SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
|x||ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
For the fiscal year ended December 25, 2022
|¨||TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
Commission file number 001-38250
FAT Brands Inc.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
9720 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 500
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
(Address of principal executive offices, including zip code)
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
|Title of each class||Trading Symbol(s)||Name of each exchange on which registered|
|Class A Common Stock, par value $0.0001 per share||FAT||The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC|
|Class B Common Stock, par value $0.0001 per share||FATBB||The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC|
|Series B Cumulative Preferred Stock, par value $0.0001 per share||FATBP||The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC|
|Warrants to purchase Class A Common Stock||FATBW||The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC|
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes ¨ No x
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act. Yes ¨ No x
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes x No ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes x No ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
|Large accelerated filer|
|Non-accelerated filer||x||Smaller reporting company||x|
|Emerging growth company|
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Exchange Act Rule 12b-2). Yes o No x
The aggregate market value of voting common stock held by non-affiliated stockholders as of June 26, 2022 was approximately $53.7 million.
As of February 17, 2023, there were 15,316,720 shares of Class A common stock and 1,270,805 shares of Class B common stock outstanding.
FAT BRANDS INC.
CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
Certain statements contained herein and certain statements contained in future filings by the Company with the SEC may not be based on historical facts and are “Forward-Looking Statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. All statements other than statements of historical facts contained in this Form 10-K may be forward-looking statements. Statements regarding our future results of operations and financial position, business strategy and plans and objectives of management for future operations, including, among others, statements regarding expected new franchisees, brands, store openings and future capital expenditures are forward-looking statements. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by terms such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “expects,” “plans,” “anticipates,” “could,” “intends,” “targets,” “projects,” “contemplates,” “believes,” “estimates,” “predicts,” “potential” or “continue” or the negative of these terms or other similar expressions.
Forward-looking statements are subject to significant business, economic and competitive risks, uncertainties and contingencies including, but not limited to, the impact of the current novel coronavirus pandemic (“COVID-19”), many of which are difficult to predict and beyond our control, which could cause our actual results to differ materially from the results expressed or implied in such forward-looking statements. These and other risks, uncertainties and contingencies are described in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, including under “Item 1A. Risk Factors”, and the other reports that we file with the SEC from time to time.
These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this Form 10-K. Except as may be required by law, the Company does not undertake, and specifically disclaims any obligation, to publicly release the results of any revisions that may be made to any Forward-Looking Statements to reflect the occurrence of anticipated or unanticipated events or circumstances after the date of such statements.
The following discussion and analysis should be read in conjunction with the Financial Statements of FAT Brands Inc. and the notes thereto included elsewhere in this filing. References in this filing to “the Company,” “we,” “our,” and “us” refer to FAT Brands Inc. and its subsidiaries unless the context indicates otherwise.
ITEM 1. BUSINESS
FAT Brands Inc. is a leading multi-brand restaurant company that develops, markets, acquires and manages quick service, fast casual, casual dining and polished casual dining restaurant concepts around the world. We operate primarily as a franchisor of restaurants, where we generally do not own or operate the restaurant locations but rather generate revenue by charging franchisees an initial franchise fee as well as ongoing royalties. This “asset light” franchisor model provides us with the opportunity for strong profit margins and an attractive free cash flow profile while minimizing restaurant operating company risk, such as long-term real estate commitments or capital investments. For some of our brands, we also directly own and operate restaurant locations, in addition to franchising restaurants.
Our scalable management platform enables us to add new stores and restaurant concepts to our portfolio with minimal incremental corporate overhead cost, while taking advantage of significant corporate overhead synergies. The expansion of our existing brands as well as the acquisition of additional brands and restaurant concepts are key elements of our growth strategy. In addition to our restaurant operations, we own and operate a manufacturing and production facility in Atlanta, Georgia, which supplies our franchisees with cookie dough, pretzel dry mix and other ancillary products.
As of December 25, 2022, our franchisee base consisted of more than 750 franchisees, who operated an aggregate of approximately 2,200 restaurants, including restaurants under construction. Additionally, we directly owned and operated approximately 130 restaurants as of such date. System wide sales of our franchised and owned locations during fiscal 2022 were approximately $2.2 billion.
The FAT Brands Difference – Fresh. Authentic. Tasty.
Our name represents the values that we embrace as a company and the food that we provide to customers – Fresh. Authentic. Tasty (which we refer to as “FAT”). The success of our franchisor model is tied to consistent delivery by our restaurant operators of freshly prepared, made-to-order food that our customers desire. With the input of our customers and franchisees, we continually strive to keep a fresh perspective on our brands by enhancing our existing menu offerings and introducing appealing new menu items. When enhancing our offerings, we ensure that any changes are consistent with the core identity and attributes of our brands, although we do not intend to adapt our brands to be all things to all people. In conjunction with our restaurant operators (which means the individuals who manage and/or own our franchised restaurants), we are committed to delivering authentic, consistent brand experiences that have strong brand identity with customers. Ultimately, we understand that we are only as good as the last meal served, and we are dedicated to having our franchisees consistently deliver tasty, high-quality food and positive guest experiences in their restaurants.
As of December 25, 2022, we were the owner and franchisor of the following restaurant brands in four main categories – Quick Service, Fast Casual, Casual Dining and Polished Casual Dining.
Round Table Pizza. Round Table Pizza is the franchisor of quick service restaurants located primarily in California and the western United States. Round Table pizzas are made with fresh dough and offered in a variety of original flavors and pizza combinations. Customers also have the option to create their own pizzas. Round Table Pizza includes three restaurant formats – Traditional, Clubhouse and Delivery Only.
Marble Slab Creamery. Marble Slab Creamery is a purveyor of hand-mixed ice cream. Founded in 1983, Marble Slab was an innovator of the frozen slab technique where customers select a variety of items to be mixed into their ice cream or frozen yogurt on a chilled marble slab. Marble Slab ice cream is made in small batches in franchise locations using ingredients from around the world and dairy from local farms. Marble Slab has locations in the United States, Canada, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Guam, Kuwait, Pakistan, Puerto Rico and Saudi Arabia.
Great American Cookies. Great American Cookies (which we refer to as “GAC”) was founded in Atlanta, Georgia in 1977 as a single store which relied upon a single chocolate chip cookie recipe. In 1978, GAC began its franchise operations and introduced a complete line of cookies and brownies. Over the last 30 years, GAC further increased its presence in malls throughout the United States and significantly expanded its product offerings. GAC is known for its signature Cookie Cakes, signature flavors and menu of gourmet products baked fresh in store. GAC has franchised stores in the United States, Bahrain, Guam and Saudi Arabia.
Hot Dog on a Stick. Hot Dog on a Stick (which we refer to as “HDOS”) is the franchisor of quick service restaurants primarily located in regional malls in California and the western United States. HDOS founder Dave Barnham opened his first hot dog stand in Santa Monica, California in 1946. HDOS offers its turkey frank dipped in batter and cooked in canola oil, along with fresh squeezed lemonade, hot dog in a bun, cheese on a stick, funnel cake sticks and french fries.
Pretzelmaker. Pretzelmaker and Pretzel Time are franchised concepts that specialize in offering hand-rolled soft pretzels, innovative soft pretzel products, dipping sauces and beverages. Retail locations are primarily located in shopping malls and other types of shopping centers. The brands were founded independently of each other in 1991, united under common ownership in 1998, and consolidated in 2008 to become the new Pretzelmaker.
Fazoli’s. Founded in 1988 in Lexington, Kentucky, Fazoli’s is an Italian restaurant chain known for its fast and fresh premium quality Italian food, including freshly prepared pasta entrees, Submarinos® sandwiches, salads, pizzas, desserts and unlimited signature breadsticks.
Fatburger. Founded in Los Angeles, California in 1947, Fatburger (The Last Great Hamburger Stand) has, throughout its history, maintained its reputation as an iconic, all-American, Hollywood favorite hamburger restaurant serving a variety of freshly made-to-order and customizable Fatburgers, Turkeyburgers, Chicken Sandwiches, Impossible™ Burgers, Veggieburgers, french fries, onion rings, soft-drinks and milkshakes.
Johnny Rockets. Founded in 1986 on iconic Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, California, Johnny Rockets is a world-renowned, international restaurant franchise that offers high quality, innovative menu items including Certified Angus Beef® cooked-to-order hamburgers, Boca Burger®, chicken sandwiches, crispy fries and rich, delicious hand-spun shakes and malts. This dynamic lifestyle brand offers friendly service and upbeat music contributing to the chain’s signature atmosphere of relaxed, casual fun.
Elevation Burger. Established in Northern Virginia in 2002, Elevation Burger is a fast-casual burger, fries and shakes chain that provides its customers with healthier, “elevated” food options. Serving grass-fed beef, organic chicken and french fries cooked using a proprietary olive oil-based frying method, Elevation maintains environmentally friendly operating practices, including responsible sourcing of ingredients, robust recycling programs intended to reduce its carbon footprint, and store décor constructed of eco-friendly materials.
Yalla Mediterranean. Founded in 2014, Yalla Mediterranean is a Los Angeles, California based restaurant chain specializing in authentic, healthful, Mediterranean cuisine with an environmentally conscience and focus on sustainability. The word “yalla”, which means “let’s go”, is embraced in every aspect of Yalla Mediterranean’s culture and is a key component of our concept. Yalla Mediterranean offers a healthful Mediterranean menu of wraps, plates and bowls in a fast-casual setting, with cuisine prepared fresh daily using, GMO-free, local ingredients for a menu that includes vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free options accommodating customers with a wide variety of dietary needs and preferences. The Yalla Mediterranean brand demonstrates its commitment to the environment by using responsibly sourced proteins and utensils, bowls and serving trays made from compostable materials. Due primarily to the COVID-19 pandemic and the emphasis on catering orders, all Yalla Mediterranean stores were closed during the pandemic. We are currently planning to redesign and reintroduce the brand with a rollout of new stores.
Buffalo’s Cafe and Buffalo’s Express. Established in Roswell, Georgia in 1985, Buffalo’s Cafe (Where Everyone is Family) is a family-themed casual dining concept known for its chicken wings and 13 distinctive homemade wing sauces, burgers, wraps, steaks, salads and other classic American cuisine. Featuring a full bar and table service, Buffalo’s Cafe offers a distinctive dining experience affording friends and family the flexibility to share an intimate dinner together or to casually watch sporting events while enjoying extensive menu offerings. Beginning in 2011, Buffalo’s Express was developed and launched as a fast-casual, smaller footprint variant of Buffalo’s Cafe offering a limited version of the full menu with an emphasis on chicken wings, wraps and salads. Current Buffalo’s Express outlets are co-branded with Fatburger locations, providing our franchisees with complementary concepts that share kitchen space and result in a higher average unit volume (compared to stand-alone Fatburger locations).
Hurricane Grill & Wings. Founded in Fort Pierce, Florida in 1995, Hurricane Grill & Wings is a tropical beach themed casual dining restaurant known for its fresh, jumbo, chicken wings, 35 signature sauces, burgers, bowls, tacos, salads and sides. Featuring a full bar and table service, Hurricane Grill & Wings’ laid-back, casual, atmosphere affords family and friends the flexibility to enjoy dining experiences together regardless of the occasion. The acquisition of Hurricane Grill & Wings has been complementary to FAT Brands’ existing portfolio chicken wing brands, Buffalo’s Cafe and Buffalo’s Express.
Ponderosa Steakhouse / Bonanza Steakhouse. Ponderosa Steakhouse, founded in 1965, and Bonanza Steakhouse, founded in 1963, offer the quintessential American steakhouse experience, for which there is strong and growing demand in international markets, particularly in Asia and the Middle East. Ponderosa and Bonanza Steakhouses offer guests a high-quality buffet and broad array of great tasting, affordably priced steak, chicken and seafood entrées. Buffets at Ponderosa and Bonanza Steakhouses feature a large variety of all you can eat salads, soups, appetizers, vegetables, breads, hot main courses and desserts. An additional variation of the brand, Bonanza Steak & BBQ, offers a full-service steakhouse with fresh farm-to-table salad bar and a menu showcasing flame-grilled USDA steaks and house-smoked BBQ, with contemporized interpretations of traditional American classics.
Native Grill & Wings. Based in Chandler, Arizona, Native Grill & Wings is a family-friendly sports grill with locations in Arizona, Illinois and Texas. Native Grill & Wings serves over 20 wing flavors that guests can order by the individual wing, as well as an extensive menu of pizza, burgers, sandwiches and salads.
Polished Casual Dining
Twin Peaks. Founded in 2005 in Dallas, Texas, Twin Peaks is a leading sports lodge-themed restaurant chain known for its scratch made food, 29-degree cold beer and all-female wait staff. Each Twin Peaks restaurant features a sports viewing experience in a comfortable mountain lodge atmosphere with a customized sports programming package provided by DirecTV. Menu items include smashed and seared to order burgers, in-house smoked ribs, street tacos and hand-breaded chicken wings. We currently franchise, and also directly own and operate, Twin Peaks restaurants in various states in the United States, and we have two international franchised Twin Peaks restaurants in Mexico City, Mexico.
Our Competitive Strengths
We believe that our competitive strengths include:
•Management Team Designed to Support Multiple Brands and Categories. As our business has expanded to 17 brands, we have developed a robust and comprehensive management and systems platform designed to support the expansion of our existing brands while enabling for the accretive and efficient acquisition and integration of additional restaurant concepts. We have distinct teams of managers focused on four main categories – Quick Service, Fast Casual, Casual Dining and Polished Casual Dining. Our platform is scalable and adaptable, allowing us to incorporate growth in existing brands and new concepts into the FAT Brands family with minimal incremental corporate costs.
•Strong Brands Aligned with FAT Brands Vision. We have an enviable track record of delivering Fresh, Authentic, and Tasty meals across our franchise system, with leading brands in four categories. Our Fatburger,
Round Table Pizza, Twin Peaks, Johnny Rockets, Fazoli's and Buffalo’s concepts have built distinctive brand identities within their respective categories, providing made-to-order, high-quality food at competitive prices. The Ponderosa and Bonanza brands deliver an authentic American steakhouse experience. Hurricane Grill & Wings and Native Grill & Wings offer customers fresh chicken wings with an assortment of sauces and rubs in a casual dining atmosphere. Yalla Mediterranean offers a healthful Mediterranean menu of wraps, plates, and bowls in a fast-casual setting. Elevation Burger was the first organic burger chain, serving premium grass-fed beef patties and heart-healthy olive oil fries in a family and eco-friendly environment. Maintaining alignment with the FAT Brands vision across an expanding platform, we believe that our concepts appeal to a broad base of domestic and global consumers.
•Ability to Cross-Sell Multiple Brands from the FAT Brands Portfolio. Our ability to easily and efficiently cross-sell to our existing franchisees new brands from our portfolio affords us the ability to grow more quickly and satisfy our existing franchisees’ demands to expand their operations. By having the ability to offer our franchisees a variety of restaurant concepts in multiple categories, our existing franchisees are able to acquire the rights to a well-rounded portfolio of FAT Brands concept offerings to strategically satisfy their respective market demands where opportunities are available. We have developed a pipeline of more than 1,000 restaurants under development driven in part by our diverse and attractive portfolio of brands.
•Asset Light Business Model Driving High Free Cash Flow Conversion. We operate primarily as a franchisor of restaurants, where we generally do not own or operate the restaurant locations but rather generate revenue by charging franchisees an initial franchise fee as well as ongoing royalties based on their sales. This "asset light" franchisor model provides us with the opportunity for strong profit margins and an attractive free cash flow profile while minimizing restaurant operating company risks, such as long-term real estate commitments, capital investments and increases in employee wage costs. For some of our brands, we also directly own and operate restaurant locations.
•Robust Franchisee Support. Our franchisees are our primary customers and we dedicate considerable resources and industry knowledge to promote their success. We offer our franchisees multiple support services such as public relations, supply chain assistance, site selection analysis, staff training and operational oversight and support. We develop and produce most marketing initiatives for our brands in-house, including advertising campaigns, product placements and social media / digital marketing. We have developed a diverse and loyal base of more than 750 franchisees with restaurants located in 40 countries, including 48 states within the United States, without any excessive market concentration among the franchisees.
Our Growth Strategy
The principal elements of our growth strategy include:
•Organically Grow New Store Pipeline and Attract New Franchisees. We have developed a pipeline of more than 1,000 restaurants under development among our existing and newly acquired franchisees. We also believe that the worldwide markets for our brands are far from saturated and can support a significant increase in units through new franchisee relationships. Additionally, we are seeing strong new franchisee activity as well as continued demand from our existing franchise partners to develop other brands within our portfolio. In many cases, prospective franchisees have experience in and knowledge of markets where we are not currently active, facilitating a smoother brand introduction than we or our existing franchisees could achieve independently.
•Expand Our Factory Business. We operate a manufacturing facility in Atlanta, Georgia that supplies batter and pretzel mix to certain of our quick service restaurant brands and operates at approximately 1/3 capacity. We are executing a strategy to expand the facility's production by offering batter to other brand categories within our portfolio and by entering into third-party manufacturing contracts.
