|Headquarters||Houston, Texas, U.S.|
Fuddruckers is an American fast casual, franchised restaurant chain that specializes in hamburgers. As of 2011, Fuddruckers had 56 company-operated restaurants and 129 franchises across the United States with one in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, Dominican Republic, four in Puerto Rico and ten in Saudi Arabia. The company headquarters is in Houston, Texas.
Founding and growth
Fuddruckers was founded as Freddie Fuddruckers in 1979 by Philip J. Romano in San Antonio, Texas, in a location converted to a restaurant from an old bank. He started the chain because he thought that the "world needed a better hamburger." The Fuddruckers concept was to offer large hamburgers in which the meat was ground on-site and buns were baked on the premises and hamburgers and other dishes were offered with "lots of fresh sliced tomatoes, onions, lettuce and vats of cheese sauce." In California, Fuddruckers competed at the high end of the fast food market against chains such as Flakey Jake's, sometimes with head-to-head competitions in places such as Northridge, California. By 1988, there were 150 restaurants in the chain, according to a report in The New York Times. Romano left the chain in 1988 to found Romano's Macaroni Grill. In an interview, Romano stated that "I just felt I had done all I could for the concept."
Fuddruckers was purchased in November 1998 by Michael Cannon, and later it was purchased by Magic Brands. The restaurant sometimes made controversial decisions; for example, in 2010 it began enforcing a no-weapons policy, which insisted that patrons should not carry "visible pistols" unless they were security officials. Laws in some U.S. states allow people to carry guns visibly in public. Fuddruckers management had been concerned that the presence of armed patrons might deter unarmed ones from visiting, but the move caused controversy among pro-gun advocates who threatened to retaliate with boycotts of Fuddruckers restaurants.
In August 2014 Fuddruckers opened the first of its new stores called Fuddruckers Deluxe in Newport News, Virginia, a full-service sit down restaurant serving traditional and new menu items, with a wait staff, full bar and multiple TVs, although it does not offer different size burgers or a "produce and fixings bar" like its traditional restaurants.
Bankruptcy and ownership changes
The 2008 financial crisis hit the restaurant industry hard, including Fuddruckers. On April 22, 2010, the parent of Fuddruckers, Austin-based Magic Brands LLC, announced plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. It originally planned to sell most of its assets, including Fuddruckers and the Koo Koo Roo brand eateries, to the Tavistock Group for $40 million. On the same day, the firm announced that 24 Fuddruckers restaurants would be closed.
On June 18, 2010, Tavistock was outbid by Luby's for Fuddruckers' assets at auction, with a $61 million winning bid. A second estimate was that the sale amount was for $63 million. Luby's acquisition of Fuddruckers and Koo Koo Roo was finalized in 2010. During 2011, there were controversies with previous franchise owners regarding the use of the Fuddruckers brand name, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The chain offered the Original Fudds Burger in various sizes, from 1/3 pound, to 1/2 pound, to 2/3 pound, to 1 pound. The primary focus is on hamburgers, but entrees based on poultry and other alternatives were offered.
The firm in 2006 cooked up a publicity stunt. Foxwood executive sous chef, Scott Ferguson, and Mark Collins made one of the largest commercially available hamburgers — weighing 29.6 pounds and costing US $250 — for the Fuddruckers restaurant in the casino. The burger was 18.5 inches wide and 8 inches tall. According to two sources, this creation was the world's largest commercially available burger in 2006. In 2008, there was a report that the world's biggest burger title shifted to a sports bar in Michigan. The chain experimented with different types of burgers. For example, one restaurant offered an elk burger, but a food critic writing for Slate Magazine, visiting a restaurant in Washington, D.C., was disappointed with the taste and described it as looking "completely grey", and complained about the chain's standards of consistency. In 2011, the firm brought back two hamburgers entitled The Southwest and the Swiss Melt as well as another entitled the Inferno Burger.
The firm has moved its headquarters location several times. Currently, the headquarters is the near northwest district of Houston, Texas. It has been there since the acquisition by Luby's in 2010. From 2005 to 2010, Fuddruckers was headquartered in southwest Austin, Texas; before that, in One Corporate Place in Danvers, Massachusetts; before that, in Beverly, Massachusetts. When it shifted headquarters from the Boston area to Austin in 2005, it spent $1 million and laid off 30 employees which allowed the firm to operate more efficiently, according to chief financial officer Matt Pannek. Within six weeks of the move, the company hired 30 new employees for the Austin headquarters. By September 2005 the company employed 80 people in 16,000 square feet (1,500 m2) of space in two temporary offices in the Monterey Oaks Corporate Park in southwest Austin. By December 2005 the company planned to move into about 16,000 square feet (1,500 m2)-17,000 square feet (1,600 m2) of space in an adjacent building and turn one of the original Austin facilities into a training center and test kitchen. Pannek said that the central location of the headquarters allows the company to more easily communicate with its franchisees across the United States.
While some Fuddruckers restaurants are company-owned, the majority are owned by individual franchisees. In 2010, there were 135 franchisee-owned Fuddruckers around the United States. In 2011, Fuddruckers had 200 restaurants throughout North America, of which two-thirds were owned by small business owners and 59 were company-operated locations. Fuddruckers expanded outside of the United States and had branches in several Middle Eastern countries, with the first Middle Eastern location opening in 1994 in Saudi Arabia. Fuddruckers opened restaurants in Argentina in 1988; later, however, sales fell and Fuddruckers left the country. In 2013, Fuddruckers opened its first restaurant in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. In 2014 Fuddruckers opened its first restaurant in Varese (Lombardy), being the company's first location in Europe.
- Cuff, Daniel F. (1988-11-09). "Founder of Fuddruckers Goes On to Next Course". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-05-21.
