Fatburger Lists as a Top Food Franchise in Entrepreneur Magazine

[Click for a larger version]

In case there was any doubt that Fatburger is rapidly becoming one of the best franchise brands to invest in, Entrepreneur Magazine ranked Fatburger in their 2014 Franchise 500, under Top Food Franchises.

You can click on the link above to see our listing within the “Hamburgers” section.

If you, or someone you know is interested in a franchise restaurant, please send them to our “Fat Opportunities” page of our website. On the site, we’ve provided a wealth of preliminary information that will be useful to someone looking seriously at a burger franchise. Net worth requirements, franchise territory opportunities, franchise fees and typical start-up costs? It’s all there, so please have a look.