•Capitalize on Growth Opportunities in our Polished Casual Dining Category. Twin Peaks is a leading sports lodge-themed restaurant chain known for its scratch made food, 29-degree cold beer and all-female wait staff. Twin Peaks has grown from 85 units to 95 units since our acquisition of the brand in October 2021. We will pursue the continued growth of this brand through additional company-owned and franchised units.
•Acquire New Brands that Enhance Existing Categories. Our management platform was designed and developed to cost-effectively and seamlessly scale with new restaurant concept acquisitions, particularly those in our existing restaurant categories. We may acquire additional categories of restaurant brands that appeal to a broad base of U.S. and
international customers and that would be accretive to our existing portfolio of brands, including restaurants focused on salads, sandwiches, health and organic foods, coffee and dessert outlets and sports bars.
•Accelerate Same-Store Sales Growth. Same-store sales growth reflects the change in year-over-year sales for the comparable store base, which we define as the number of stores open for at least one full fiscal year. To optimize restaurant performance, we have embraced a multi-faceted same-store sales growth strategy. We utilize customer feedback and closely analyze sales data to introduce, test and improve existing and add new menu items. In addition, we regularly utilize public relations and experiential marketing, which we leverage via social media and targeted digital advertising to expand the reach of our brands and to drive traffic to our stores. Furthermore, we have embraced emerging technology and worked with the "Olo" platform to develop our own brand-specific mobile applications, allowing guests to find restaurants, order online, earn rewards and join our e-marketing providers. We have also partnered with third-party delivery service providers, including UberEATS, Grub Hub, DoorDash and Postmates, which provide online and app-based delivery services and constitute a sales channel for our existing locations. Finally, many of our franchisees are pursuing a capital expenditure program to remodel legacy restaurants and to opportunistically co-brand them with our concepts.
•Driving Store Growth Through Co-Branding. We franchise co-branded Fatburger / Buffalo’s Express locations, Johnny Rockets / Hurricane Grill and Wings locations, Great American Cookies / Marble Slab Creamery locations and Pretzel Maker / Great American Cookie locations. Additionally, we tri-brand Fat Burger / Buffalo's Express / Hot Dog on a Stick locations and Great American Cookies / Marble Slab Creamery / Pretzel Maker locations. Each co-brand and tri-brand giving franchisees the flexibility of offering multiple concepts, while sharing kitchen space, resulting in a higher average check (compared to stand-alone Fatburger locations). Franchisees benefit by serving a broader customer base, and we estimate that co-branding and tri-branding results in a 20%-30% increase in average unit volume compared to stand-alone locations with minimal incremental cost to franchisees. Our acquisition strategy reinforces the importance of co-branding, as we expect to offer each of the complementary brands that we acquire to our existing franchisees on a co-branded basis.
•Optimize Capital Structure. In 2021, we funded our acquisition of restaurant brands primarily through the issuances of notes under four separate whole-business securitization facilities, which significantly reduced our net cost of capital compared with acquisitions that we consummated in prior years. In the future, we plan to refinance these notes and may seek an investment rating on a portion of the notes in order to further reduce our cost of capital.
•Continue Expanding FAT Brands Internationally. We have a significant global presence, with franchised stores in 40 countries, including 48 states within the United States. We believe that the appeal of our Fresh, Authentic, and Tasty concepts is global, and we are targeting further penetration of Middle Eastern and Asian markets, particularly through expanding and number of units of several of our existing brands.
•Acquire New Brands that Enhance Existing Categories. Our management platform was designed and developed to cost-effectively and seamlessly scale with new restaurant concept acquisitions, particularly those in our existing restaurant categories. We have identified additional categories of potential acquisitions that appeal to a broad base of U.S. and international customers and that would be accretive to our existing portfolio of brands, including restaurants focused on salads, sandwiches, health and organic foods, coffee and dessert outlets and sports bars.
General. We utilize a franchise development strategy as our primary method for new store growth by leveraging the interest of our existing franchisees and those potential franchisees with an entrepreneurial spirit looking to launch their own business. We have a franchisee qualification and selection process to ensure that each franchisee meets our strict brand standards.
Franchise Agreements. Our current franchise agreements generally provide for an initial franchise fee ranging from $0 to $50,000 per store, and a typical royalty fee of between 0.75% to 7.0% of net sales. In addition, franchisees typically pay an advertising fee based on net sales for local marketing and brand marketing.
Development Agreements. For some of our brands, we use development agreements to facilitate the planned expansion of our restaurants through single and multiple unit development. Each development agreement gives a developer the exclusive right to construct, own and operate stores within a defined area. In exchange, the franchisee agrees to open a minimum number of stores in the area in a prescribed time period. Franchisees that enter into development agreements are required to pay a fee, which is credited against franchise fees due when the store is opened in the future. Franchisees may forfeit such fees and lose their rights to future development if they do not maintain the required store opening schedule.
Our Fresh, Authentic and Tasty values are the anchor that inspires our marketing efforts. Our resolve to maintain our premium positioning, derived from the FAT Brands’ values, is reinforced by our management platform, capital light business model, experienced and diverse global franchisee network and seasoned and passionate management team. Although our marketing and advertising programs are concept-specific, we believe that our restaurant customers appreciate the value of their experiences visiting our establishments and, thus, the core of our marketing strategy is to engage and dialogue with customers at our restaurant locations as well as through social media.
Our Fresh, Authentic and Tasty values are an invitation for restaurant customers to align with FAT Brands’ commitment to consistently deliver freshly prepared, made-to-order food that restaurant customers desire. We are dedicated to keeping a fresh perspective on our concepts, perfecting our existing menu offerings as well as introducing appealing new items. We ensure that any changes are consistent with the core identity of our brands, and we will not adapt our brands to be all things to all people.
Our marketing initiatives include a robust mix of local community marketing, in-store campaigns, product placements, partnerships, promotions, social media, influencer marketing, traditional media and word of mouth advertising. Corresponding with the evolutionary shift in how restaurant customers receive content and engage with media and brands today, we have also dramatically increased our focus on mobile, social, and digital advertising to leverage the content we generate from public relations and experiential marketing to better connect with restaurant customers, sharing information about new menu offerings, promotions, new store openings and other relevant FAT Brands information. We communicate with restaurant customers in creative and organic ways that we believe fortifies our connections with them and increase brand awareness.
Site Selection and Development
Our franchisees work alongside our franchise development department during the search, review, leasing and development process for a new restaurant location. Typically, it takes between 60 and 90 days from the time we sign an agreement with a franchisee until that franchisee signs a lease. When selecting a location, our team assists franchisees in seeking locations based on a variety of factors, including but not limited to traffic patterns, access, visibility, building constraints, competition, activity generators and lease terms.
Supply Chain Assistance
FAT Brands is committed to seeking out and working with best-in-class suppliers and distribution networks on behalf of our franchisees. Our Fresh, Authentic and Tasty vision guides us in how we source and develop our ingredients, always looking for the best ways to provide top quality food that is as competitively priced as possible for our franchisees and their customers. We utilize a third-party purchasing and consulting company that provides distribution, rebate collection, product negotiations, audits and sourcing services focusing on negotiating distributor, vendor and manufacturer contracts, thereby ensuring that our brands receive meaningful buying power for our franchisees.
Our team has developed a reliable supply chain and continues to focus on identifying additional back-ups to avoid or minimize any possible interruption of service and product globally for our franchisees. Domestically, FAT Brands has distribution agreements with broadline national distributors as well as regional providers. Internationally, our franchisees have distribution agreements with different providers market-by-market. We utilize distribution centers operated by our distributors. Our broadline national distributors are the main purchasing link in the United States among many of our suppliers, and distribute most of our dry, refrigerated and frozen goods, non-alcoholic beverages, paper goods and cleaning supplies. Internationally, distributors are also used to provide the majority of products to our franchisees.
Food Safety and Quality Assurance. Food safety is one of our top priorities of FAT Brands. As such, we maintain rigorous safety standards for our menu offerings. We have carefully selected preferred suppliers that adhere to our safety standards, and our franchisees are required to source their ingredients from these approved suppliers. Furthermore, our commitment to food safety is strengthened through the direct relationship between our Supply Chain and Field Consultant Assistance teams.
Management Information Systems
FAT Brands restaurants utilize a variety of back-office, computerized and manual, point-of-sale systems and tools. We utilize these systems following a multi-faceted approach to monitor restaurants operational performance, food safety, quality control, customer feedback and profitability.
The point-of-sale systems are designed specifically for the restaurant industry and we use many customized features to evaluate operational performance, provide data analysis, marketing promotional tracking, guest and table management, high-speed credit card and gift card processing, daily transaction data, daily sales information, product mix, average transaction size, order modes, revenue centers and other key business intelligence data. Utilizing these point-of-sale systems back-end, web-based, enterprise level, software solution dashboards, our home office and Franchise Operations Consultant Support staff are provided with real-time access to detailed business data which allows for our home office and Franchise Operations Consultant Support staff to closely, and remotely, monitor stores performance and assist in providing focused and timely support to our franchisees. Furthermore, these systems supply sales, bank deposit and variance data to our accounting department on a daily basis, and we use this data to generate daily sales information and weekly consolidated reports regarding sales and other key measures for each restaurant with final reports following the end of each period.
In addition to utilizing these point-of-sale systems, FAT Brands utilizes systems which provide detailed, real-time (and historical) operational data for all locations, allowing our management team to track product inventories, equipment temperatures, repair and maintenance schedules, intra-shift team communications, consistency in following standard operating procedures and tracking of tasks. FAT Brands also utilizes a web-based employee scheduling software program providing franchisees, and their management teams, increased flexibility and awareness of scheduling needs allowing them to efficiently, and appropriately, manage their labor costs and store staffing requirements/needs. Lastly, FAT Brands utilizes a proprietary customer feedback system allowing customers to provide feedback in real-time to our entire management team, franchisees and store managers.
Field Consultant Assistance
In conjunction with utilizing the FAT Brands Management Information Systems, FAT Brands has a team of dedicated Franchise Operations Consultant Support staff who oversee designated market areas and specific subsets of restaurants. Our Franchise Operations Consultant Support staff work in the field daily with franchisees, and their management teams, to ensure that the integrity of all FAT Brands concepts are upheld and that franchisees are utilizing the tools and systems FAT Brands requires in order to provide input to our franchisees to assist them to optimize and accelerate their profitability. FAT Brands Franchise Operations Consultant Support staff responsibilities include the following, many of which are performed on a rotating basis (but are not limited to):
•Conducting announced and unannounced store visits and evaluations;
•Continuous training and re-training of new and existing franchise operations;
•Conducting quarterly workshops for franchisees and their management teams;
•Development and collection of monthly profit and loss statements for each store;
•Store set-up, training, oversight and support for pre- and post- new store openings;
•Training, oversight and implementation of in-store marketing initiatives; and
•Inspections of equipment, temperatures, food-handling procedures, customer service, products in store, cleanliness, and team member attitude.
Training, Pre-Opening Assistance and Opening Support
FAT Brands offers Executive level and Operational level training programs to its franchisees, pre-opening assistance and opening assistance. Once open, FAT Brands continually provides ongoing operational and marketing support to our franchisees with the intention of offering advice to their management teams that they can use if they choose to more effectively operate their restaurants and increasing their stores financial profitability.
Our franchised and company owned restaurants compete in the quick service, fast casual, casual and polished casual dining categories of the restaurant industry, a highly competitive industry in terms of price, service, location, and food quality.
The restaurant industry is often affected by changes in consumer trends, economic conditions, demographics, traffic patterns, and concern about the nutritional content of food. Furthermore, there are many well-established competitors with substantially greater financial resources than the Company's, including several national, international, regional and local store franchisors and operators. The restaurant industry also has few barriers to entry and new competitors may emerge at any time.
Seasonality and Effects of Weather
While some of our brands are subject to seasonal fluctuations in their sales and may be affected by inclement weather, our business overall does not experience significant seasonal variability in its financial performance. Holidays and severe weather in certain regions, including hurricanes, tornados, thunderstorms, snow and ice storms, prolonged extreme temperatures and similar conditions, may impact restaurant sales volumes in some of the markets in which we operate. In addition, the risk of increasingly severe weather due to climate change or the risk that those events happen more frequently could increasingly affect our operations in the future.
We own, domestically and internationally, valuable intellectual property including trademarks, service marks, trade secrets and other proprietary information related to our restaurant and corporate brands. This intellectual property includes logos and trademarks which are of material importance to our business. Depending on the jurisdiction, trademarks and service marks generally are valid as long as they are used and/or registered. We seek to actively protect and defend our intellectual property from infringement and misuse.
Human Capital Resources
We believe that our employees are critical to our success and seek to provide a working environment which encourages personal growth and success in our workforce. We believe that we have good relations with our employees and offer competitive compensation and benefits customary to our industry. Our benefits package for qualified employees includes employer paid health insurance and opportunities for stock-based incentives. Our restaurant employees receive continuing training and have the opportunity to advance in responsibility and leadership.
We believe that communication is key to the effectiveness of our workforce and schedule regular weekly conference calls with all of our corporate employees, updating them on the direction of the business, important developments within our company and the industry and key milestones to be achieved. We also encourage our employees to be involved in their communities and directly operate two charities - The Seeds of Compassion Fund, Inc., a charitable foundation that provides disaster relief to local communities, and FAT Brands Foundation, a charitable foundation that was organized and seeded by FAT Brands and which seeks additional contributions from our employees, franchise partners and brand partners. From time to time, we also sponsor meal events for first responders and medical professionals during local disasters.
As of December 25, 2022, we had approximately 5,400 employees, including approximately 1,100 full time employees. This amount includes approximately 825 full time and 4,300 part time employees at restaurants which we own and operate. We have a diverse workforce and recently appointed an executive level Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer. As an equal opportunity employer, all qualified applicants receive consideration without regard to race, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, protected veteran status, disability, age or any other legally protected status.
U.S. Operations. Our U.S. operations are subject to various federal, state and local laws affecting our business, primarily laws and regulations concerning the franchisor/franchisee relationship, marketing, food labeling, labor and employment, sanitation and safety and anti-bribery and anti-corruption laws. Various federal and state labor laws, along with rules and regulations, govern our relationship with our employees, including such matters as minimum wage, overtime, tip credits, health insurance, working conditions, safety and work eligibility requirements. Each of our franchised and company owned restaurants in the U.S. must comply with licensing and regulation by a number of governmental authorities, which include health, sanitation, safety, fire and zoning agencies in the state and/or municipality in which the restaurant is located. In addition, alcoholic beverage control regulations require each of our restaurants which sells alcohol to apply to a federal and state authority and, in certain locations, municipal authorities for a license and permit to sell alcoholic beverages on and off-premises. Typically, licenses must be renewed annually and may be revoked or suspended for cause by such authority at any time. To date, we have not been materially adversely affected by such licensing and regulation or by any difficulty, delay or failure to obtain required licenses or approvals.
International Operations. Our restaurants outside the U.S. are subject to national and local laws and regulations which in general are similar to those affecting U.S. restaurants. The restaurants outside the U.S. are also subject to tariffs and
regulations on imported commodities and equipment and laws regulating foreign investment, as well as anti-bribery and anti-corruption laws.
See “Risk Factors” for a discussion of risks relating to federal, state, local and international regulation of our business.
Our Corporate Information
FAT Brands Inc. was formed as a Delaware corporation on March 21, 2017. Our corporate headquarters are located at 9720 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 500, Beverly Hills, California 90212. Our main telephone number is (310) 319-1850. Our principal Internet website address is www.fatbrands.com. The information on our website is not incorporated by reference into, or a part of, this Annual Report.
Our Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K, and amendments to reports filed pursuant to Sections 13(a) and 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), are filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). We are subject to the informational requirements of the Exchange Act and file or furnish reports, proxy statements and other information with the SEC. The public may read and copy any materials filed by us with the SEC at the SEC’s Public Reference Room at 100 F Street, NE, Room 1580, Washington, DC 20549, and may obtain information on the operation of the Public Reference Room by calling the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330. The SEC maintains an Internet site that contains reports, proxy and information statements and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC at www.sec.gov. The contents of these websites are not incorporated into this Annual Report. Further, our references to the URLs for these websites are intended to be inactive textual references only. We also make the documents listed above available without charge through the Investor Relations Section of our website at www.fatbrands.com.
ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS
Except for the historical information contained herein or incorporated by reference, this report and the information incorporated by reference contain forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. These statements include projections about our accounting and finances, plans and objectives for the future, future operating and economic performance and other statements regarding future performance. These statements are not guarantees of future performance or events. Our actual results could differ materially from those discussed in this report. Factors that could cause or contribute to these differences include, but are not limited to, those discussed in the following section, as well as those discussed in Part II, Item 7 entitled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and elsewhere throughout this report and in any documents incorporated in this report by reference.
You should carefully consider the following risk factors and in the other information included or incorporated in this report. If any of the following risks, either alone or taken together, or other risks not presently known to us or that we currently believe to not be significant, develop into actual events, then our business, financial condition, results of operations or prospects could be materially adversely affected. If that happens, the market price of our common stock could decline, and stockholders may lose all or part of their investment.
Risks Related to Our Franchised Business Model
Our operating and financial results and growth strategies are closely tied to the success of our franchisees.
