Executive Chat featuring Thayer Wiederhorn,
COO of FAT Brands
By Rebecca Patt, SVP Development, Wray Executive Search
FAT Brands (NASDAQ: FAT) is a leading global franchising company that strategically acquires, markets, and develops fast casual, QSR, casual, and polished casual concepts around the world. The Company currently owns 17 restaurant brands: Round Table Pizza, Fatburger, Marble Slab Creamery, Johnny Rockets, Fazoli’s, Twin Peaks, Great American Cookies, Hot Dog on a Stick, Buffalo’s Cafe & Express, Hurricane Grill & Wings, Pretzelmaker, Elevation Burger, Native Grill & Wings, Yalla Mediterranean and Ponderosa and Bonanza Steakhouses, and franchises over 2,300 units worldwide.
You recently became COO of FAT Brands after serving as CMO. How are you liking the new role, and what’s a typical day like for you?
I love it. In such a fast-growing, multi-faceted organization, I don’t know that there’s such a thing as a typical day for me. However, lately I have been spending a lot of time integrating teams and exploring synergies across our 17 brands.
In 2021, FAT Brands completed four acquisitions and added eight new brands, and recently announced the acquisition of Nestle Toll House Café, to be rebranded as great American Cookies. What excites you most with the new brands?
The people. The management teams and company cultures that have become a part of FAT Brands throughout the recent acquisitions are extraordinary and I’m grateful to be able to work with such a talented group of professionals daily that all bring different things to the table.
FAT Brands is 95% franchised company and has many international franchisees. Where are you seeing the most growth among the franchisees, and what is driving that?
Despite doing business in over forty countries, we continue to see most growth among franchisees from within the United States. COVID, remote working, and low interest rates have been drivers for people who’ve decided they want to start their own business and franchising provides them with the ability to be an entrepreneur, but with the resources of a large company.
How are you dealing with all the recent issues with supply chain shortages and inflation?
Our teams have done a good job in navigating the challenging supply chain landscape and supporting our franchisees. Our strong relationships with our distributors and supplier partners have continued to help as well. Regarding inflation, we’ve coached franchisees to take price increases to maintain their margins, optimized menu offerings, and put a renewed focus on all aspects of delivering value to customers.
What’s something in your life that makes you smile outside of your working life?
My wife and kids. No matter what’s going on in my life, coming home to them always keeps things in perspective.
Want to have an Executive Chat with Wray Search’s SVP Development Rebecca Patt? Want to talk about recruiting top talent for your executive team? Contact her at email@example.com.