Fatburger has added a new line of burgers and sandwiches that feature the proprietary sauces of sister chicken-wing brand Buffalo’s Café.
The move is expected to raise awareness of the 25-unit Buffalo’s Café concept, which was acquired by Fatburger parent Beverly Hills, Calif.-based Fog Cutter Capital Group Inc. in 2011.
Some Fatburger franchisees have acquired rights to open dual-branded locations with a Buffalo’s Express, a limited-menu variation on the full-service Buffalo’s Café brand. Others are planning to open freestanding Buffalo’s Café units, said Andy Wiederhorn, chief executive of both the Fatburger and Buffalo’s Café chains.
All of the roughly 150 Fatburger locations around the world, however, will offer the new platform of “saucy” burgers and sandwiches, featuring six of the 13 proprietary sauces available at Buffalo’s, he said.
For example, guests can select sauces such as Death Valley, Red Hot Ranch, Honey Garlic and Sweet Teriyaki to add to any burger. Sauce options also include “mild” and “hot.”
New menu items featuring the sauces include a Honey Garlic Crispy Chicken Sandwich, with crisp chicken, mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato topped with Buffalo’s honey garlic sauce. The Rancheros Fatburger or veggie burger is topped with a fried egg and doused in Buffalo’s sauces ranging from mild to Death Valley.
Chicken wings, however, will not be added to Fatburger’s core menu, though they will be available at the co-branded locations.
Wiederhorn said the menu additions offer a point of differentiation in a crowded burger world. “This will give them that ammunition to compete,” he said. “We own this other brand. It’s a branded product, and now they have the right to offer these proprietary sauces.”
The company was initially interested in the Atlanta-based Buffalo’s concept for its growth potential in the Middle East. The company has signed agreements for 33 Buffalo’s locations in that region in coming years.
In Los Angeles, the company opened a co-branded Fatburger/Buffalo’s Express unit last year as a display location for international growth. However, the concept sparked interest from U.S. franchisees after demonstrating a 33-percent increase in average unit volumes, he said.
About six co-branded units are now open and another 36 are under development, including 12 in the Los Angeles area, 12 in Canada and another 12 in other mostly Western states, Wiederhorn said.
The company is scheduled to open two full-service Buffalo’s Café locations in Southern California this fall as company-owned units that will eventually be refranchised.
“Our business is to focus on being the franchisor and not operating restaurants,” Wiederhorn said.
Franchisees have opened two Buffalo’s locations in Atlanta this year, and two more are scheduled to open there, Wiederhorn said.
In addition, Fatburger franchise operator Riese Organization Corporate Group is also planning to open a Buffalo’s Express next door to a Fatburger in Manhattan, though the restaurants will be separate units.
This story has been updated to reflect the following correction:
Correction: Sept. 5, 2013 An earlier version of this story incorrectly described the upcoming New York location of Buffalo’s Express as a full-service Buffalo’s Café. It will be an express location.