Most of our restaurants are operated by franchisees, which makes us dependent on the financial success and cooperation of our franchisees. We have limited control over how our franchisees’ businesses are run, and the inability of franchisees to operate successfully could adversely affect our operating and financial results through decreased royalty payments. If our franchisees incur too much debt, if their operating expenses or commodity prices increase or if economic or sales trends deteriorate such that they are unable to operate profitably or repay existing debt, it could result in their financial distress, including insolvency or bankruptcy. If a significant franchisee or a significant number of our franchisees become financially distressed, our operating and financial results could be impacted through reduced or delayed royalty payments. Our success also depends on the willingness and ability of our franchisees to implement major initiatives, which may include financial investment. Our franchisees may be unable to successfully implement strategies that we believe are necessary for their further growth, which in turn may harm the growth prospects and financial condition of the company. Additionally, the failure of our franchisees to focus on the fundamentals of restaurant operations, such as quality service and cleanliness (even if such failures do not rise to the level of breaching the related franchise documents), could have a negative impact on our business.
Our franchisees could take actions that could harm our business and may not accurately report sales.
Our franchisees are contractually obligated to operate their restaurants in accordance with the operations, safety, and health standards set forth in our agreements with them and applicable laws. However, although we attempt to properly train and support all our franchisees, they are independent third parties whom we do not control. The franchisees own, operate, and oversee the daily operations of their restaurants, and their employees are not our employees. Accordingly, their actions are outside of our control. Although we have developed criteria to evaluate and screen prospective franchisees, we cannot be certain that our franchisees will have the business acumen or financial resources necessary to operate successful franchises at their approved locations, and state franchise laws may limit our ability to terminate or not renew these franchise agreements. Moreover, despite our training, support and monitoring, franchisees may not successfully operate restaurants in a manner consistent with our standards and requirements or may not hire and adequately train qualified managers and other restaurant personnel. The failure of our franchisees to operate their franchises in accordance with our standards or applicable law, actions taken by their employees or a negative publicity event at one of our franchised restaurants or involving one of our franchisees could have a material adverse effect on our reputation, our brands, our ability to attract prospective franchisees, our company-owned restaurants, and our business, financial condition or results of operations.
Franchisees typically use a point of sale, or POS, cash register system to record all sales transactions at the restaurant. We require franchisees to use a specific brand or model of hardware or software components for their restaurant system. Currently, franchisees report sales manually and electronically, but we do not have the ability to verify all sales data electronically by accessing their POS cash register systems. We have the right under our franchise agreement to audit franchisees to verify sales information provided to us, and we have the ability to indirectly verify sales based on purchasing information but this cannot be done economically across all franchisees. However, franchisees may underreport sales, which would reduce royalty income otherwise payable to us and adversely affect our operating and financial results.
If we fail to identify, recruit and contract with a sufficient number of qualified franchisees, our ability to open new franchised restaurants and increase our revenues could be materially adversely affected.
The opening of additional franchised restaurants depends, in part, upon the availability of prospective franchisees who meet our criteria. Most of our franchisees open and operate multiple restaurants, and our growth strategy requires us to identify, recruit and contract with a significant number of new franchisees each year. We may not be able to identify, recruit or contract with suitable franchisees in our target markets on a timely basis or at all. In addition, our franchisees may not have access to the financial or management resources that they need to open the restaurants contemplated by their agreements with us, or they may elect to cease restaurant development for other reasons. If we are unable to recruit suitable franchisees or if franchisees are unable or unwilling to open new restaurants as planned, our growth may be slower than anticipated, which could materially adversely affect our ability to increase our revenues and materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
If we fail to open new domestic and international franchisee-owned restaurants on a timely basis, our ability to increase our revenues could be materially adversely affected.
A significant component of our growth strategy includes the opening of new domestic and international franchised restaurants. Our franchisees face many challenges associated with opening new restaurants, including:
•identification and availability of suitable restaurant locations with the appropriate size; visibility; traffic patterns; local residential neighborhood, retail and business attractions; and infrastructure that will drive high levels of customer traffic and sales per restaurant;
•competition with other restaurants and retail concepts for potential restaurant sites and anticipated commercial, residential and infrastructure development near new or potential restaurants;
•ability to negotiate acceptable lease arrangements;
•availability of financing and ability to negotiate acceptable financing terms;
•recruiting, hiring and training of qualified personnel;
•construction and development cost management;
•completing their construction activities on a timely basis;
•obtaining all necessary governmental licenses, permits and approvals and complying with local, state and federal laws and regulations to open, construct or remodel and operate our franchised restaurants;
•unforeseen engineering or environmental problems with the leased premises;
•avoiding the impact of adverse weather during the construction period; and
•other unanticipated increases in costs, delays or cost overruns.
As a result of these challenges, our franchisees may not be able to open new restaurants as quickly as planned or at all. Our franchisees have experienced, and expect to continue to experience, delays in restaurant openings from time to time and have abandoned plans to open restaurants in various markets on occasion. Any delays or failures to open new restaurants by our franchisees could materially and adversely affect our growth strategy and our results of operations.
Negative publicity relating to one of our franchised restaurants could reduce sales at some or all of our other franchised restaurants.
Our success is dependent in part upon our ability to maintain and enhance the value of our brands, consumers’ connection to our brands and positive relationships with our franchisees. We may, from time to time, be faced with negative publicity relating to food quality, public health concerns, restaurant facilities, customer complaints or litigation alleging illness or injury, health inspection scores, integrity of our franchisees or their suppliers’ food processing, employee relationships or other matters, regardless of whether the allegations are valid or whether or not the Company is held to be responsible. The negative impact of adverse publicity relating to one franchised restaurant may extend far beyond that restaurant or franchisee involved to affect some or all our other franchised restaurants. The risk of negative publicity is particularly great with respect to our franchised restaurants because we are limited in the manner in which we can control a franchisee’s operations and messaging, especially on a real-time basis. The considerable expansion in the use of social media over recent years can further amplify any negative publicity that could be generated by such incidents. A similar risk exists with respect to unrelated food service businesses, if consumers associate those businesses with our own or franchised operations. Additionally, employee claims against us based on, among other things, wage and hour violations, discrimination, harassment or wrongful termination may also create negative publicity that could adversely affect us and divert our financial and management resources that would otherwise be used to benefit the future performance of our operations. A significant increase in the number of these claims or an increase in the number of successful claims would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Consumer demand for our products and our brands’ value could diminish significantly if any such incidents or other matters create negative publicity or otherwise erode consumer confidence in us or our products, which would likely result in lower sales and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our brands’ value may be limited or diluted through franchisee and third-party activity.
Although we monitor and regulate certain aspects of franchisee activities under the terms of our franchise agreements, franchisees or other third parties may refer to or make statements about our brands that do not make proper use of our trademarks or required designations, that improperly alter trademarks or branding, or that are critical of our brands or place our brands in a context that may tarnish our reputation. This may result in dilution of, or harm to, our intellectual property or the value of our brands. Franchisee noncompliance with the terms and conditions of our franchise agreements may reduce the overall goodwill of our brands, whether through the failure to meet health and safety standards, engage in quality control or maintain product consistency, or through the participation in improper or objectionable business practices. Moreover, unauthorized third parties may use our intellectual property to trade on the goodwill of our brands, resulting in consumer confusion or dilution of our brands’ value. Any reduction of our brands’ goodwill, consumer confusion, or reputational dilution is likely to impact sales, and could materially and adversely impact our business and results of operations.
Risks Relating to Our Business and Operations
We have significant outstanding indebtedness under our whole-business securitization facilities, which require that we generate sufficient cash flow to satisfy the payment and other obligations under the terms of our debt and exposes us to the risk of default and lender remedies.
We have financed our acquisitions and operations through the issuance of notes by four special purpose, wholly-owned financing subsidiaries, which own substantially all of our operations. The Company acts as the manager of each of these subsidiaries under a Management Agreement and performs management, franchising, distribution, intellectual property and operational functions on behalf of the subsidiaries for which it receives a management fee. The aggregate principal balance of
the indebtedness under our whole-business securitization facilities was $1.0 billion as of December 25, 2022. Subject to contractual restrictions, we and our financing subsidiaries may incur additional indebtedness for various purposes, including to fund future acquisitions, the construction of company-owned restaurants and operational needs. The terms of our outstanding indebtedness provide for significant principal and interest payments, and subjects us to certain financial and non-financial covenants, including a debt service coverage ratio calculation, as defined in the applicable Indentures for these facilities. If certain covenants are not met, the indebtedness under these facilities may become partially or fully due and payable on an accelerated schedule. Our ability to meet the payment obligations under our debt depends on our ability to generate significant cash flow in the future. We cannot assure you that our business will generate cash flow from operations, or that other capital will be available to us, in amounts sufficient to enable us to meet our payment obligations under our Indentures and to fund our other liquidity needs. If we are not able to generate sufficient cash flow to service these obligations, we may need to refinance or restructure our debt, sell unencumbered assets (if any) or seek to raise additional capital. If we are unable to implement one or more of these options, we may not be able to meet these payment obligations, and the imposition of remedies by the note holders could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and liquidity.
We may pursue opportunistic acquisitions of additional brands, and we may not find suitable acquisition candidates or successfully operate or integrate any brands that we may acquire.
As part of our growth strategy, we may opportunistically acquire new brands and restaurant concepts. Although we believe that opportunities for future acquisitions may be available from time to time, competition for acquisition candidates may exist or increase in the future. Consequently, there may be fewer acquisition opportunities available to us as well as higher acquisition prices. There can be no assurance that we will be able to identify, acquire, manage or successfully integrate additional brands or restaurant concepts (including brands and concepts that we have already acquired) without substantial costs, delays or operational or financial problems.
The difficulties of integration include coordinating and consolidating geographically separated systems and facilities, integrating the management and personnel of the acquired brands, maintaining employee morale and retaining key employees, implementing our management information systems and financial accounting and reporting systems, establishing and maintaining effective internal control over financial reporting, and implementing operational procedures and disciplines to control costs and increase profitability.
In the event we are able to acquire additional brands or restaurant concepts, the integration and operation of such acquisitions may place significant demands on our management, which could adversely affect our ability to manage our existing restaurants. In addition, we may be required to obtain additional financing to fund future acquisitions, but there can be no assurance that we will be able to obtain additional financing on acceptable terms or at all.
Health concerns arising from outbreaks of diseases, other than COVID-19, may have an adverse effect on our business.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 had a number of adverse effects on our business and that of our franchisees, including temporary and permanent closures of restaurant locations, reduced or modified store operating hours, difficulties in staffing restaurants and supply chain disruptions. While the disruptions to our business from the COVID-19 pandemic have mostly subsided, the resurgence of COVID-19 or its variants, as well as an outbreak of other widespread health epidemics or pandemics, could cause a closure of restaurants and disrupt our operations and have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Furthermore, since diseases may be transmitted through human contact, the risk of contracting diseases could cause employees or guests to avoid gathering in public places, which could adversely affect restaurant guest traffic or the ability to adequately staff our restaurants. We could also be adversely affected if jurisdictions in which our restaurants operate impose mandatory closures, seek voluntary closures or impose restrictions on operations of restaurants. Even if such measures are not implemented and a virus or other disease, the perceived risk of infection or health risk may adversely affect our business.
Food safety and foodborne illness concerns may have an adverse effect on our business.
Foodborne illnesses, such as E. coli, hepatitis A, trichinosis and salmonella, occur or may occur within our system from time to time. In addition, food safety issues such as food tampering, contamination and adulteration occur or may occur within our system from time to time. Any report or publicity linking one of our franchisee’s restaurants, or linking our competitors or our industry generally, to instances of foodborne illness or food safety issues could adversely affect our brands and reputations as well as our revenues and profits, and possibly lead to product liability claims, litigation and damages. If a customer of one of our franchisees’ restaurants becomes ill as a result of food safety issues, restaurants in our system may be temporarily closed, which would decrease our revenues. In addition, instances or allegations of foodborne illness or food safety issues, real or perceived, involving our franchised restaurants, restaurants of competitors, or suppliers or distributors (regardless
of whether we use or have used those suppliers or distributors), or otherwise involving the types of food served at our franchisees’ restaurants, could result in negative publicity that could adversely affect our revenues or the sales of our franchisees. Additionally, allegations of foodborne illness or food safety issues could result in litigation involving us and our franchisees. The occurrence of foodborne illnesses or food safety issues could also adversely affect the price and availability of affected ingredients, which could result in disruptions in our supply chain and/or lower revenues and margins for us and our franchisees.
The sale of alcoholic beverages at Twin Peaks Restaurants subjects us to additional regulations and potential liability.
The Twin Peaks restaurants that we own and operate sell alcoholic beverages, and we are therefore required to comply with the alcohol licensing requirements of the federal government, states and municipalities where such restaurants are located. Alcoholic beverage control regulations require applications to state authorities and, in certain locations, county and municipal authorities for a license and permit to sell alcoholic beverages on the premises and to provide service for extended hours and on Sundays. Typically, the licenses are renewed annually and may be revoked or suspended for cause at any time. Alcoholic beverage control regulations relate to numerous aspects of the daily operations of the restaurants, including minimum age of guests and employees, hours of operation, advertising, wholesale purchasing, inventory control and handling, storage and dispensing of alcoholic beverages. If we fail to comply with federal, state or local regulations, such licenses may be revoked and our Twin Peaks restaurants may be forced to terminate the sale of alcoholic beverages. Any termination of the sale of alcoholic beverages could have a significant negative impact on our revenues. Similarly, any reduction in state blood alcohol content limits on drivers, or laws relating to vehicle interlocking devices, could also have a significant negative impact on revenues of the Twin Peaks restaurants.
In certain states in which Twin Peaks restaurants are situated, we may be subject to dram shop statutes. These statutes generally provide a person injured by an intoxicated person the right to recover damages from an establishment that wrongfully served alcoholic beverages to the intoxicated individual. Recent litigation against restaurant chains has resulted in significant judgments and settlements under dram shop statutes. Because these cases often seek punitive damages, which may not be covered by insurance, such litigation could have an adverse impact on our business, results of operations or financial condition. Regardless of whether any claims against us or our Twin Peaks operations are valid or whether we are liable, claims may be expensive to defend and may divert time and money away from operations and hurt our financial performance. A judgment significantly in excess of insurance coverage or not covered by insurance could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. Adverse publicity resulting from these allegations may materially affect us and the Twin Peaks restaurants. In addition, it may not be possible to obtain adequate levels of insurance coverage in the future for alcohol related claims, and such coverage may not be available for reasonable insurance premiums.
Our success depends substantially on our corporate reputation and on the value and perception of our brands.
Our success depends in large part upon our and our franchisees’ ability to maintain and enhance the value of our brands and our customers’ loyalty to our brands. Brand value is based in part on consumer perceptions on a variety of subjective qualities. Business incidents, whether isolated or recurring, and whether originating from us, franchisees, competitors, suppliers or distributors, can significantly reduce brand value and consumer trust, particularly if the incidents receive considerable publicity or result in litigation. For example, our brands could be damaged by claims or perceptions about the quality or safety of our products or the quality or reputation of our suppliers, distributors or franchisees, regardless of whether such claims or perceptions are true. Similarly, entities in our supply chain may engage in conduct, including alleged human rights abuses or environmental wrongdoing, and any such conduct could damage our or our brands’ reputations. Any such incidents (even if resulting from actions of a competitor or franchisee) could cause a decline directly or indirectly in consumer confidence in, or the perception of, our brands and/or our products and reduce consumer demand for our products, which would likely result in lower revenues and profits. Additionally, our corporate reputation could suffer from a real or perceived failure of corporate governance or misconduct by a company officer, or an employee or representative of us or a franchisee.
Failure to protect our service marks or other intellectual property could harm our business.
We regard our service marks and trademarks related to our franchise restaurant businesses, as having critical importance to our future operations and marketing efforts. We rely on a combination of protections provided by contracts, copyrights, patents, trademarks, service marks and other common law rights, such as trade secret and unfair competition laws, to protect our franchised restaurants and services from infringement. We have registered certain trademarks and service marks in the U.S. and foreign jurisdictions. However, from time to time we become aware of names and marks identical or confusingly similar to our service marks being used by other persons. Although our policy is to oppose any such infringement, further or unknown unauthorized uses or other misappropriation of our trademarks or service marks could diminish the value of our brands and adversely affect our business. In addition, effective intellectual property protection may not be available in every
country in which our franchisees have, or intend to open or franchise, a restaurant. There can be no assurance that these protections will be adequate and defending or enforcing our service marks and other intellectual property could result in the expenditure of significant resources. We may also face claims of infringement that could interfere with the use of the proprietary know how, concepts, recipes, or trade secrets used in our business. Defending against such claims may be costly, and we may be prohibited from using such proprietary information in the future or forced to pay damages, royalties, or other fees for using such proprietary information, any of which could negatively affect our business, reputation, financial condition, and results of operations.
If our franchisees are unable to protect their customers’ credit card data and other personal information, our franchisees could be exposed to data loss, litigation, and liability, and our reputation could be significantly harmed.
Privacy protection is increasingly demanding, and the use of electronic payment methods and collection of other personal information expose our franchisees to increased risk of privacy and/or security breaches as well as other risks. The majority of our franchisees’ restaurant sales are by credit or debit cards. In connection with credit or debit card transactions in-restaurant, our franchisees collect and transmit confidential information by way of secure private retail networks. Additionally, our franchisees collect and store personal information from individuals, including their customers and employees.
