New Orleans-based bar-restaurant brand Fat Tuesday has grown its presence to 35 domestic and international locations by delivering a festive, welcoming atmosphere where customers can hang out, dance and have a great time. Through an extensive and delicious lineup of frozen daiquiris and other cocktails, Fat Tuesday has built a strong following in every locale in which it operates, including the city of Greensboro, North Carolina.
Since opening their doors in July of 2017, co-owners Wrenchel Stokes, Carlos Rodgers and Timothy Strickland have established their bar and restaurant as the go-to third-party social space in Greensboro’s growing downtown scene, bringing Fat Tuesday’s unique atmosphere to college students and locals alike.
Stokes, a real estate broker, investor and developer who has been practicing in the Greensboro and Winston-Salem metro area since 1998, relied on his extensive knowledge of the area to scout the ideal spot for a new business venture. Stokes’ real estate acumen was integral to the group’s decision to purchase Fat Tuesday’s eventual home in the Railyard complex located in the South End of downtown Greensboro, where a well-known Mexican restaurant had occupied the space for several years before closing the year prior.
Stokes and his business partners researched numerous brands in the bar and frozen drink segment and almost elected to go into business with another major company before reaching out to Fat Tuesday.
“From top to bottom, it was clear they are the best in the business,” Stokes said. “The quality of its product, its great reputation among licensees and consumers and the people within the Fat Tuesday organization made the decision an easy one.”
The Greensboro location boasts roughly 4,000 square feet of real estate in addition to a 5,000-square-foot outdoor space complete with a stage. In addition to a full-service kitchen, there are also two bars: an indoor/outdoor daiquiri bar and another shot bar inside.
Open seven days per week from happy hour until midnight on weeknights and until 2 a.m. on weekends, there’s ample opportunity for Fat Tuesday patrons to transcend irony and find collective cheer. The location’s standout menu features American fare and high-quality bar bites including Chaos Fries, a mix of sweet potato, crinkle, steak and waffle fries perfect for sharing amongst a large group of friends.
Traffic at the Greensboro Fat Tuesday has been fueled by the ownership group’s strong community ties, resulting in $1.6 million in revenue generated in less than 18 months of business. Stokes described the location's customer base as “both diverse and eclectic,” noting that customers of all ages frequent the Fat Tuesday, from college-aged people to patrons in their mid-to-late fifties. The venue hosts weekly music nights, including a live band every Friday and D.J. sets every Saturday, creating an awesome, fun atmosphere that keeps guests coming back.
“Hearing people in the greater Greensboro area talk positively about Fat Tuesday without knowing that we are involved with the location has been one of my favorite parts about being a licensee with the brand,” Stokes said.
The success of Fat Tuesday in Greensboro speaks to the brand’s ability to connect with a wide demographic and provide a great experience to locals, college students and tourists in a variety of markets, Chief Development Officer James Vitrano said.
"The local ownership and the commitment of the team to our brand and their city show that Fat Tuesday can work and be profitable for owners from Las Vegas to South Beach to Greensboro,” Vitrano said.
As far as what the future holds for Fat Tuesday’s Greensboro franchisees, their sights are set on outperforming their revenue goals and expanding to new markets. Stokes said his team has big plans to grow the Fat Tuesday brand regionally, with a goal of opening at least two more locations in North Carolina and possibly expanding their footprint to include additional locations in North Carolina and Georgia as well.
“Having dealt with other large companies, I continue to be impressed by the positive interactions I consistently have with the corporate team,” Stokes said. “The support that is extended from the Fat Tuesday organization has brought ease to our operation and we’re excited to grow our relationship with the brand.”