Fat Brands CEO Andy Wiederhorn: ‘Focus On Hitting Singles, Not Swinging For The Fence’

In this edition of our Corporate Competitor Podcast, Fat Brands CEO Andy Wiederhorn offers a master class on using a customer-focused mindset to scale corporate culture during periods of exponential growth.

Andy Wiederhorn made his first restaurant acquisition in 2003 with Fatburger when the brand had only 40 restaurants. Since then, FAT Brands Inc acquired brands you know and love like Johnny Rockets, Fazoli’s, Round Table Pizza and Great American Cookies, and after the largest restaurant acquisition of 2021, they now have 17 brands across 40 countries with 2,300 restaurants.

How could they manage such exponential growth? According to FAT Brands President and CEO, you cannot expect to hit a grand slam without first mastering the basics of getting on base. “My view of being successful is always to try to hit singles and doubles,” explained Andy. “Don’t try to hit home runs. They will come your way when the time is right.”

As a franchisor, Wiederhorn says that he views his customer as the franchisee. “Yes, we want the person eating to have a good time, but I really want to make sure that our franchisee is making money, and to make money they understand how to run their business and we need to coach them properly.”

When you’re taking on customers by the hundreds and their customers by the thousands, you have to develop a way to learn what they need from you quickly and accurately. He has found that the good old-fashioned “suggestion box” works wonders. “But only if you actually follow up on the suggestions he adds.” In the podcast, listeners will learn business lessons pertinent to corporate leaders and franchisors, alike, including:

• 5:30   How to use clear objectives to create a unified brand.

• 10:00  How to recognize your teammates’ accomplishments.

• 12:00  How to make a “suggestion box” work.

• 19:00  How to identify “the right way” to grow.

• 20:00  Why the best deals could be the ones you don’t do.

• 24:30  The importance of feedback.

“A mom and pop business with one or two stores probably doesn’t need the same kinds of services and coaching from you that a business with 50 locations needs,” Wiederhorn pointed out. “My team tries to put ourselves in our franchisee’s shoes to see how we can help their particular organization succeed.”

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