The owner of Fatburger is making a big move into cobranding

Fat Brands just announced a 40-year deal that will place its flagship burger brand into 40 Round Table Pizza locations. Here’s why the company is so big on the idea.
Fat Brands will add 40 Fatburger locations to Round Table Pizzas in Northern California. | Photo: Shutterstock.

Sure you may want some pizza one day. But maybe your kid wants a burger.

That’s the idea behind Fat Brands’ latest franchise agreement. The Los Angeles-based brand collector on Wednesday announced a 40-unit deal with California Burger Inc., a newly created franchise company that owns more than 70 Round Table Pizzas, which Fat Brands also owns.

California Burger will open those Fatburger locations inside its Round Table Pizza units in Northern California. “We see great potential for Fatburger and Round Table Pizza co-branded restaurants, given both brands’ California heritage,” Taylor Wiederhorn, chief development officer for Fat Brands, said in a statement.

Fat Brands operates a host of different concepts, including Fazoli’s, Great American Cookies, Smokey Bones, Johnny Rockets, Twin Peaks and several others. A few of them are cobranded, including 100 locations that combine Fatburger with the company’s Buffalo’s Express wing brand.

Cobranding was popular 20 years ago as a strategy for franchise brands to combine two concepts into one building, with the idea to split some ancillary costs while giving consumers multiple menu options in a single building.

The industry drifted away from that practice later on as larger companies that pioneered cobranding, such as Yum Brands, shifted their models. But a growing number of smaller, multi-brand companies, such as Fat Brands and the Roark Capital-owned GoTo Foods, have reinvigorated the practice.

GoTo Foods has opened locations combining Auntie Anne’s with Jamba or Cinnabon with Carvel, for instance, and in fact has taken that a step further with Cinnabon Swirl, a combo Cinnabon-Carvel brand with its own identity.

For Fat Brands, which is aggressively working locations, cobranding is a way to spread brand names to different parts of the country while giving its franchisees new methods for generating revenues at existing locations.

The company first introduced the combination Fatburger-Round Table Pizza idea in Dallas last year, and Wiederhorn said there has been “significant interest” from franchisees since then.

California Burger, whose Round Table Pizza franchise is called California Burger Inc., will add the 40 Fatburger locations to its Round Table Pizzas over the next 10 years.

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