Fatburger may have one of the more famous reputations when it comes to fast food burger concepts. Steeped in its California roots, the very mention of Fatburger conjures up images of palm trees, sunshine and beaches and is namedropped in some of West Coast hip-hop’s more classic hits. But for a company that started as a single location opened by founder Lovie Yancey in Los Angeles back in 1952, the key to success seems to be in transporting that California love overseas.
“Lovie Yancy started the first Fatburger to be a place for African American musicians and artists to hang out and enjoy the best burger when much of Los Angeles was still segregated,” explains Liberty Harper, the brand’s director of marketing for the North American region. “The word spread quickly and she opened more and more locations in the LA area over the years, at which point it was decided that becoming a franchise would help spread the brand domestically and then internationally.”
With 70 domestic locations, Harper shares that by next year, there will be more international locations than domestic, with locations planned for the U.K., Pakistan, Egypt, the Philippines and beyond. Harper says they have no plans to stop this momentum.
“We found the right partners in different countries to continue international growth,” she says. “And while we have to adjust the menu in some cases, our brand is well-received and loved by other counties and cultures.”
Despite Fatburger’s explosive international growth, the company is still very focused on its domestic efforts and supporting its current and future franchisees.
“Being a part of a smaller franchise gives Fatburger a family feel,” says Harper. “It’s easier to communicate with and support franchisees. For the customer, smaller means more of a community feeling. Fatburger is an icon in LA and most people who grew up here have years’ worth of stores of going to ‘their’ Fatburger. We have a corporate team that lives and breathes the Fatburger brand with passion, and, of course, the best burgers ever!”