There’s something fun about a combination fast food restaurant, like the KFC and Taco Bell pairing that’s not too terribly far away from my neighborhood. If I want a Famous Bowl with my Crunchwrap Supreme, I can make it happen at the same counter. But it’s not just Yum! Brands restaurants that are in on the twofer strategy; FAT Brands, which owns Fatburger, Fazoli’s, Buffalo’s Cafe, and more, is experimenting with an extended version of that format: three restaurants beneath the same roof.
FAT Brands purchased Global Franchise Group in 2021 for $442.5 million, which meant that chains Great American Cookies, Pretzelmaker, Marble Slab Creamery, Round Table Pizza, and Hot Dog on A Stick were all stacked into its deck of brands, rounding it out to 14 of them in total that could be prime for combining.
The brand first stuck to the twofer model with a Fatburger and Buffalo’s express combo referred to colloquially as “Fatbuff.” Restaurant trade publication QSR reports that its first tripod combination consists of a Fatburger, Buffalo’s Express, and mall staple Hot Dog on a Stick, which was opened in a 1,000 square foot location in Los Angeles in November. It has not yet been given a nickname, but we’re rooting for “Fatbuff on a Stick.”
For customers, having a choice between three spots is a definite plus. If you’re with multiple people who have different dining preferences (or feel like wings with their Fatburger), chances are good that you’re all in the right place. The convenience level can’t be beat, plus there’s something sort of entertaining about having all the choices.
For the restaurant operator, however, the behind-the-scenes action isn’t nearly so easy. Each menu has to be slim or thought-out enough that items from all menus can all be stored and prepared in the same kitchen. In the case of the Fatbuff a Stick model, some menu items had to be taken away completely, like Hot Dog on aStick’s lemonade, which would require an extra piece of equipment.
Then, of course, tripod locations have to train employees on how to prepare everything from all three concepts. Knowing how crunched restaurant staffing is right now, adding extra tasks to a cook’s list of things to be able to do in a kitchen, only adds on more work for the same kitchen pay. Those additional responsibilities to an already heavily multitasking job isn’t going to make it easier for workers.
You won’t necessarily see a bunch of these tri-restaurant concepts pop up just yet. There’s only one location by FAT Brands as of now, and it’s still a novel experiment for the moment. But if the company can make it work, I can imagine other brands following suit. KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut under the same roof? Three just might be the winning number.