If a person is able to circumvent our franchisees’ security measures or those of third parties, he or she could destroy or steal valuable information or disrupt our operations. Our franchisees may become subject to claims for purportedly fraudulent transactions arising out of the actual or alleged theft of credit or debit card information, and our franchisees may also be subject to lawsuits or other proceedings relating to these types of incidents. Any such claim or proceeding could cause our franchisees to incur significant unplanned expenses, which could have an adverse impact on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. Further, adverse publicity resulting from these allegations could significantly harm our reputation and may have a material adverse effect on us and our franchisees’ business.
We and our franchisees rely on computer systems to process transactions and manage our business, and a disruption or a failure of such systems or technology could harm our ability to effectively manage our business.
Network and information technology systems are integral to our business. We utilize various computer systems, including our franchisee reporting system, by which our franchisees report their weekly sales and pay their corresponding royalty fees and required advertising fund contributions. When sales are reported by a franchisee, a withdrawal for the authorized amount is initiated from the franchisee’s bank on a set date each week based on gross sales during the week ended the prior Sunday. This system is critical to our ability to accurately track sales and compute royalties and advertising fund contributions and receive timely payments due from our franchisees. Our operations depend upon our ability to protect our computer equipment and systems against damage from physical theft, fire, power loss, telecommunications failure or other catastrophic events, as well as from internal and external security breaches, viruses, worms and other disruptive problems. Any damage or failure of our computer systems or network infrastructure that causes an interruption in our operations could have a material adverse effect on our business and subject us to litigation or actions by regulatory authorities. Despite the implementation of protective measures, our systems are subject to damage and/or interruption as a result of power outages, computer and network failures, computer viruses and other disruptive software, security breaches, catastrophic events, and improper usage by employees. Such events could result in a material disruption in operations, a need for a costly repair, upgrade or replacement of systems, or a decrease in, or in the collection of, royalties and advertising fund contributions paid to us by our franchisees. To the extent that any disruption or security breach were to result in a loss of, or damage to, our data or applications, or inappropriate disclosure of confidential or proprietary information, we could incur liability which could materially affect our results of operations. It is also critical that we establish and maintain certain licensing and software agreements for the software we use in our day-to-day operations. A failure to procure or maintain these licenses could have a material adverse effect on our business operations.
Our business may be adversely affected by cybersecurity incidents, which result in unauthorized access, theft, modification or destruction of confidential information that is stored in our systems or by third parties on our behalf.
Cybersecurity incidents or other unauthorized access to systems may result in disruption to our operations, corruption or theft of critical data, confidential information or intellectual property. As reliance on technology continues to grow and more business activities have shifted online, the risk associated with any cybersecurity incidents have grown. While we and our third-party vendors have implemented security systems and infrastructure to prevent, detect and/or mitigate the risk of unauthorized access to technology systems or platforms, there can be no assurance that these measures will be effective. Any cybersecurity or similar incident involving confidential information of our business, our franchisees or our restaurant customers could result in negative publicity, damage to our reputation, a loss of revenues, disruption of our business, litigation and regulatory actions. Additional capital investments might be required to remediate any problems, infringements, misappropriations or other third-party claims.
The retail food industry in which we operate is highly competitive.
The retail food industry in which we operate is highly competitive with respect to price and quality of food products, new product development, advertising levels and promotional initiatives, customer service, reputation, restaurant location, and attractiveness and maintenance of properties. If consumer or dietary preferences change, if our marketing efforts are unsuccessful, or if our franchisees’ restaurants are unable to compete successfully with other retail food outlets in new and existing markets, our business could be adversely affected. We also face growing competition as a result of convergence in grocery, convenience, deli and restaurant services, including the offering by the grocery industry of convenient meals, including pizzas and entrees with side dishes. Competition from delivery aggregators and other food delivery services has also increased in recent years, particularly in urbanized areas. Increased competition could have an adverse effect on our sales, profitability or development plans, which could harm our financial condition and operating results.
Supply chain shortages or interruptions in the availability and delivery of food and other supplies may increase costs or reduce revenues.
The food products sold by our franchisees and in our company-owned restaurants, and the raw materials used in their these restaurants, are sourced from a variety of domestic and international vendors, suppliers and distributors. We, along with our franchisees, are also dependent upon third parties to make frequent deliveries of food products and supplies that meet our specifications at competitive prices. Shortages or interruptions in the supply of food items, raw materials and other supplies to our franchisees’ restaurants could adversely affect the availability, quality and cost of items we use and the operations of our franchisees’ and company-owned restaurants. If such shortages result in increased cost of food items and supplies, we and our franchisees may not be able to pass along all of such increased costs to restaurant customers.
Such shortages or disruptions could be caused by inclement weather, natural disasters, increased demand, problems in production or distribution, restrictions on imports or exports, the inability of vendors to obtain credit, political instability in the countries in which suppliers and distributors are located, the financial instability of suppliers and distributors, suppliers’ or distributors’ failure to meet our standards, product quality issues, inflation, the price of gasoline, other factors relating to the suppliers and distributors and the countries in which they are located, food safety warnings or advisories or the prospect of such pronouncements, the cancellation of supply or distribution agreements or an inability to renew such arrangements or to find replacements on commercially reasonable terms, or other conditions beyond our control or the control of our franchisees or us. Increasing weather volatility or other long-term changes in global weather patterns, including any changes associated with global climate change, could have a significant impact on the price, availability and timing of delivery of some of our ingredients. If inflation in food ingredients or supplies persists, our financial condition and business operations could be adversely impacted.
A shortage or interruption in the availability of certain food products, raw materials or supplies could increase costs and limit the availability of products critical to our franchisees’ and company-owned restaurant operations, which in turn could lead to restaurant closures and/or a decrease in sales and therefore , and a reduction in our revenues and royalty fees paid to us. In addition, failure by a key supplier or distributor to our franchisees to meet its service requirements could lead to a disruption of service or supply until a new supplier or distributor is engaged, and any disruption could have an adverse effect on our franchisees and therefore our business. See “Business—Supply Chain Assistance.”
Climate change and the shift to more sustainable business practices could negatively affect our business or damage our reputation.
Climate change may increase the risk of severe weather or the risk that those events happen more frequently, which could cause negatively affect restaurant sales volumes in some of the markets in which we operate and may result in decreased availability or less favorable pricing for certain commodities used in our products, such as beef, chicken and dairy. In addition, climate change may increase the frequency or severity of natural disasters and other extreme weather conditions, which could disrupt our supply chain generally or otherwise impact demand for our products. Also, concern over climate change and other sustainable business practices may result in new or increased legal and regulatory requirements or generally accepted business practices, which could significantly increase our costs. Legislative, regulatory or other efforts to combat climate change or other environmental concerns could result in future increases in the cost of raw materials, taxes, transportation and utilities, which could affect our results of operations and necessitate future investments in facilities and equipment. In addition, a failure to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions or adopt other sustainable business practices or the perception of a failure to act responsibly with respect to the environment or to effectively respond to regulatory requirements concerning climate change or
other sustainable business practices can lead to adverse publicity, diminish the value of our brands and result in an adverse effect on our business.
Our business may be adversely impacted by changes in consumer discretionary spending, general economic conditions, or consumer behavior.
Purchases at our franchisees’ restaurants are generally discretionary for consumers and, therefore, our results of operations are susceptible to economic slowdowns and recessions. Our results of operations are dependent upon discretionary spending by customers of our franchisees’ restaurants, which may be affected by general economic conditions globally or in one or more of the markets we serve. Some of the factors that impact discretionary consumer spending include unemployment rates, fluctuations in the level of disposable income, the price of gasoline, stock market performance, changes in the level of consumer confidence, and long-term changes in consumer behavior related to social distancing behaviors resulting from COVID-19 or other widespread health events. These and other macroeconomic factors could have an adverse effect on sales at our franchisees’ restaurants, which could lead to an adverse effect on our profitability or development plans and harm our financial condition and operating results.
Our expansion into international markets exposes us to a number of risks that may differ in each country where we have franchised restaurants.
We currently have franchised restaurants in 40 countries, including 48 states within the United States, and we plan to continue to grow internationally. Expansion in international markets may be affected by local economic and market as well as geopolitical conditions. Therefore, as we expand internationally, our franchisees may not experience the operating margins we expect, and our growth and our results of operations and growth may be materially and adversely affected. Our financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected if global markets in which our franchised restaurants compete are affected by changes in political, economic or other factors. These factors, over which neither our franchisees nor we have control, may include such issues as (but not limited to):
•recessionary or expansive trends in international markets;
•changing labor conditions and difficulties in staffing and managing our foreign operations;
•increases in the taxes we pay and other changes in applicable tax laws;
•legal and regulatory changes, and the burdens and costs of our compliance with a variety of foreign laws;
•changes in inflation rates;
•changes in exchange rates and the imposition of restrictions on currency conversion or the transfer of funds;
•difficulty in protecting our brand, reputation and intellectual property;
•difficulty in collecting our royalties and longer payment cycles;
•expropriation of private enterprises;
•increases in anti-American sentiment and the identification of our brands as American brands;
•political and economic instability; and
•other external factors.
We depend on key executive management.
We depend on the leadership and experience of our relatively small number of key executive management personnel. The loss of the services of any of our executive management members could have a material adverse effect on our business and prospects, as we may not be able to find suitable individuals to replace such personnel on a timely basis or without incurring increased costs, or at all. We do not maintain key person life insurance policies on any of our executive officers other than Andrew Wiederhorn. We believe that our future success will depend on our continued ability to attract and retain highly skilled and qualified personnel. There is a high level of competition for experienced, successful personnel in our industry. Our inability to meet our executive staffing requirements in the future could impair our growth and harm our business.
Labor shortages or difficulty finding qualified employees could slow our growth, harm our business and reduce our profitability.
Restaurant operations are highly service oriented, and our success depends in part upon our franchisees’ and our ability to attract, retain and motivate a sufficient number of qualified employees, including restaurant managers and other crew members. The market for qualified employees in our industry is very competitive. Any future inability to recruit and retain qualified individuals may delay the planned openings of new restaurants by us and our franchisees and could adversely impact our existing franchised and company owned restaurants. Any such delays, material increases in employee turnover rate or widespread employee dissatisfaction could have a material adverse effect on our and our franchisees’ business and results of operations.
In addition, strikes, work slowdowns or other job actions may become more common in the United States. Although none of the employees employed by our franchisees or by us are represented by a labor union or are covered by a collective bargaining agreement, in the event of a strike, work slowdown or other labor unrest, the ability to adequately staff our restaurants could be impaired, which could result in reduced revenue and customer claims, and may distract our management from focusing on our business and strategic priorities.
Changes in labor and other operating costs could adversely affect our results of operations.
An increase in the costs of employee wages, benefits and insurance (including workers’ compensation, general liability, property and health) could result from government imposition of higher minimum wages or from general economic or competitive conditions. In addition, competition for qualified employees could compel our franchisees to pay higher wages to attract or retain key crew members, which could result in higher labor costs and decreased profitability. Any increase in labor expenses, as well as increases in general operating costs such as rent and energy, could adversely affect our franchisees’ profit margins, their sales volumes and their ability to remain in business, which would adversely affect our results of operations.
Risks Related to Government Regulation and Litigation
The Company faces risks related to pending government investigations.
The government investigations mentioned below in Item 3, Legal Proceedings present certain risks. At this stage, we are not able to reasonably estimate the outcome or duration of these investigations, nor can we predict what consequences any investigation may have on us, including significant legal and accounting expenses. Moreover, there could be developments of which we are not aware, which could result in further proceedings against our Company, Mr. Wiederhorn and our other directors, officers and employees. These matters may also divert management's attention from other business concerns, or result in the loss of the services of Mr. Wiederhorn or our other directors, officers or employees, which could harm the business and could result in reputational damage. Any proceedings commenced against us or Mr. Wiederhorn by a regulatory agency could result in administrative orders, the imposition of penalties and/or fines, and the imposition of sanctions against us, Mr. Wiederhorn and other of our current or former officers, directors and employees.
These investigations, the results of the investigations or remedial actions that we have taken or may take as a result of such investigations may materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and reputation. If we are subject to adverse findings resulting from the U.S. Attorney or SEC investigations, or from our own independent investigations, we could be required to pay damages and/or penalties or have other remedies imposed on us, and the Company or our officers, directors or employees may be subject to additional civil litigation against the Company or our officers and directors regarding such matters.
We maintain director and officer liability insurance for losses or advancement of defense costs in the event legal actions are brought against the Company's directors, officers or employees for alleged wrongful acts in their capacity as directors, officers or employees. Such insurance contains certain customary exclusions that may make it unavailable to the Company or our directors and officers in the event it is needed; and, in any case, such insurance may not be adequate to fully protect the Company against liability for the conduct of its directors, officers or employees or the Company's indemnification obligations to its directors and officers.
We are a party to stockholder litigation which could negatively impact our business, operating results and financial condition.
We may incur additional costs in connection with the defense or settlement of existing and any future stockholder litigation, including the stockholder litigation that has been brought against us and certain of our directors. See "Part I, Item 3. Legal Proceedings" below. Subject to certain limitations, we are obligated to indemnify our directors in connection with the
litigation and any related litigation or settlement amounts, which may be time-consuming, result in significant expense and divert the attention and resources of our management away from our operating business matters. An unfavorable financial outcome that exceeds coverage provided under our insurance policies, could have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations and could harm our reputation.
We could be party to litigation that could adversely affect us by increasing our expenses, diverting management attention or subjecting us to significant monetary damages and other remedies.
We may become involved in legal proceedings involving consumer, employment, real estate related, tort, intellectual property, breach of contract, securities, derivative and other litigation. Plaintiffs in these types of lawsuits often seek recovery of very large or indeterminate amounts, and the magnitude of the potential loss relating to such lawsuits may not be accurately estimated. Regardless of whether any such claims have merit, or whether we are ultimately held liable or settle, such litigation may be expensive to defend and may divert resources and management attention away from our operations and negatively impact reported earnings. With respect to insured claims, a judgment for monetary damages in excess of any insurance coverage could adversely affect our financial condition or results of operations. Any adverse publicity resulting from these allegations may also adversely affect our reputation, which in turn could adversely affect our results of operations.
Our subsidiary Fog Cutter Acquisition, LLC is a party to environmental litigation which could result in significant legal expenses whether or not it is resolved favorably.
As described in this Annual Report under “Item 3. Legal Proceedings”, our subsidiary Fog Cutter Capital Group Inc. (now known as Fog Cutter Acquisition, LLC), is a party to litigation entitled Stratford Holding LLC v. Foot Locker Retail Inc. for alleged environmental contamination stemming from dry cleaning operations on a property which was included in a lease portfolio managed by a former subsidiary of Fog Cutter. The property owners seek damages in the range of $12 million to $22 million in the aggregate from all defendants. The Company is unable to predict the ultimate outcome of this matter, and reserves have been recorded on the balance sheet relating to this litigation. There can be no assurance that Fog Cutter Acquisition, LLC will be successful in defending against this action, and an unfavorable outcome in excess of the reserves could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
Changes in, or noncompliance with, governmental regulations may adversely affect our business operations, growth prospects or financial condition.
We and our franchisees are subject to numerous laws and regulations around the world. These laws change regularly and are increasingly complex. For example, we and our franchisees are subject to laws and regulations such as (but not limited to):
•Government orders regarding the response to health and other public safety concerns such as the various restrictions on business operations relating to the COVID-19 pandemic being experienced in 2020;
•The Americans with Disabilities Act in the U.S. and similar state laws that give civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities in the context of employment, public accommodations and other areas;
•The U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act, which governs matters such as minimum wages, overtime and other working conditions, as well as family leave mandates and a variety of similar state laws that govern these and other employment law matters;
•Laws and regulations in government mandated health care benefits such as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act;
•Laws and regulations relating to nutritional content, nutritional labeling, product safety, product marketing and menu labeling;
•Laws relating to state and local licensing;
•Laws relating to the relationship between franchisors and franchisees;
•Laws and regulations relating to health, sanitation, food, workplace safety, child labor, including laws prohibiting the use of certain “hazardous equipment” by employees younger than the age of 18 years of age, and fire safety and prevention;
•Laws and regulations relating to union organizing rights and activities;
•Laws relating to information security, privacy, cashless payments, and consumer protection;
•Laws relating to currency conversion or exchange;
•Laws relating to international trade and sanctions;
•Tax laws and regulations;
•Antibribery and anticorruption laws;
•Environmental laws and regulations; and
•Federal and state immigration laws and regulations in the U.S.
Compliance with new or existing laws and regulations could impact our operations. The compliance costs associated with these laws and regulations could be substantial. Any failure or alleged failure to comply with these laws or regulations by our franchisees or indirectly by us could adversely affect our reputation, international expansion efforts, growth prospects and financial results or result in, among other things, litigation, revocation of required licenses, internal investigations, governmental investigations or proceedings, administrative enforcement actions, fines and civil and criminal liability. Publicity relating to any such noncompliance could also harm our reputation and adversely affect our revenues.
