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Fat Brands’ CFO gets a retention bonus

Ken Kuick, who heads finance for the owner of Johnny Rockets, Twin Peaks and Fatburger, is getting $200,000 if he stays through the first quarter of next year.
Fat Brands retention bonus
Photograph: Shutterstock

Ken Kuick, the chief financial officer of Fat Brands, is getting an extra $200,000 and all he has to do is keep his job.

According to a federal-securities filing on Tuesday, Kuick is receiving the retention bonus “in recognition of his ongoing contributions to the company.” He will have to repay that bonus if he leaves before the company’s first quarter earnings report is filed next year—unless that departure is “without cause.”

The bonus comes amid a time of considerable change at the Los Angeles-based company.

Fat Brands has acquired nearly $1 billion worth of restaurant chains over the past year-plus, including Johnny Rockets, Twin Peaks, Fazoli’s and the multi-concept operator Global Franchise Group, the owner of Great American Cookies, Round Table Pizza and Hot Dog on a Stick. The acquisitions have increased the size of Fat Brands substantially in just a short period of time.

All these deals required some heavy lifting on the part of Kuick’s department, in that they were funded with a series of whole business securitizations, meaning Fat Brands bought all the companies using large amounts of debt.  

At the same time, CEO Andy Wiederhorn has become the subject of a federal investigation into spending and tax issues—allegations that Wiederhorn denies. The investigation does not involve Fat Brands itself, but it does leave the company with a cloud hanging over its head.

Retention bonuses are not uncommon. They can be paid when companies fear the departure of key executives—such as when there are potentially major changes on the horizon.  

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