Financing

It looks like Bagger Dave's run is about to come to an end

The burger chain, founded in 2008, is “exploring strategic alternatives” and expects its remaining locations will be converted into another brand this year.
Bagger Dave's
At one point, Bagger Dave's was a popular concept. | Photo courtesy of Bagger Dave's.

Bagger Dave’s, the Michigan-based full-service chain specializing in burgers, sandwiches and pizza, is apparently on its last legs.

BT Brands, which acquired about 40% of the company in 2022, said in a press release this week that it and Bagger Dave’s are exploring strategic alternatives. The release noted that this review is expected to lead to the conversion of Bagger Dave’s six remaining locations—five of them in Michigan, one in Fort Wayne, Ind.

“All six stores are in excellent locations,” BT Brands CEO Gary Copperud said in a statement. “The stores range from 4,000 to 6,000 square feet, carry full liquor licenses and are in excellent physical condition.”

The locations, he said, “will continue normal operations as Bagger Dave’s, with the process of conversion to another concept expected to begin sometime later this year. We look forward to identifying a dynamic growth opportunity, providing a potential career growth for all current employees of Bagger Dave’s.”

And that, apparently, would be the end of the Bagger Dave’s brand, which for a brief time was an up-and-coming burger brand that was growing quickly through the Midwest.

The chain was founded in 2008 and was part of Diversified Restaurant Holdings, a Buffalo Wild Wings operator based in Michigan.

The brand grew along with the emerging “better burger” segment and at one point had 26 locations. It was eventually split from the Buffalo Wild Wings locations in 2016. But the burger chain struggled and closed locations.

The company was publicly traded, but voluntarily delisted in 2018, when it bought out smaller shareholders. The brand struggled with declines in sales and traffic.

Bagger Dave’s apparently survived the pandemic, but has opted that its best course of action is to convert the locations to another brand. “We see the opportunity for Bagger Dave’s shareholders, including BT Brands, to earn significant returns from a successful conversion,” Copperud said.

BT Brands, by the way, operates a fast-food chain in the Dakotas and Minnesota called Burger Time and also operates other independent restaurants in Massachusetts and Florida.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.

Multimedia

Exclusive Content

Operations

Hitting resistance elsewhere, ghost kitchens and virtual concepts find a happy home in family dining

Reality Check: Old-guard chains are finding the alternative operations to be persistently effective side hustles.

Financing

The Tijuana Flats bankruptcy highlights the dangers of menu miscues

The Bottom Line: The fast-casual chain’s problems following new menu debuts in 2021 and 2022 show that adding new items isn’t always the right idea.

Financing

For Papa Johns, the CEO departure came at the wrong time

The Bottom Line: The pizza chain worked to convince franchisees to buy into a massive marketing shift. And then the brand’s CEO left.

Trending

More from our partners