In addition, if any governmental authority were to adopt and implement a broader standard for determining when two or more otherwise unrelated employers may be found to be a joint employer of the same employees under laws such as the National Labor Relations Act in a manner that is applied generally to franchise relationships (which broader standards in the past have been adopted by U.S. governmental agencies such as the National Labor Relations Board), this could cause us to be liable or held responsible for unfair labor practices and other violations of our franchisees. Further, a California law enacted in 2019 adopted an employment classification test to be used when determining employee or independent contractor status which establishes a high threshold to obtain independent contractor status. These laws and any similar laws enacted at the federal, state or local level, could increase our and our franchisees’ labor costs and decrease profitability or could cause employees of our franchisees to be deemed to be our employees.
In January 2022, the California State Assembly passed Assembly Bill (AB) No. 257, the Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act (FAST Recovery Act), and Governor Gavin Newsom signed the bill into law on September 5, 2022. The FAST Recovery Act provides increased rights to the state’s fast-food workers. The FAST Recovery Act is poised to create the Fast Food Sector Council within the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR). Under the law, the Fast Food Sector Council will establish specific new minimum standards on wages, maximum working hours, and working conditions related to the health, safety, and welfare of fast-food restaurant workers at restaurants with at least 100 establishments nationwide. The FAST Recovery Act will also, among other things, institute statutory requirements aimed at expanding fast-food franchisors’ liability for certain acts of its franchisees. In January 2023, the implementation of the FAST Recovery Act was enjoined by a court pending the results of a statewide effort to overturn the FAST Recovery Act through a referendum on the California ballot in November 2024. If and when the referendum challenging AB 257 qualifies for the ballot, the law will be put on hold until the vote in November 2024. If an when it is sustained and implemented in its current form, the FAST Recovery Act is likely to increase our franchisees’ labor and compliance costs and decrease profitability at our California restaurants.
Failure to comply with antibribery or anticorruption laws could adversely affect our business operations.
The U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and other similar applicable laws prohibiting bribery of government officials and other corrupt practices are the subject of increasing emphasis and enforcement around the world. Although we have implemented policies and procedures designed to promote compliance with these laws, there can be no assurance that our employees, contractors, agents, franchisees or other third parties will not take actions in violation of our policies or applicable law, particularly as we expand our operations in emerging markets and elsewhere. Any such violations or suspected violations could subject us to civil or criminal penalties, including substantial fines and significant investigation costs, and could also materially damage our reputation, brands, international expansion efforts and growth prospects, business and operating results. Publicity relating to any noncompliance or alleged noncompliance could also harm our reputation and adversely affect our revenues and results of operations.
Risks Related to Our Class A Common Stock and Organizational Structure
We are controlled by Fog Cutter Holdings LLC, whose interests may differ from those of our public stockholders.
Fog Cutter Holdings LLC controls approximately 55.2% of the voting power of our Common Stock and has significant influence over our corporate management and affairs and is able to control virtually all matters requiring stockholder approval, including election of directors and significant corporate transactions. It is possible that the interests of Fog Cutter Holdings LLC may, in some circumstances, conflict with our interests and the interests of our other stockholders.
The dual class structure of our Common Stock concentrates voting control with current holders of Class B Common Stock, and limits the ability of holders of our Class A Common Stock to influence corporate matters.
Our Class B Common Stock has 2,000 votes per share, and our Class A Common Stock has one vote per share. The holders of Class B Common Stock collectively will likely be able to control all matters submitted to our stockholders for approval even if additional shares of Class A Common Stock are issued. This concentrated control will limit the ability of holders of our Class A Common Stock to influence corporate matters for the foreseeable future, and, as a result, the market price of our Class A Common Stock could be adversely affected.
We have not elected to take advantage of the “controlled company” exemption to the corporate governance rules for companies listed on The Nasdaq Capital Market.
Our anti-takeover provisions could prevent or delay a change in control of our company, even if such change in control would be beneficial to our stockholders.
Provisions of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and bylaws as well as provisions of Delaware law could discourage, delay or prevent a merger, acquisition or other change in control of our company, even if such change in control would be beneficial to our stockholders. These provisions include:
•dual class structure of our Common Stock, which concentrates voting control with the current holders of Class B Common Stock;
•net operating loss protective provisions, which require that any person wishing to become a “5% shareholder” (as defined in our certificate of incorporation) must first obtain a waiver from our Board of Directors, and any person that is already a “5% shareholder” of ours cannot make any additional purchases of our stock without a waiver from our board of directors;
•authorizing the issuance of “blank check” preferred stock that could be issued by our Board of Directors to increase the number of outstanding shares and thwart a takeover attempt;
•limiting the ability of stockholders to call special meetings or amend our bylaws;
•requiring all stockholder actions to be taken at a meeting of our stockholders; and
•establishing advance notice and duration of ownership requirements for nominations for election to the board of directors or for proposing matters that can be acted upon by stockholders at stockholder meetings.
These provisions could also discourage proxy contests and make it more difficult for minority stockholders to elect directors of their choosing and cause us to take other corporate actions they desire. In addition, because our Board of Directors is responsible for appointing the members of our management team, these provisions could in turn affect any attempt by our stockholders to replace current members of our management team.
In addition, the Delaware General Corporation Law, or the DGCL, to which we are subject, prohibits us, except under specified circumstances, from engaging in any mergers, significant sales of stock or assets or business combinations with any stockholder or group of stockholders who owns at least 15% of our common stock.
We may continue to issue shares of preferred stock in the future, which could make it difficult for another company to acquire us or could otherwise adversely affect holders of our Common Stock, which could depress the price of our Common Stock.
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation authorizes us to issue one or more series of preferred stock. Our board of directors has the authority to determine the preferences, limitations and relative rights of the shares of preferred stock and to fix the number of shares constituting any series and the designation of such series, without any further vote or action by our stockholders. We may authorize or issue shares of preferred stock with voting, liquidation, dividend and other rights superior to the rights of our Common Stock. To date we have authorized and outstanding shares of Series B Preferred Stock,
which have liquidation and dividend rights superior to the rights of our Common Stock. The potential issuance of preferred stock may also delay or prevent a change in control of us, discourage bids for our Common Stock at a premium to the market price, and materially and adversely affect the market price and the voting and other rights of the holders of our Common Stock.
The provision of our certificate of incorporation requiring exclusive venue in the Court of Chancery in the State of Delaware for certain types of lawsuits may have the effect of discouraging lawsuits against our directors and officers.
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation requires, to the fullest extent permitted by law, that (i) any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf, (ii) any action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty owed by any of our directors, officers or other employees to us or our stockholders, (iii) any action asserting a claim against us arising pursuant to any provision of the DGCL or our amended and restated certificate of incorporation or the bylaws or (iv) any action asserting a claim against us governed by the internal affairs doctrine will have to be brought only in the Court of Chancery in the State of Delaware. Although we believe this provision benefits us by providing increased consistency in the application of Delaware law in the types of lawsuits to which it applies, the provision may have the effect of discouraging lawsuits against our directors and officers.
If our operating and financial performance in any given period does not meet the guidance that we provide to the public, our stock price may decline.
We may provide public guidance on our expected operating and financial results for future periods. Any such guidance will be comprised of forward-looking statements subject to the risks and uncertainties described in our public filings and public statements. Our actual results may not always be in line with or exceed any guidance we have provided, especially in times of economic uncertainty. If our operating or financial results for a particular period do not meet any guidance we provide or the expectations of investment analysts or if we reduce our guidance for future periods, the market price of our Class A Common Stock or Class B Common Stock may decline as well.
Our ability to pay regular dividends to our stockholders is subject to the discretion of our Board of Directors and may be limited by our holding company structure and applicable provisions of Delaware law.
While we have paid cash or stock dividends to holders of our Common Stock in each fiscal year since 2018 and our Series B Preferred Stock since it was first issued, our board of directors may, in its sole discretion, decrease the amount or frequency of cash or stock dividends or discontinue the payment of dividends entirely. In addition, as a holding company, we will be dependent upon the ability of our operating subsidiaries to generate earnings and positive cash flows and distribute them to us so that we may pay cash dividends to our stockholders. Our ability to pay cash dividends will be subject to our consolidated operating results, cash assets and requirements and financial condition, the applicable provisions of Delaware law which may limit the amount of funds available for distribution to our stockholders, our compliance with covenants and financial ratios related to existing or future indebtedness, and our other agreements with third parties. In addition, each of the companies in the corporate chain must manage its assets, liabilities and working capital in order to meet all of its cash obligations, including the payment of dividends or distributions.
ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS
ITEM 2. PROPERTIES
Our corporate headquarters, including our principal administrative, sales and marketing, customer support, and research and development operations, are located in Beverly Hills, California, comprising approximately 13,000 square feet of space, pursuant to a lease that expires on September 29, 2025, as well as an additional approximately 3,000 square feet of additional space pursuant to a lease amendment that expires on February 29, 2024.
Our subsidiary, GFG Management, LLC, leases an approximately 16,000 square foot warehouse location in Atlanta, GA under a lease expiring on May 31, 2024.
Our subsidiary, GAC Supply, LLC, owns and operates an approximately 40,000 square foot manufacturing and production facility in Atlanta, Georgia and the underlying real property, which supplies our franchisees with cookie dough, pretzel dry mix and other ancillary products.
Our subsidiary, Twin Restaurant Holding, LLC, leases offices in Dallas, TX comprising approximately 8,300 square feet under a lease expiring on April 30, 2025.
Our subsidiary, Fazoli's Holdings, LLC, leases offices located in Lexington, KY comprising approximately 19,200 square feet under a lease expiring on April 30, 2027.
Our subsidiary, Native Grill & Wings Franchising, LLC, leases offices located in Chandler, AZ comprising 5,825 square feet under a lease expiring on October 31, 2024. Such offices have been sub-leased for the duration of the remaining lease term.
In addition to the above locations, certain of our subsidiaries directly own and operate restaurant locations, substantially all of which are located in leased premises. As of December 25, 2022, we owned and operated 126 restaurant locations. The leases have remaining terms ranging from 1 month to 23.9 years.
We believe that our existing facilities are in good operating condition and adequate to meet our current and foreseeable needs.
ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
James Harris and Adam Vignola, derivatively on behalf of FAT Brands, Inc. v. Squire Junger, James Neuhauser, Edward Rensi, Andrew Wiederhorn, Fog Cutter Holdings, LLC and Fog Cutter Capital Group, Inc., and FAT Brands Inc., nominal defendant (Delaware Chancery Court, Case No. 2021-0511)
On June 10, 2021, plaintiffs James Harris and Adam Vignola (“Plaintiffs”), putative stockholders of the Company, filed a shareholder derivative action in the Delaware Court of Chancery nominally on behalf of the Company against the Company’s directors (Squire Junger, James Neuhauser, Edward Rensi and Andrew Wiederhorn (the “Individual Defendants”)), and the Company’s majority stockholders, Fog Cutter Holdings, LLC and Fog Cutter Capital Group, Inc. (collectively with the Individual Defendants, “Defendants”). Plaintiffs assert claims of breach of fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment and waste of corporate assets arising out of the Company’s December 2020 merger with Fog Cutter Capital Group, Inc. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiffs’ complaint, which the Court denied in an oral ruling on February 11, 2022 and subsequent written order on May 25, 2022. On April 7, 2022, the Court entered a Scheduling Order setting forth the key dates and deadlines that will govern the litigation, including a discovery cutoff of March 24, 2023 and trial date of February 5-9, 2024. To date, the parties have engaged in substantial written discovery, though no depositions have been taken. On February 3, 2023, the Company’s board of directors appointed a Special Litigation Committee ("SLC"), which retained independent counsel and moved for a six-month stay of the action pending resolution of the SLC's investigation. On February 17, 2023, the Court granted the SLC’s motion to stay. Defendants dispute the allegations of the lawsuit and intend to vigorously defend against the claims. We cannot predict the outcome of this lawsuit. This lawsuit does not assert any claims against the Company. However, subject to certain limitations, we are obligated to indemnify our directors in connection with defense costs for the lawsuit and any related litigation, which may exceed coverage provided under our insurance policies, and thus could have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations. The lawsuit and any related litigation also may be time-consuming and divert the attention and resources of our management.
James Harris and Adam Vignola, derivatively on behalf of FAT Brands, Inc. v. Squire Junger, James Neuhauser, Edward Rensi, Andrew Wiederhorn and Fog Cutter Holdings, LLC, and FAT Brands Inc., nominal defendant (Delaware Chancery Court, Case No. 2022-0254)
On March 17, 2022, plaintiffs James Harris and Adam Vignola (“Plaintiffs”), putative stockholders of the Company, filed a shareholder derivative action in the Delaware Court of Chancery nominally on behalf of the Company against the Company’s directors (Squire Junger, James Neuhauser, Edward Rensi and Andrew Wiederhorn (the “Individual Defendants”)), and the Company’s majority stockholder, Fog Cutter Holdings, LLC (collectively with the Individual Defendants, “Defendants”). Plaintiffs assert claims of breach of fiduciary duty in connection with the Company’s June 2021 recapitalization transaction. On May 27, 2022, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint (the "Motion"). Argument on the Motion was heard on November 17, 2022 and again on February 23, 2023, and the Court took its decision under advisement. To date, the Court has not issued a ruling on the Motion, nor has the Court issued a scheduling order in this matter. Defendants dispute the allegations of the lawsuit and intend to vigorously defend against the claims. As this matter is still in the early stages, we cannot predict the outcome of this lawsuit. This lawsuit does not assert any claims against the Company. However, subject to certain limitations, we are obligated to indemnify our directors in connection with defense costs for the lawsuit and any related litigation, which may exceed coverage provided under our insurance policies, and thus could have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations. The lawsuit and any related litigation also may be time-consuming and divert the attention and resources of our management.
Robert J. Matthews, et al., v. FAT Brands, Inc., Andrew Wiederhorn, Ron Roe, Rebecca Hershinger and Ken Kuick (United States District Court for the Central District of California, Case No. 2:22-cv-01820)
On March 18, 2022, plaintiff Robert J. Matthews, a putative investor in the Company, filed a putative class action lawsuit against the Company, Andrew Wiederhorn, Ron Roe, Rebecca Hershinger and Ken Kuick, asserting claims under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “1934 Act”), alleging that the defendants are responsible for false and misleading statements and omitted material facts in the Company’s reports filed with the SEC under the 1934 Act related to the LA Times story published on February 19, 2022 about the company and its management. The plaintiff alleges that the Company’s public statements wrongfully inflated the trading price of the Company’s common stock, preferred stock and warrants. On April 25, 2022, Kerry Chipman, a putative investor in the Company, filed a putative class action lawsuit against the Company, Andrew Wiederhorn, Ron Roe, Rebecca Hershinger and Ken Kuick in the United States District Court for the Central Division of California, asserting substantially the same claims as those made by Matthews in the above-referenced lawsuit. On May 2, 2022, the Court entered an order consolidating the actions filed by Matthews and Chipman under the caption In re FAT Brands Inc. Securities Litigation. On June 13, 2022, the Court appointed plaintiff Robert Matthews as lead plaintiff and The Rosen Law Firm, P.A., as lead counsel in the consolidated action. Plaintiffs filed their Consolidated Amended Complaint on June 27, 2022. On July 19, 2022, the parties entered into a stipulation to stay the litigation so that they could engage in voluntary mediation. In August 2022, after mediation, the Company reached an agreement in principle to settle this matter for a cash payment by the Company of $2.5 million and issuance of $0.5 million in Class A common stock. The Stipulation of Settlement and other documents pertinent to the settlement, along with a motion for preliminary approval thereof, were filed with the court on September 23, 2022. The Court granted the motion for preliminary approval on November 8, 2022, and on January 31, 2023, plaintiffs moved for final approval of the settlement and certification of the settlement class. The hearing on the motion for final approval is set for February 28, 2023, at 9:00 am PT. Upon final approval by the court, the settlement will provide a full release of all claims by the settlement class members against all defendants, including the Company and the named officers and directors, will expressly deny any liability, wrongdoing or responsibility by any of the defendants, and will result in the dismissal of the litigation with prejudice.
In December 2021, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California (the “U.S. Attorney”) and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) informed the Company that they had opened investigations relating to the Company and our Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Wiederhorn, and were formally seeking documents and materials concerning, among other things, the Company’s December 2020 merger with Fog Cutter Capital Group Inc., transactions between those entities and Mr. Wiederhorn, as well as compensation, extensions of credit and other benefits or payments received by Mr. Wiederhorn or his family from those entities. Our Board of Directors has formed a Special Review Committee (the “SRC”) comprised of directors other than Mr. Wiederhorn to oversee a review of the issues raised by the U.S. Attorney and SEC investigations, reach findings and make a recommendation to the Board with respect to these matters. The SRC is authorized to review such documents and interview such persons, and retain legal counsel and other consultants on behalf of the Company, as the SRC deems necessary or appropriate to complete its review. The Company intends to cooperate with the U.S. Attorney and the SEC regarding these matters and is continuing to actively respond to inquiries and requests from the U.S. Attorney and the SEC. We believe that the Company is not currently a target of the U.S. Attorney’s investigation. At this stage, we are not able to reasonably estimate or predict the outcome or duration of either of the U.S. Attorney’s or the SEC’s investigations.
