Fatburgers ready to take flight with chicken wings on menu

Local Fatburgers soon will add chicken wings to their menu.

Fatburger CEO Andy Wiederhorn plans to co-brand his new Buffalo’s Cafe venture, a chicken wing joint, with the Fatburger brand until the former can take flight on its own.

Expect the changes to take place locally this summer, with marketing ramping up after Wiederhorn’s appearance Friday on the CBS series “Undercover Boss.”

After taping the show, in which CEOs go undercover to discover what’s happening behind the scenes of their business, Wiederhorn said the experience brought him closer to employees. He is reimplementing an employee recognition program and plans to chat with workers about their lives more often.

“I want to have my finger on the pulse of what’s going on,” he said.

Wiederhorn purchased Fatburger in 2003 and has been CEO since 2006.

His empire, with 13 restaurants in Las Vegas, is undergoing a renaissance. He expects sales to jump 30 percent as a result of the Buffalo’s Cafe additions.

Fatburger’s systemwide sales totaled $100 million in 2012.

After the company’s Chapter 11 restructuring plan, 60 Fatburgers are set to open this year, adding to the existing 150 restaurants.

In Las Vegas, the Fatburger CEO said, there probably will be one or two locations to “come out of the ground,” but there are no specific plans yet. Fatburger’s franchise fee is $50,000, and franchisees pay the company a 6 percent royalty.

The Southern Nevada Fatburger restaurants are spread among six franchisees.

Only one of them has a bar attached, aptly named the Fat Bar, which is celebrating its one-year anniversary in mid-April. Owner Darin Feinstein said in November that the location, at 3763 Las Vegas Blvd. South, typically attracts 1,000 to 2,000 customers a day, making it one of the most successful Fatburgers in the company.

Contact reporter Laura Carroll at lcarroll@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4588. Follow @lscvegas on Twitter.

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