- Daniel F. Cuff (November 9, 1988). "BUSINESS PEOPLE; Founder of Fuddruckers Goes On to Next Course". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-06-22. "Why did Philip J. Romano open a restaurant called Freddie Fuddruckers in 1979? I thought the world needed a better hamburger, he said. ..."
- DANIEL AKST (June 25, 1985). "Fuddruckers, Flakey Jake's Cry 'Copycat' : Burger Chains Duel in Northridge". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-06-22. "Fuddruckers and Flakey Jake's are franchising as fast as they can all over the country, selling fresh ground, one-third pound and half-pound hamburgers in purposefully rough-hewn surroundings. ..."
- Vanessa O'Connell (April 29, 2010). "Fuddruckers Chain Feeling Heat From Pro-Gun Advocates". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2011-06-22. "The hamburger chain Fuddruckers is unleashing the raw anger of pro-gun advocates, after a move by its Austin, Texas, corporate parent to begin enforcing a no-weapons policy."
- Baertlein, Lisa (June 18, 2010). "UPDATE 1-Luby's buys Fuddruckers for $61 million". Reuters. Retrieved June 23, 2011.
- "Magic Brands, LLC Announces Agreement for Asset Sale with Tavistock Group". Reuters. Retrieved April 2010.
- Bankruptcy forces 2 California Fuddruckers to close today Retrieved 4/20/10
- Nathan Olivarez-Giles (June 18, 2010). "Luby's cafeteria to buy Fuddruckers and Koo Koo Roo for $61 million". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-06-22. "... Fudds Luby's, based in Houston, has agreed to buy the majority of the assets of Fuddruckers and Koo Koo Roo's parent company Magic Brands for about $61 million in cash ... The assets from Magic Brands, which filed for Chapter 11 protection in April, were sold to Luby's in an auction ..."
- Bill Rochelle (Jan 13, 2011). "General Growth, Innkeepers, Fuddruckers: Bankruptcy". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2011-06-16. "Houston-based Luby’s bought the Fuddruckers business for $63.45 million in a sale approved by the bankruptcy court in June."
- Rachel Feintzeig (February 23, 2011). "Taking the Fuddruckers Out of a Burger Shop". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2011-06-22. "... He’s updated business licenses, recalled and canceled advertising that bears the Fuddruckers name and handed out fliers to customers to get the word out about the change. ... but he’s still advised managers to cross the Fuddruckers name off of any offending receipts with black marker."
- "Fuddruckers". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 2011-06-24. Retrieved 2011-06-24.
- BRIAN WALLHEIMER (May 26, 2006). "Foxwoods fries up monster burger". Norwich Bulletin. Retrieved 2011-06-22. "... Foxwoods Executive Sous Chef Scott Ferguson made the world's largest commercially available hamburger Thursday — weighing 29.6 pounds and costing $250 — for the Fuddruckers restaurant in the casino. Guinness World Records verified the result. The burger is 18.5 inches wide and 8 inches tall."
- Nicole Weston (Jun 3, 2006). "Record-breaking burger". SlashFood. Retrieved 2011-06-22. "... the Guinness Book of World's Records officiated at the weigh-in of a 29.5-pound burger at the Foxwoods Resort Casino's Fuddruckers restaurant. They granted the 18.5-in. wide by 8-in. tall burger the title of "world's largest commercially available burger." ..."
- Sara Schwartz (July 31, 2008). "World's Largest Burger: The title for world's biggest hamburger has moved back to the epicenter of burgerdom — the United States. Read on for details on this beef behemoth aptly named the "Absolutely Ridiculous Burger."". delish.com. Retrieved 2011-06-22. "... world-record-breaking "Absolutely Ridiculous Burger" at Mallie's Sports Bar in small-town Michigan. The 134-pound burger (post-cooking weight), topped with cheese, bacon, and all the fixings, is housed in a giant 50-pound bun and measures two feet in diameter. ..."
- Justin Peters (Sep 15, 2010). "Are You Game? Taste-testing the Fuddruckers elk burger". Slate Magazine. Retrieved 2011-06-22.
- "Contact us." Fuddruckers. Retrieved on February 27, 2010. "Luby's Fuddruckers Restaurants, LLC 13111 NW Freeway, Suite 600 Houston, TX 77040"
- "Fuddruckers Inc. — Company Profile". Goliath. 011-06-24. Retrieved 2011-06-24. "Private Company, Headquarters Location 5700 Mopac Expwy S, Austin, TX 78749-1461, United States"
- "Welcome to Fuddruckers Home On the Web!" Fuddruckers. March 8, 2000. Retrieved on February 27, 2010. "One Corporate Place 55 Ferncroft Road Danvers MA 01923"
- Hudgins, Matt. "Fuddruckers plans 60 more company-owned restaurants." Austin Business Journal. Friday August 22, 2003. Retrieved on February 27, 2010.
- "Fuddruckers' Contact Page." Fuddruckers. August 19, 2000. Retrieved on February 27, 2010. "Fuddruckers 66 Cherry Hill Drive Suite 200 Beverly, MA 01915"
- Outon, Chantal. "Fuddruckers shifts HQ to Austin." Austin Business Journal. Friday September 16, 2005. Retrieved on February 27, 2010.
- "Fuddruckers to Feature Its Signature Burgers This May". The New York Times. April 25, 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-22. "Fuddruckers (NYSE: LUB), the Texas-born home of the World's Greatest Hamburgers, will feature two of its most popular burgers — the Southwest and the Swiss Melt ..."
- "Jeddahfood.com". Jeddah Food. Retrieved June 24, 2011.
- "INFOBAE.com". infobae. Retrieved January 26, 2012.
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