Stratford Holding LLC v. Foot Locker Retail Inc. (U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, Case No. 5:12-cv-00772-HE)
In 2012 and 2013, two property owners in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma sued numerous parties, including Foot Locker Retail Inc. and our subsidiary Fog Cutter Capital Group Inc. (now known as Fog Cutter Acquisition, LLC), for alleged environmental contamination on their properties, stemming from dry cleaning operations on one of the properties. The property owners seek damages in the range of $12 million to $22 million. From 2002 to 2008, a former Fog Cutter subsidiary managed a lease portfolio, which included the subject property. Fog Cutter denies any liability, although it did not timely respond to one of the property owners’ complaints and several of the defendants’ cross-complaints and thus is in default. The parties are currently conducting discovery, and the matter is scheduled for trial for October 2023. The Company is unable to predict the ultimate outcome of this matter, however, reserves have been recorded on the balance sheet relating to this litigation. There can be no assurance that the defendants will be successful in defending against these actions.
SBN FCCG LLC v FCCGI (Los Angeles Superior Court, Case No. BS172606)
SBN FCCG LLC (“SBN”) filed a complaint against Fog Cutter Capital Group, Inc. (“FCCG”) in New York state court for an indemnification claim (the “NY case”) stemming from an earlier lawsuit in Georgia regarding a certain lease portfolio formerly managed by a former FCCG subsidiary, Fog Cap Retail Investors LLC ("Fog Cap"). In February 2018, SBN obtained
a final judgment in the NY case for a total of $0.7 million, which included $0.2 million in interest dating back to March 2012. SBN then obtained a sister state judgment in Los Angeles Superior Court, Case No. BS172606 (the “California case”), which included the $0.7 million judgment from the NY case, plus additional statutory interest and fees, for a total judgment of $0.7 million. In May 2018, SBN filed a cost memo, requesting an additional $12,411 in interest to be added to the judgment in the California case, for a total of $0.7 million. In May 2019, the parties agreed to settle the matter for $0.6 million, which required the immediate payment of $0.1 million, and the balance to be paid in August 2019. FCCG wired $0.1 million to SBN in May 2019, but has not yet paid the remaining balance of $0.5 million. The parties have not entered into a formal settlement agreement, and they have not yet discussed the terms for the payment of the remaining balance.
SBN FCCG LLC v FCCGI (Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of New York, Index No. 650197/2023)
On January 13, 2023, SBN filed another complaint against FCCG in New York state court for an indemnification claim stemming from a lawsuit in Oklahoma City regarding the same lease portfolio formerly managed by Fog Cap, and a bankruptcy proceedings involving Fog Cap. SBN alleges that under a February 2008 stock purchase agreement, Fog Cutter is required to indemnify SBN and its affiliates. According to the complaint, SBN has, at the time of filing the complaint, incurred costs subject to indemnification of approximately $12 million. SBN has not yet served the complaint on FCCG. We are unable at this time to express any opinion as to the outcome of this matter or as to the possible range of loss, if any.
The Company is involved in other claims and legal proceedings from time-to-time that arise in the ordinary course of business, including those involving the Company’s franchisees. The Company does not believe that the ultimate resolution of these actions will have a material adverse effect on its business, financial condition, results of operations, liquidity or capital resources. As of December 25, 2022 and December 26, 2021, the Company had accrued an aggregate of $5.1 million for the specific matters mentioned above and claims and legal proceedings involving franchisees as of that date.
ITEM 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES
ITEM 5. MARKET FOR THE REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES
Our Class A Common Stock, par value $0.0001 per share, is traded on the NASDAQ Capital Market under the ticker symbols “FAT” and our Class B Common Stock, par value $0.0001 per share, is traded on the NASDAQ Capital Market under the ticker symbol "FATBB."
As of February 17, 2023, there were 45 stockholders of record for our Class A Common Stock and 42 stockholders of record for our Class B Common Stock. The number of record holders does not include persons who held such shares in nominee or “street name” accounts through brokers.
The declaration and payment of future dividends, as well as the amount thereof, are subject to the discretion of our Board of Directors. The amount and size of any future dividends will depend upon our future results of operations, financial condition, capital levels, cash requirements and other factors. There can be no assurance that we will declare and pay dividends in future periods.
Equity Compensation Plan Information
Effective September 30, 2017, we adopted the 2017 Omnibus Equity Incentive Plan (the “Plan”). The Plan was amended in September 2021 to increase the maximum shares issuable under the Plan to 4,000,000 shares and amended in December 2022 to increase the maximum shares issuable under the Plan to 5,000,000 shares. The Plan is a comprehensive incentive compensation plan under which we can grant equity-based and other incentive awards to officers, employees and directors of, and consultants and advisers to, FAT Brands Inc. and its subsidiaries. The purpose of the Plan is to help attract, motivate and retain qualified personnel and thereby enhance stockholder value. Awards which lapse or are forfeited become available again for grant.
As of December 25, 2022, we have granted options to purchase 2,166,822 shares of Class A Common Stock to employees, 536,130 shares of Class A Common Stock to non-employee directors, and 45,954 shares of Class A Common Stock to non-employee consultants. Each grant is subject to a three-year vesting requirement, with one-third of the options vesting each year.
During the year ended December 25, 2022, the Company also granted an aggregate of 150,000 shares of its Class A Common Stock to five Board members (the “Grant Shares”). The Grant Shares vest one-third each year on the anniversary date of the grant. The grantees are entitled to any common dividends relating to the Grant Shares during the vesting period.
The information presented in the table below is as of December 25, 2022:
|Plan Category||Number of Securities to be Issued |
upon Exercise of Outstanding Options, Warrants
|Weighted-Average Exercise Price of |
Warrants and Rights
|Number of Securities Remaining Available for |
Future Issuance under Equity Compensation
Plans (Excluding Securities Reflected in Column
|Equity compensation plans approved by security holders||2,748,906 ||$||10.06 ||2,101,094 |
Equity compensation plans not approved by security holders
|— ||— ||— |
|2,748,906 ||$||10.06 ||2,101,094 |
Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
We do not have a program in place to repurchase our own Common Stock or preferred stock and as of December 25, 2022, we have not repurchased any of these securities except for the cancellation of shares issued under the Plan, and as set forth in the following paragraph.
On October 21, 2022, the Company entered into an Exchange Agreement with the sellers of Twin Peaks and redeemed 1,821,831 shares of the Company's 8.25% Series B Cumulative Preferred Stock at a price of $23.69 per share, plus accrued and unpaid dividends to the date of redemption, in exchange for $46.5 million aggregate principal amount of secured debt ($43.2 million net of original issue discount). Prior to the redemption, the Twin Peaks sellers held 2,847,393 shares of Series B Cumulative Preferred Stock, which shares were issued to it on October 1, 2021 as partial consideration for the Company's acquisition of the Twin Peaks restaurant chain.
Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities
During the fiscal year ended December 25, 2022, we issued 4,761 shares of Class A Common Stock in a transaction that was not registered under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the "Securities Act"), pursuant to the exemption for transactions by an issuer not involving any public offering under Section 4(a)(2) of the Securities Act and Rule 506 thereunder, and in reliance on similar exemptions under applicable state securities laws. Such shares were issued to a director who elected to receive cash compensation in the form of Class A Common Stock at market value at the time the election was made at a weighted average price per share of $6.30.
ITEM 6. [RESERVED].
ITEM 7. MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 had a number of adverse effects on our business and that of our franchisees, including temporary and permanent closures of restaurant locations, reduced or modified store operating hours, difficulties in staffing restaurants and supply chain disruptions. While the disruptions to our business from the COVID-19 pandemic have mostly subsided, the resurgence of COVID-19 or its variants, as well as an outbreak of other widespread health epidemics or pandemics, could cause a closure of restaurants and disrupt our operations and have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
FAT Brands Inc. is a leading multi-brand restaurant franchising company that develops, markets, and acquires primarily quick-service, fast casual, casual dining and polished casual restaurant concepts around the world. As of December 25, 2022, the Company owned seventeen restaurant brands: Round Table Pizza, Fatburger, Marble Slab Creamery, Johnny Rockets, Fazoli's, Twin Peaks, Great American Cookies, Hot Dog on a Stick, Buffalo’s Cafe & Express, Hurricane Grill & Wings, Pretzelmaker, Elevation Burger, Native Grill & Wings, Yalla Mediterranean and Ponderosa and Bonanza Steakhouses. At December 25, 2022, the Company had approximately 2,300 locations open or under construction, of which approximately 95% were franchised.
We generally do not own or operate restaurant locations, but rather generate revenue by charging franchisees an initial franchise fee as well as ongoing royalties. This asset light franchisor model provides the opportunity for strong profit margins and an attractive free cash flow profile while minimizing restaurant operating company risk, such as long-term real estate commitments or capital investments. Our scalable management platform enables us to add new stores and restaurant concepts to our portfolio with minimal incremental corporate overhead cost, while taking advantage of significant corporate overhead synergies. The acquisition of additional brands and restaurant concepts as well as expansion of our existing brands are key elements of our growth strategy.
Our revenues are derived primarily from two sales channels, franchised restaurants and company owned restaurants, which we operate as one segment. The primary sources of revenues are the sale of food and beverages at our company restaurants and the collection of royalties, franchise fees and advertising revenue from sales of food and beverages at our franchised restaurants.
Results of Operations
We operate on a 52-week or 53-week fiscal year ending on the last Sunday of the calendar year. In a 52-week fiscal year, each quarter contains 13 weeks of operations. In a 53-week fiscal year, each of the first, second and third quarters includes 13 weeks of operations and the fourth quarter includes 14 weeks of operations, which may cause our revenue, expenses and other results of operations to be higher due to an additional week of operations. The 2022 and 2021 fiscal years were each 52-week years.
Results of Operations of FAT Brands Inc.
The following table summarizes key components of our consolidated results of operations for the fiscal years ended December 25, 2022 and December 26, 2021. Certain account balances from the prior period have been reclassified to conform to current period presentation.
For the Fiscal Years Ended
|December 25, 2022||December 26, 2021|
|Consolidated statement of operations data:|
|Royalties||$||87,921 ||$||42,658 |
|Franchise fees||3,706 ||4,023 |
|Advertising fees||37,997 ||16,728 |
|Restaurant sales||241,001 ||41,563 |
|Factory revenue||33,504 ||13,470 |
|Management fees and other income||3,095 ||439 |
|Total revenues||407,224 ||118,881 |
|Costs and expenses|
|General and administrative expense||113,313 ||41,775 |
|Cost of restaurant and factory revenues||221,627 ||44,242 |
|Depreciation and amortization||27,015 ||8,474 |
|Impairment of goodwill and other intangible assets||14,000 ||1,037 |
|Refranchising loss||4,178 ||314 |
|Acquisition fees||383 ||4,242 |
|Advertising expense||44,612 ||17,973 |
|Total costs and expenses||425,128 ||118,057 |
|(Loss) income from operations||(17,904)||824 |
|Total other expense, net||(89,474)||(35,944)|
|Loss before income tax||(107,378)||(35,120)|
|Income tax provision (benefit)||18,810 ||(3,537)|
Net Loss - Net loss for the fiscal year ended December 25, 2022, totaled $126.2 million consisting of revenues of $407.2 million less costs and expenses of $425.1 million, other expense of $89.5 million, and income tax provision of $18.8 million. Net loss for the fiscal year ended December 26, 2021, totaled $31.6 million consisting of revenues of $118.9 million less costs and expenses of $118.1 million, other expense of $35.9 million plus an income tax benefit of $3.5 million.
Revenues - Revenues consist of royalties, franchise fees, advertising fees, restaurant sales, factory revenues, and other income. We earned revenues of $407.2 million for the fiscal year ended December 25, 2022 compared to $118.9 million for the fiscal year ended December 26, 2021. The increase of $288.3 million reflects revenue from the 2021 Acquisitions and the continuing recovery from the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on royalties from restaurant sales.
Costs and Expenses – Costs and expenses consist primarily of general and administrative costs and franchisee support, cost of restaurant and factory revenues, impairment of goodwill and other intangible assets, net refranchising (gains) losses, acquisition costs and advertising expense. Our costs and expenses increased from $118.1 million in the 2021 fiscal year to $425.1 million in the comparable period of 2022, primarily due to the 2021 Acquisitions.
General and administrative expenses increased $71.5 million for the fiscal year ended December 25, 2022, compared to the prior year, primarily due to the 2021 Acquisitions, increased compensation costs reflecting the significant expansion of the organization and professional fees related to pending litigation and government investigations.
Cost of restaurant and factory revenues totaled $221.6 million for the year ended December 25, 2022 and was related to the operations of the company-owned restaurant locations and the dough factory operated by GFG associated with the 2021 Acquisitions.
Depreciation and amortization increased $18.5 million in fiscal year 2022 compared to fiscal year 2021, primarily due to depreciation of company-owned restaurant property and equipment and amortizing intangible assets related to the 2021 Acquisitions.
We recorded non-cash impairment charges for goodwill and other intangible assets of $14.0 million and $1.0 million during the fiscal years ended December 25, 2022 and December 26, 2021, respectively.
Refranchising net loss for the fiscal year ended December 25, 2022, was comprised of restaurant operating costs, net of food sales, of $4.2 million. Refranchising net loss for the fiscal year ended December 26, 2021, was comprised of restaurant operating costs, net of food sales, of $3.0 million, partially offset by $2.7 million in net gains related to the sale or closure of refranchised restaurants.
Acquisition costs during the 2022 fiscal year totaled $0.4 million. For the 2021 fiscal year acquisition costs totaled $4.2 million and were related primarily to the 2021 acquisitions.
Advertising expense increased $26.6 million for the fiscal year ended December 25, 2022, compared to the prior year. These expenses vary in relation to advertising revenues and reflect increases related to the 2021 Acquisitions and the increase in customer activity as the recovery from COVID continues.
Total other expense, net for the fiscal year ended December 25, 2022 was $89.5 million and consisted primarily of net interest expense of $94.8 million. Total other expense, net for the fiscal year ended December 26, 2021 was $35.9 million and consisted primarily of net interest expense of $29.1 million and net losses on extinguishment of debt in the amount of $7.6 million.
Income tax provision (benefit) – We recorded an income tax provision of $18.8 million for the year ended December 25, 2022, compared to an income tax benefit of $3.5 million for the fiscal year ended December 26, 2021. These tax results were based on a net loss before taxes of $107.4 million for fiscal year 2022 and $35.1 million for fiscal year 2021.
Liquidity and Capital Resources
Liquidity is a measurement of our ability to meet potential cash requirements, including ongoing commitments to repay borrowings, fund business operations, acquisitions, and expansion of franchised restaurant locations and for other general business purposes. Our primary sources of funds for liquidity during the fiscal year ended December 25, 2022 consisted of cash provided by borrowings and cash on hand at the beginning of the period.
We are involved in a world-wide expansion of franchise locations, which will require significant liquidity, primarily from our franchisees. If real estate locations of sufficient quality cannot be located and either leased or purchased, the timing of restaurant openings may be delayed. Additionally, if we or our franchisees cannot obtain capital sufficient to fund this expansion, the extent of or timing of restaurant openings may be reduced or delayed.
We also may acquire additional restaurant concepts. These acquisitions typically require capital investments in excess of our normal cash on hand. We would expect that future acquisitions will necessitate financing with additional debt or equity transactions. If we are unable to obtain acceptable financing, our ability to acquire additional restaurant concepts likely would be negatively impacted.
We have liabilities of $91.8 million relating to put options exercised by others on our Series B Cumulative Preferred Stock. The Company has contractual options pursuant to the put/call agreements to extend this repayment via incremental interest payments and there are capital market options that the Company may consider. We believe that we have sufficient liquidity to meet our liquidity needs and capital resource requirements for at least the next twelve months primarily through currently available cash and cash equivalents, cash flows from operations and access to the capital markets.
As of December 25, 2022, we had cash and restricted cash totaling $68.8 million.
Debt Issuances (Whole-Business Securitizations)
We financed our acquisitions and operations through the issuance of notes by four special purpose, wholly-owned financing subsidiaries identified below, which own substantially all of our operations. The Company acts as the manager of each of these subsidiaries under a Management Agreement and performs management, franchising, distribution, intellectual property and operational functions on behalf of the subsidiaries and receives a management fee.
FAT Brands Royalty I, LLC
On April 26, 2021, FAT Brands Royalty I, LLC (“FB Royalty”), our special purpose, wholly-owned subsidiary, completed the Offering of three tranches of fixed rate senior secured notes (collectively, the “2021 FB Royalty Securitization Notes”). Net proceeds from the issuance of the 2021 FB Royalty Securitization Notes totaled $140.8 million, which consisted of the combined face amount of $144.5 million, net of debt offering costs of $3.0 million and original issue discount of $0.7 million. A portion of the proceeds of the 2021 FB Royalty Securitization Notes were used to repay and retire similar notes issued in 2020 under the Base Indenture (the "2020 Securitization Notes"). The payoff amount totaled $83.7 million, which included principal of $80.0 million, accrued interest of $2.2 million and prepayment premiums of $1.5 million. The remaining proceeds were available for working capital. FB Royalty owns the following brands: Fatburger, Johnny Rockets, Buffalo's Cafe and Buffalo's Express, Ponderosa Steakhouse, Bonanza Steakhouse, Hurricane Grill & Wings and Yalla Mediterranean.
