Fat Tuesday may pride itself on its fun culture, and rightfully so, but it is also focused on cultivating long-term, positive relationships with its franchisee system, offering a flexible franchise model that supports a profitable business opportunity, especially for multi-unit franchisees. That’s why Fat Tuesday is heading to the annual Multi-Unit Franchising Conference between March 24-27 in Las Vegas.
With a minimum investment per location coming in at $479,000, Fat Tuesday brings an attractive investment opportunity to the table for those interested in becoming franchisees. But it’s the ROI that makes Fat Tuesday stand out -- the average gross sales for a Fat Tuesday franchise are $1.8 million with an average gross margin of $1.5 million. The average profit after operating expenses is $1 million, with average total labor expense coming in at 16.1 percent.
“Our labor costs are low per unit and our equipment costs are on the lower end, too, which are strong selling points for multi-unit franchisees,” said Danny Cattan, Director of Global Franchise Development Operations for Fat Tuesday. “We have great cash flow and profit per location, so we can enhance a portfolio in need of that.”
Fat Tuesday Chief Development Officer and General Counsel James Vitrano also notes the competitive profitability and margins associated with Fat Tuesday are a standout in the industry as another attractive quality for multi-unit franchisees.
“The operational demand and the investment requirements are so minimal compared to anything out there in the food and beverage space,” Vitrano said. “It’s a bit of a disruptor, if you will, a true hidden jewel. I think once the multi-unit world gets a taste of it - pun intended - they’ll see we are a true disruptor unlike anything else that exists out there.”
Vitrano is excited to see what kind of interest the multi-unit conference drums up. The brand is in no rush in terms of growth, and is instead focused on finding the right franchisee fit.
“We are experienced and tenured in the business and in the industry,” Vitrano said. “That’s why we are looking to grow smartly with the right people. We are a family-owned company that has personal relationships with all of the people who work with us and who are franchisees with us, and we plan to continue forming those relationships as we expand.”
While Fat Tuesday has compliance and specifications, the brand also offers flexibility in the design and square footage for each location, Cattan said.
“We are flexible in our layout and design, specifically in the amount of square footage that is required,” Cattan said. “As long as the space can be designed to fit the machines and follow the simple layout outlined in our brand book guidelines, that will work.”
That flexibility translates across Fat Tuesday’s entire franchise system. Vitrano emphasized how the brand takes pride in being a franchisor that offers a concept that has historically proven to be “significantly profitable.”
“We are not your typical franchisor,” Vitrano continued. “We’re not going to send you a standard package and we’re not going to demand you do X, Y and Z. We have a brand and a brand concept that is flexible for the location and the owner. We’re going to work with you and listen to you. We’re more interested in you making money and being happy in the long-term than you doing exactly what we say.”
While the standard Fat Tuesday franchise offering has a development fee and a franchise fee attached to it, those fees are tiered for multi-unit franchises.
“The more locations you open, the lower our initial fees go,” Vitrano said. “Our initial fees are reduced based off of multiple unit openings.”
Fat Tuesday is also unique in that it offers international multi-unit franchising opportunities. The brand has more than 35 locations throughout the U.S., Honduras, Mexico and Puerto Rico. For this reason, multi-unit franchisees interested in franchising outside of the U.S. should have previous international experience.
“If you are a franchisee who already has a presence within a certain geographic span we can easily work with you,” Vitrano said.
One reason the brand does so well in terms of business and franchise relationships is its employee longevity. Vitrano notes that the average tenure at the Fat Tuesday corporate office is 16-and-a-half to 17 years, and that the company’s CFO was its first employee.
“We really just want franchisees who want to have a good time and bring happiness to our customers,” Vitrano said.