Can Kanye Save Fatburger?

west_4Kanye West, Mr. West as he sometimes refers to himself, has a new venture, no not the well sought after Louis Vutton shoes he recently released but he’s scheduled to open the first of 10 Fatburgers Restaurants in a surburban Chicago area this month.

KW Foods LLC, will bring Fatburgers to several areas, including California.  Am I surprised Kanye has jumped into the food business?   No, not at all.  He has proven himself to be a constant perfectionist with millions of albums sold and a shoe line, which range in price from $800-$1000 a pair were sold out before the store doors opened, growing his wealth seems to be heavy on his mind.

According to Forbes, several celebrities / artist are already franchise owners, of the 90 restaurants opened, Queen Latifah has one in Miami, Montel Williams owns five in Denver, NFLer Orlando Brown has a couple in DC. and Pharrell is taking Fatburger to China. They paid at least $50,000 per store and then fork over 6% of sales as a royalty.

For those unfamiliar with the chain, Fatburger is a hamburger joint that was started in South Central, L.A. nearly 55 years ago by a woman entrepreneur. She branded it “The Last Great Hamburger Stand“, supposedly the place was a mire shack and named after her boyfriend, whose nickname was “Mr. Fatburger”. Over a 40 year period she opened 32 more locations all in Cali and sold for $3 million in 1990 to a British record producer.

The lure to imagesgrilled beef on a toasted bun, filling the air. The burgers are loaded with fresh toppings of lettuce, tomato and pickles. The sandwich is huge to say the least.

One problem though is Fatburger isn’t the most profitable chain to be associated with, even with several celeb plugs, Notorious B.I.G mentioned getting a Fatburger in “Goin Back to Cali”, Ice Cube, shouted them out in one of my all time fave rap songs, “Today was a Good Day” and even the legendary Beastie Boys gave love, the chain is fighting to survive.

Their financial woes started with the “Ultimate Entrepreneur“, Magic Johnson in 2000, who invested $5.3 million with help from celebrity friends, Janet Jackson, Cher, David Spade and Sex in the City creator, Darren Starr, he planned to open 100 more locations across the US but that wouldn’t be the case. Sales fell from $30 million to $20 million in two years, probably because a cheeseburger is $5, causing Magic to sell to a wealthy Real Estate Investor, Andrew Wiederhorn, who turned out to be a fraud. He was sent to Federal prison for numerous financial wrongdoings and based on some legal paperwork maneuvering was still able to collect $4.6 million from Fatburger as a salary while incarcerated.

So as sales continue to plummeted, the chain continues to lose millions, can Ye save the day, only time will tell but to take on a venture of this magnitude shows he’s a risk taker and his a BIG EGO!

Kanye is a businessman beyond the music…

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