On July 6, 2022, FB Royalty issued an additional $76.5 million aggregate principal amount of three tranches of fixed rate senior secured notes as follows:
|Closing Date||Class||Seniority||Principal Balance||Coupon||Final Legal Maturity Date|
Of the $76.5 million aggregate principal amount, $30.0 million was sold privately during the third quarter of 2022, resulting in net proceeds of $27.1 million (net of debt offering costs of $0.6 million and original issue discount of $2.3 million).
The remaining $46.5 million in aggregate principal amount was sold privately on October 21, 2022 when the Company entered into an Exchange Agreement with the Twin Peaks sellers and redeemed 1,821,831 shares of the Company’s 8.25% Series B Cumulative Preferred Stock at a price of $23.69 per share, plus accrued and unpaid dividends to the date of redemption, in exchange for $46.5 million aggregate principal amount of secured debt ($43.2 million net of original issue discount). Prior to the redemption, the Twin Peaks sellers held 2,847,393 shares of Series B Cumulative Preferred Stock, which shares were issued to it on October 1, 2021 as partial consideration for the Company’s acquisition of Twin Peaks.
Pursuant to the Exchange Agreement, (i) at any time prior to July 25, 2023, the Company may call from the Twin Peaks sellers all or a portion of the Class M-2 Notes at the outstanding principal balance multiplied by 0.86, plus any accrued plus unpaid interest thereon; (ii) at any time on or after the date of the Exchange Agreement, the Company may call from the Twin Peaks sellers, and at any time on or after July 25, 2023, the Twin Peaks sellers may put to the Company, all or a portion of the Class A-2 Notes and/or Class B-2 Notes at the outstanding principal balance multiplied by 0.94, plus any accrued plus unpaid interest thereon; and (iii) at any time on or after July 25, 2023, the Company may call from the Twin Peaks sellers, and the Twin Peaks sellers may put to the Company, all or a portion of the Class M-2 Notes at the outstanding principal balance multiplied by 0.91, plus any accrued plus unpaid interest thereon. If the Company does not remit the applicable call price or put
price upon a duly exercised call or put, as applicable, the amount owed by the Company will accrue interest at 10% per annum, which interest is due and payable in cash monthly by the Company.
FAT Brands GFG Royalty I, LLC
In connection with the acquisition of GFG, on July 22, 2021, FAT Brands GFG Royalty I, LLC (“GFG Royalty”), our special purpose, wholly-owned subsidiary, completed the issuance and sale in a private offering (the “GFG Offering”) of three tranches of fixed rate senior secured notes (the "GFG Securitization Notes"). Net proceeds from the issuance of the GFG Securitization Notes totaled $338.9 million, which consisted of the combined face amount of $350.0 million, net of debt offering costs of $6.0 million and original issue discount of $5.1 million. Substantially all of the proceeds were used to acquire GFG. GFG Royalty owns our factory operations in Atlanta, GA and the following restaurant brands: Round Table Pizza, Marble Slab Creamery, Great American Cookies, Hot Dog on a Stick and Pretzelmaker.
On December 15, 2022, GFG Royalty authorized the issuance of an additional $113.5 million aggregate principal amount of three tranches of fixed rate senior secured notes as follows:
|Closing Date||Class||Seniority||Principal Balance||Coupon||Final Legal Maturity Date|
Of the $113.5 million aggregate principal amount, $25.0 million was sold privately during the fourth quarter of 2022, resulting in net proceeds of $22.3 million (net of debt offering costs of $0.4 million and original issue discount of $2.3 million). The remaining $88.5 million in aggregate principal was issued to FAT Brands Inc., pending sale to third party investors, and has been eliminated in consolidation as of December 25, 2022. In January 2023, an additional $40.0 million aggregate principal amount was sold privately, resulting in net proceeds of $34.8 million net of debt offering costs and original issue discount.
FAT Brands Twin Peaks I, LLC
In connection with the acquisition of Twin Peaks, on October 1, 2021, we completed the issuance and sale in a private offering through our special purpose, wholly-owned subsidiary, FAT Brands Twin Peaks I, LLC, of an aggregate principal amount of $250.0 million of Series 2021-1 Fixed Rate Secured Notes (the "Twin Peaks Securitization Notes"). Net proceeds from the issuance of the Twin Peaks Securitization Notes totaled $236.9 million, which consisted of the combined face amount of $250.0 million, net of debt offering costs of $5.6 million and original issue discount of $7.5 million. The proceeds were used to finance the cash portion of the purchase price for the acquisition of Twin Peaks Buyer, LLC and its direct and indirect subsidiaries. FAT Brands Twin Peaks I, LLC owns the Twin Peaks restaurant brand.
FAT Brands Fazoli's Native I, LLC
In connection with the acquisition of Fazoli's and Native Grill & Wings, on December 15, 2021, we completed the issuance and sale in a private offering through our special purpose, wholly-owned subsidiary, FAT Brands Fazoli's Native I, LLC, of an aggregate principal amount of $193.8 million of Series 2021-1 Fixed Rate Secured Notes (the "Fazoli's-Native Securitization Notes"). Net proceeds from the issuance of the Fazoli's-Native Securitization Notes totaled $180.6 million, which consisted of the combined face amount of $193.8 million, net of debt offering costs of $3.8 million and original issue discount
of $9.4 million. The proceeds were used to close the acquisitions of Fazoli's and Native, and to provide working capital for the Company. FAT Brands Fazoli's Native I, LLC owns the Fazoli's and Native Grill & Wings restaurant brands.
We believe that we will be in compliance with our debt covenants and have sufficient sources of cash to meet our liquidity needs for the next twelve months.
On June 22, 2021, we completed an underwritten public offering of 460,000 shares of our 8.25% Series B Cumulative Preferred Stock at a price of $20.00 per share. The net proceeds of the offering totaled $8.3 million (net of $0.9 million in underwriting discounts and other offering expenses).
On November 1, 2021, we closed an additional underwritten public offering of 1,000,000 shares of our 8.25% Series B Cumulative Preferred Stock at a price of $18.00 per share. The net proceeds of this offering totaled $16.8 million (net of $1.2 million in underwriting discounts and other offering expenses).
On November 14, 2022, we entered into an ATM Sales Agreement (the "Sales Agreement") with ThinkEquity LLC (the "Agent"), pursuant to which we may offer and sell from time to time through the Agent up to $21,435,000 maximum aggregate offering price of shares of our Class A Common Stock and/or 8.25% Series B Cumulative Preferred Stock. During the fourth quarter and fiscal year 2022, pursuant to the Sales Agreement, (i) we sold and issued 1,648 shares of Class A Common Stock, at a weighted average share price of $7.04, paid the Agent commissions of $348 and received net proceeds of $11,260 (net of fees and commissions) for such sales and (ii) we sold and issued 30,683 shares of Series B Cumulative Preferred Stock, at a weighted average share price of $18.13, paid the Agent commissions of $16,692 for such sales and received net proceeds of $539,698 (net of fees and commissions) for such sales.
Comparison of Cash Flows
Our cash and restricted cash balance was $68.8 million as of December 25, 2022, compared to $99.9 million as of December 26, 2021.
The following table summarizes key components of our audited consolidated cash flows for the fiscal years ended December 25, 2022, and December 26, 2021:
For the Fiscal Years Ended
|December 25, 2022||December 26, 2021|
|Net cash (used in) provided by operating activities||$||(47.4)||$||0.7 |
|Net cash used in investing activities||(12.5)||(723.2)|
|Net cash provided by financing activities||28.7 ||815.2 |
|Net (decrease) increase in cash and restricted cash||$||(31.2)||$||92.7 |
Net cash used in operating activities increased by $48.1 million in 2022 compared to 2021, primarily due to higher debt service costs associated with our securitizations and changes in working capital.
Net cash used in investing activities was $12.5 million in fiscal year 2022, primarily related to purchases of property and equipment in connection with company-owned restaurants. Net cash used in investing activities was $723.2 million in 2021, primarily related to the acquisition of GFG, Twin Peaks, Fazoli's and Native Grill & Wings.
Net cash provided by financing activities was $28.7 million in 2022, primarily as a result of proceeds from borrowings, offset by dividends paid on our Class A and Class B Common Stock and our Series B Cumulative Preferred Stock. Net cash provided by financing activities was $815.2 million in 2021, primarily as a result of the whole business securitization
transaction, the three securitization transactions relating to the acquisitions of GFG, Twin Peaks, Fazoli's and Native Grill & Wings and the issuance of Series B Cumulative Preferred Stock, net of repayments of borrowings of $93.3 million.
The dividends declared on the Company's common stock by the Board of Directors during the fiscal year ended December 25, 2022 are as follows (in millions):
|Declaration Date||Dividend Per Share||Record Date||Payment Date||Total Dividend (in millions)|
|January 11, 2022||$||0.13 ||February 15, 2022||March 1, 2022||$||2.2 |
|April 12, 2022||$||0.13 ||May 16, 2022||June 1, 2022||$||2.1 |
|July 12, 2022||$||0.14 ||August 16, 2022||September 1, 2022||$||2.3 |
|October 25, 2022||$||0.14 ||November 15, 2022||December 1, 2022||$||2.3 |
The declaration and payment of future dividends, as well as the amount thereof, are subject to the discretion of our Board of Directors. The amount and size of any future dividends will depend upon our future results of operations, financial condition, capital levels, cash requirements and other factors. There can be no assurance that we will declare and pay dividends in future periods.
As of December 25, 2022, we do not have any material commitments for capital expenditures.
Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates
Franchise Fees: The franchise arrangement is documented in the form of a franchise agreement. The franchise arrangement requires us to perform various activities to support the brand that do not directly transfer goods and services to the franchisee, but instead represent a single performance obligation, which includes the transfer of the franchise license. The services provided by us are highly interrelated with the franchise license and are considered a single performance obligation. Franchise fee revenue from the sale of individual franchises is recognized over the term of the individual franchise agreement on a straight-line basis. Unamortized non-refundable deposits collected in relation to the sale of franchises are recorded as deferred franchise fees.
The franchise fee may be adjusted at management’s discretion or in a situation involving store transfers between franchisees. Deposits are non-refundable upon acceptance of the franchise application. In the event a franchisee does not comply with their development timeline for opening franchise stores, the franchise rights may be terminated, at which point the franchise fee revenue is recognized in the amount of the non-refundable deposits.
Royalties: In addition to franchise fee revenue, we collect a royalty calculated as a percentage of net sales from our franchisees. Royalties range from 0.75% to 7.0% and are recognized as revenue when the related sales are made by the franchisees. Royalties collected in advance of sales are classified as deferred income until earned.
Advertising: We require advertising payments from franchisees based on a percent of their net sales. We also receive, from time to time, payments from vendors that are to be used for advertising. Advertising funds collected are required to be spent for specific advertising purposes. Advertising revenue and associated expense is recorded on the consolidated statement of operations. Assets and liabilities associated with the related advertising fees are reflected in the Company’s consolidated balance sheets.
Goodwill and other intangible assets: Goodwill and other intangible assets with indefinite lives, such as trademarks, are not amortized but are reviewed for impairment annually, or more frequently if indicators arise, as was done in 2022 and 2021. The Company recorded impairment charges of $14.0 million and $1.0 million relating to goodwill and other intangible assets during the fiscal years ended December 25, 2022 and December 26, 2021, respectively.
Assets classified as held-for-sale: Assets are classified as held-for-sale when we commit to a plan to sell the asset, the asset is available for immediate sale in its present condition and an active program to locate a buyer at a reasonable price has been initiated. The sale of these assets is generally expected to be completed within one year. The combined assets are valued at the lower of their carrying amount or fair value, net of costs to sell and included as current assets on the Company’s
consolidated balance sheet. Assets classified as held-for-sale are not depreciated. However, interest attributable to the liabilities associated with assets classified as held-for-sale and other expenses continue to be recorded as expenses in the Company’s consolidated statements of operations.
Income taxes: We account for income taxes under the asset and liability method. Under this method, deferred tax assets and liabilities are determined based on the differences between financial reporting and tax reporting bases of assets and liabilities and are measured using enacted tax rates and laws that are expected to be in effect when the differences are expected to reverse. Realization of deferred tax assets is dependent upon future earnings, the timing and amount of which are uncertain.
We utilize a two-step approach to recognize and measure uncertain tax positions. The first step is to evaluate the tax position for recognition by determining if the weight of available evidence indicates that it is more likely than not that the position will be sustained upon tax authority examination, including resolution of related appeals or litigation processes, if any. The second step is to measure the tax benefit as the largest amount that is more than 50% likely of being realized upon the ultimate settlement.
Share-based compensation: We have a stock option plan which provides for options to purchase shares of our common stock. For grants to employees and directors, we recognize an expense for the value of options granted at their fair value at the date of grant over the vesting period in which the options are earned. Cancellations or forfeitures are accounted for as they occur. Fair values are estimated using the Black-Scholes option-pricing model. (See Note 14 in our consolidated financial statements for more details on our share-based compensation.)
Use of estimates: The preparation of financial statements in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosures of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements, as well as the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reported periods. Actual results could differ from those estimates.
Recently Issued Accounting Standards
In June 2016, the FASB issued ASU 2016-13, Financial Instruments-Credit Losses (Topic 326)-Measurement of Credit Losses on Financial Instruments, and later amended the ASU in 2019, as described below. This guidance replaces the current incurred loss impairment methodology. Under the new guidance, on initial recognition and at each reporting period, an entity is required to recognize an allowance that reflects its current estimate of credit losses expected to be incurred over the life of the financial instrument based on historical experience, current conditions and reasonable and supportable forecasts.
In November 2019, the FASB issued ASU No. 2019-10, Financial Instruments-Credit Losses (Topic 326), Derivatives and Hedging (Topic 815), and Leases (Topic 842): Effective Dates (“ASU 2019-10”). The purpose of this amendment is to create a two-tier rollout of major updates, staggering the effective dates between larger public companies and all other entities. This granted certain classes of companies, including Smaller Reporting Companies (“SRCs”), additional time to implement major FASB standards, including ASU 2016-13. Larger public companies will have an effective date for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2019, including interim periods within those fiscal years. All other entities are permitted to defer adoption of ASU 2016-13, and its related amendments, until fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2022, including interim periods within those fiscal years. Under the current SEC definitions, the Company meets the definition of an SRC and is adopting the deferral period for ASU 2016-13. The guidance requires a modified retrospective transition approach through a cumulative-effect adjustment to retained earnings as of the beginning of the period of adoption. The Company does not expect the adoption of this standard will have a material impact on its condensed consolidated financial statements.
In March 2022, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (the "FASB") issued ASU No. 2022-02, Financial Instruments-Credit Losses (Topic 326): Troubled Debt Restructurings and Vintage Disclosures. The purpose of this amendment is to enhance disclosure requirements for certain loan refinancings and restructurings by creditors when a borrower is experiencing financial difficulty. It requires that an entity disclose current-period gross writeoffs by year of origination for financing receivables and net investments in leases. The amendments should be applied prospectively and are effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2022, including interim periods within those fiscal years. Early adoption of the amendments is permitted if an entity has adopted the amendments in ASU 2016-13 described above, including adoption in an interim period. The Company will evaluate ASC No. 2022-02 and does not expect the adoption of this standard will have a material impact on its condensed consolidated financial statements.
Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements
As of December 25, 2022, we did not have any off-balance sheet arrangements.
ITEM 7A. QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK
ITEM 8. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA
See Item 15 of Part IV of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
ITEM 9. CHANGES IN AND DISAGREEMENTS WITH ACCOUNTANTS ON ACCOUNTING AND FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE
There has been no change of accountants or any disagreements with accountants on any matter of accounting principles or practices, or financial statement disclosure required to be reported under this item.
ITEM 9A. CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES
Evaluation of Disclosure Controls and Procedures
Our management, with the participation of our Chief Executive Officer and our Chief Financial Officer, has evaluated the effectiveness of our disclosure controls and procedures as of the end of the period covered by this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The term “disclosure controls and procedures,” as defined in Rules 13a-15(e) and 15d-15(e) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), means controls and other procedures of a company that are designed to ensure that information required to be disclosed by a company in the reports that it files or submits under the Exchange Act is recorded, processed, summarized and reported, within the time periods specified in the SEC’s rules and forms. Disclosure controls and procedures include, without limitation, controls and procedures designed to ensure that information required to be disclosed by a company in the reports that it files or submits under the Exchange Act is accumulated and communicated to the company’s management, including its principal executive and principal financial officers, or persons performing similar functions, as appropriate to allow timely decisions regarding required disclosure. Management recognizes that any controls and procedures, no matter how well designed and operated, can provide only reasonable assurance of achieving their objectives and management necessarily applies its judgment in evaluating the cost-benefit relationship of possible controls and procedures. Based on such evaluation, our Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer have concluded that, as of such date, our disclosure controls and procedures were effective at the reasonable assurance level.
Management’s Annual Report on Internal Control Over Financial Reporting
Our management is responsible for establishing and maintaining adequate internal control over financial reporting, as such term is defined in Rule 13a-15(f) under the Exchange Act.
A company’s internal control over financial reporting is a process designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. A company’s internal control over financial reporting also includes those policies and procedures that:
(a)Pertain to the maintenance of records that, in reasonable detail, accurately and fairly reflect the transactions and dispositions of the assets of the company;
(b)Provide reasonable assurance that transactions are recorded as necessary to permit preparation of financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, and that receipts and expenditures of the company are being made only in accordance with authorizations of management and directors of the company; and
(c)Provide reasonable assurance regarding prevention or timely detection of unauthorized acquisition, use or disposition of the company’s assets that could have a material effect on the financial statements.
Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements. Also, projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate.
Under the supervision of the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors and with the participation of our management, including our Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer, we conducted an evaluation of the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting using the criteria established in Internal Control Integrated Framework (2013) issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO). Based on our assessment and those criteria, our Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer concluded that our internal control over financial reporting was effective as of December 25, 2022.
Because we are a non-accelerated filer, we are not required to include an attestation report by our independent registered public accounting firm regarding the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting in this annual report as of December 25, 2022.
Changes in Internal Control over Financial Reporting
There was no change in our internal control over financial reporting identified in connection with the evaluation required by Rule 13a-15(d) and 15d-15(d) of the Exchange Act that occurred during the quarter ended December 25, 2022, that has materially affected, or is reasonably likely to materially affect, our internal control over financial reporting.
ITEM 9B. OTHER INFORMATION
On February 21, 2023, the Board of Directors approved an amendment to Section 3.05 of the Company's Bylaws to replace the words "next election of the class for which such director shall have been chosen" with the words "next annual meeting of stockholders." This was a technical amendment to the language describing the term of directors elected to fill vacancies or newly created directorships, in order to properly reflect the declassification of the Board of Directors which occurred in December 2022. The foregoing description of the Bylaws amendment is qualified in its entirety by reference to the complete text of the Amended and Restated Bylaws, which is filed herewith as Exhibit 3.6 and incorporated herein by this reference.
ITEM 9C. DISCLOSURE REGARDING FOREIGN JURISDICTIONS THAT PREVENT INSPECTIONS.
ITEM 10. DIRECTORS, EXECUTIVE OFFICERS AND CORPORATE GOVERNANCE
Executive Officers and Directors
Below is a list of the names and ages, as of December 25, 2022, of our directors and executive officers, and a description of the business experience of each of them.
|Andrew A. Wiederhorn||56||President and Chief Executive Officer, Director|
|James Neuhauser||64||Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors|
|Kenneth J. Anderson ||68||Director|
|Lynne L. Collier||55||Director|
|Amy V. Forrestal ||57||Director|
|Edward H. Rensi||78||Director|
|Kenneth J. Kuick||54||Chief Financial Officer|
|Thayer D. Wiederhorn||34||Chief Operating Officer|
|Taylor A. Wiederhorn||34||Chief Development Officer|
|Robert G. Rosen ||56||Executive Vice President of Capital Markets |
|Allen Z. Sussman||58||Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Secretary|
|Ron Roe||45||Senior Vice President of Finance|
Andrew A. Wiederhorn has served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of FAT Brands Inc. and our principal operating subsidiaries since our inception in March 2017. He also served as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of our former parent company, Fog Cutter Capital Group Inc., since its formation in 1997. Mr. Wiederhorn previously founded and served as the Chairman Chief Executive Officer of Wilshire Financial Services Group Inc. and Wilshire Credit Corporation. Mr. Wiederhorn received his B.S. degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern California in 1987, with an emphasis in Finance and Entrepreneurship. He previously served on the Board of Directors of Fabricated Metals, Inc., The Boy Scouts of America Cascade Pacific Council, The Boys and Girls Aid Society of Oregon, University of Southern California Associates, Citizens Crime Commission of Oregon, and Economic Development Council for the City of Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Wiederhorn was also featured as the Fatburger CEO on the CBS television program “Undercover Boss” in 2013.
James Neuhauser has served on our Board of Directors since our inception in 2017, and became Executive Chairman of the Board in July 2022. He previously served as a Senior Managing Director in the Private Capital Markets Group of Stifel Nicolas & Company from May 2017 until July 2022. Mr. Neuhauser also serves as a managing member of Turtlerock Capital, LLC, a private company that finances and invests in real estate development projects. Mr. Neuhauser previously held senior positions at FBR & Co. over 24 years, including Chief Investment Officer, Head of Investment Banking, Head of the Commitment Committee and a member of the firm's Executive Committee. Prior to joining FBR, Mr. Neuhauser was a Senior Vice President of Trident Financial Corporation for seven years, where he specialized in managing stock offerings for mutual to stock conversions of thrift institutions. Before joining Trident, he worked in commercial banking with The Bank of New England. Mr. Neuhauser is a CFA charter holder and a member of the Society of Financial Analysts. He received a Bachelor of Arts from Brown University and an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan.
Kenneth J. Anderson has served on our Board of Directors since October 2021, and was a director of our former parent company, Fog Cutter Capital Group Inc., until December 2020. Mr. Anderson has more than 35 years of experience in advising families, corporate executives and business owners, providing financial strategies related to taxes, estate planning, investments, insurance and philanthropy. Mr. Anderson currently serves as the CEO of the investment firm, Cedar Tree Capital, where he provides strategic planning to high-net-worth family groups with a focus on public equities and alternative investments. Prior to Cedar Tree Capital, was a founder and client service director at a leading independent wealth management firm, Aspiriant, where he also was a member of the Board of Directors. Mr. Anderson was a client service director at myCFO until its sale in 2002 and prior to that a Tax Partner at Arthur Andersen LLP for 20 years. In addition to his decades of professional experience, Mr. Anderson is a certified public accountant and licensed attorney.
Lynne L. Collier has served on our Board of Directors since July 2022. Ms. Collier is an experienced capital markets professional, with nearly 30 years of experience in public capital markets and a focus on the restaurant industry. Ms. Collier
currently serves as Head of Consumer Discretionary for Water Tower Research, LLC, and previously served as a Managing Director in the Investor Relations Division of ICR Inc. from April 2021 to June 2022. Prior to that, Ms. Collier had a 25-year career in equity research as a sell-side Consumer Analyst, including for Loop Capital, Canaccord Genuity and Sterne Agee. Ms. Collier received a bachelor's degree in finance from Baylor University and an M.B.A. in finance from Texas Christian University.
Amy V. Forrestal has served on our Board of Directors since October 2021. Ms. Forrestal is a seasoned executive and investment banker for companies in the restaurant and franchising industries. Ms. Forrestal serves as Managing Director of Brookwood Associates, an investment banking firm based in Atlanta, GA. Ms. Forrestal established Brookwood’s Restaurant and Hospitality Group and spearheaded noteworthy deals for brands such as Beef O’ Brady’s, Fuddruckers, Rita’s Italian Ice, Quiznos, Zoes Kitchen and The Habit Burger Grill. Prior to joining Brookwood, Ms. Forrestal was a Managing Director in Banc of America Securities’ Mergers and Acquisitions group. Over her 15 years at Banc of America Securities and its predecessor organizations, including NationsBanc Montgomery Securities, Ms. Forrestal advised senior management teams, boards of directors and business owners in a variety of strategic and financial transactions, including acquisitions, leveraged buyouts, exclusive sales, divestitures, ESOPs, public equity and debt offerings and private equity and debt placements. Ms. Forrestal received a Bachelor of Arts degree in math and economics from Duke University.
Edward H. Rensi has served on the Board of Directors since our inception in March 2017, and became Chairman of the Board in October 2017. In July 2022, Mr. Rensi transitioned to the role of Vice-Chairman of the Board and Lead Independent Director. Mr. Rensi is the retired president and chief executive officer of McDonald’s USA. Prior to his retirement in 1997, Mr. Rensi devoted his entire professional career to McDonald’s, joining the company in 1966 as a “grill man” and part-time manager trainee in Columbus, Ohio. Mr. Rensi became president and chief operating officer of McDonald's USA in 1984, and was named chief executive officer in 1991, overseeing all domestic company-owned and franchisee operations, in addition to providing direction relative to sales, profits, operations and service standards, customer satisfaction, product development, personnel and training. During his 13-year term as president, McDonald's U.S. sales doubled to more than $16 billion, the number of U.S. restaurants grew from nearly 6,600 to more than 12,000, and the number of U.S. franchisees grew from 1,600 to more than 2,700. Since his retirement, Mr. Rensi has held consulting positions. From January 2014 to July 2015, Mr. Rensi served as director and interim CEO of Famous Dave's of America, Inc. Mr. Rensi received his B.S. in Business Education from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.
Kenneth J. Kuick has served as the Chief Financial Officer since May 31, 2021. Prior to joining the Company, Mr. Kuick served as Chief Financial Officer of Noodles & Company, a national fast-casual restaurant concept, from November 2018 to August 2020, where he was responsible for leading the Company’s finance, accounting and supply chain operations. Prior to that, Mr. Kuick served as Chief Accounting Officer of VICI Properties Inc., a real estate investment trust specializing in casino properties, from October 2017 to August 2018, where he was responsible for accounting, consolidated financial operations, capital markets transactions, treasury, internal audit, tax, information technology and external reporting. Prior to that, Mr. Kuick served as Chief Accounting Officer of Caesars Entertainment Operating Company, a subsidiary of Caesars Entertainment Corporation, and as Vice President, Assistant Controller for Caesars Entertainment Corporation. Mr. Kuick is a Certified Public Accountant and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and Business Systems from Taylor University.
Thayer D. Wiederhorn has served as the Chief Operating Officer since November 2021 where he is responsible for day-to-day business operations and providing leadership to management to ensure short-term and long-term business strategies are implemented and executed and that the organization's capabilities are optimized. Prior to that, Mr. Wiederhorn served as Chief Marketing Officer since March 2017 where he oversaw global branding and marketing for over 2,000 franchise-owned restaurants. Mr. Wiederhorn served as Vice President - Marketing of Fatburger North America Inc. and Buffalo’s Franchise Concepts Inc. From June 2012 through March 2017 and as Director of Marketing of Fatburger North America Inc. from July 2011 through June 2012. Additionally, he served as Marketing Coordinator from April 2011 through June 2011 and Brand Development Agent from October 2010 through April 2011. Mr. Wiederhorn started his career working in Fatburger restaurants and food-trucks. Mr. Wiederhorn received his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, with an emphasis in Finance Business Economics, from the University of Southern California.
Taylor A. Wiederhorn has served as the Chief Development Officer since October 2017. Previously, Mr. Wiederhorn served as Vice President - Franchise Marketing and Development for Fatburger North America from September 2011 until October 2017. Mr. Wiederhorn graduated from the USC Marshall School of Business with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a concentration in corporate Finance.
Robert G. Rosen has served as the Executive Vice President of Capital Markets since April 2021. Prior to joining the company, he had been the Managing Member of Kodiak Financial Group LLC since 2004. Kodiak invests in credit classes of
ABS and MBS securities, purchases individual real estate loans and portfolios, purchases and manages real estate developments and invests in private equity transactions as well as venture capital transactions. Mr. Rosen began his career in commercial banking, focusing on direct lending for Fleet Bank (then Fleet Norstar Bank) in Albany NY after completing their extensive management training program. This was followed in 1990 by a career on Wall Street, working for Bankers Trust (now Deutsche Bank) and Kidder Peabody in structured finance and investment banking focusing primarily on credit derivatives including securitizations, asset-based lending as well as financing and banking commercial banks and other originators of securitizable assets. After Kidder, Mr. Rosen joined Black Diamond Advisors and Black Diamond Securities (and ultimately Black Diamond Capital Management). He served as a Director and FINOP of the Black Diamond entities, with a continued focus on structured finance transactions and credit as well as portfolio management (banking, sales and trading) and servicing. Mr. Rosen continued his career at Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi and several buy side firms. He continues to be a long-term consultant to Black Diamond Capital Management and serves on multiple advisory boards and committees of Black Diamond. Mr. Rosen holds an MBA and a BA degree from Union College in Managerial Economics.
Allen Z. Sussman has served as the General Counsel and Executive Vice President for Corporate Development and our Corporate Secretary since March 2021. Prior to that time, Mr. Sussman was a partner at the law firm of Loeb & Loeb LLP in Los Angeles, California, specializing in corporate and securities law, and served as the primary outside corporate and securities counsel of FAT Brands. Prior to private practice, in the early 1990s Mr. Sussman served as an attorney with the Division of Enforcement of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, DC. Mr. Sussman holds a B.S. degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University and a J.D. degree from Boston University School of Law.
Ron Roe currently serves as the Senior Vice President of Finance. Prior to August 16, 2018, Mr. Roe served as the Chief Financial Officer since 2009 and served as the Vice President of Finance from 2007 to 2009. Prior to 2007, Mr. Roe was an acquisitions associate for Fog Cutter Capital Group Inc. He began his career as an investment banking analyst with Piper Jaffray. Mr. Roe attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics.
The following family members of Andrew Wiederhorn are employed by the Company in the capacities indicated below:
•Thayer Wiederhorn, son of Andrew Wiederhorn, serves as Chief Operating Officer of the Company. During fiscal 2022, Thayer Wiederhorn received total cash compensation from the Company of approximately $1,600,000, participated in the general welfare and benefit plans of the Company and vested in stock options to purchase 33,334 shares of the Company’s common stock granted in previous years. Andrew Wiederhorn does not have a material interest in Thayer Wiederhorn’s employment, nor do they share a household.
•Taylor Wiederhorn, son of Andrew Wiederhorn, serves as Chief Development Officer of the Company. During fiscal 2022, Taylor Wiederhorn received total cash compensation from the Company of approximately $1,660,000, participated in the general welfare and benefit plans of the Company and vested in stock options to purchase 33,334 shares of the Company’s common stock granted in previous years. Andrew Wiederhorn does not have a material interest in Taylor Wiederhorn’s employment, nor do they share a household.
•Mason Wiederhorn, son of Andrew Wiederhorn, serves as Creative Director of the Company. During fiscal 2021, Mason Wiederhorn received total cash compensation from the Company of approximately $1,275,000, participated in the general welfare and benefit plans of the Company and vested in stock options to purchase 25,000 shares of the Company’s common stock granted in previous years. Andrew Wiederhorn does not have a material interest in Mason Wiederhorn’s employment, nor do they share a household.
Delinquent Section 16(a) Reports
Based solely on a review of Forms 3, 4 and 5 and amendments thereto furnished to us for the year ended December 25, 2022, our directors, officers, or beneficial owners of more than 10% of our common stock timely furnished reports on all Forms 3, 4 and 5, except that (i) Squire Junger filed one late Form 4 for two transactions, (ii) Taylor Wiederhorn filed one late Form 4 for one transaction, (iii) Kenneth Anderson filed one late Form 4 for one transaction and (iv) Lynne Collier filed one late Form 3.
Code of Ethics
We have adopted a written code of business ethics that applies to our directors, officers and employees, including our principal executive officer, principal financial officer, principal accounting officer or controller, or persons performing similar functions. We have posted a current copy of the code under the Corporate Governance section of our website at https://
ir.fatbrands.com. In addition, we intend to post on our website all disclosures that are required by law or the NASDAQ listing standards concerning any amendments to, or waivers from, any provision of the code.
During fiscal 2022, our Board of Directors held 43 meetings. Each director attended at least 75% of the aggregate number of meetings of the Board of Directors and meetings of the committees of the Board of Directors on which he or she serves.
The following table sets forth the three standing committees of our Board and the members of each committee as of December 25, 2022 and the number of meetings held by our Board of Directors and the committees during 2022:
|James Neuhauser||Executive Chairman|
|Edward Rensi||Vice-Chairman/Lead Independent Director||Chair||Chair|
|Kenneth J. Anderson||X||Chair||X|
|Lynne L. Collier||X||X||X|
|Amy V. Forrestal ||X||X||X|
|Meetings in 2022:||43||6||4||4|
To assist it in carrying out its duties, the Board of Directors has delegated certain authority to an Audit Committee, a Compensation Committee and a Nominating and Governance Committee, the functions of which are described below.
The Audit Committee is responsible for, among other matters:
•appointing, compensating, retaining, evaluating, terminating and overseeing our independent registered public accounting firm;
•discussing with our independent registered public accounting firm their independence from management;
•reviewing with our independent registered public accounting firm the scope and results of their audit;
•approving all audit and permissible non-audit services to be performed by our independent registered public accounting firm;
•overseeing the financial reporting process and discussing with management and our independent registered public accounting firm the interim and annual financial statements that we file with the SEC;
•reviewing and monitoring our accounting principles, accounting policies, financial and accounting controls and compliance with legal and regulatory requirements; and
•establishing procedures for the confidential anonymous submission of concerns regarding questionable accounting, internal controls or auditing matters.
Our Board of Directors has determined that each member of the Audit Committee meets the definition of “independent director” for purposes of serving on an audit committee under Rule 10A-3 and NASDAQ rules. In addition, our Board of Directors has determined that each of Mr. Anderson, Ms. Collier and Ms. Forrestal qualifies as an “audit committee financial expert,” as such term is defined in Item 407(d)(5) of Regulation S-K.
The Board of Directors adopted a charter for the Audit Committee on October 19, 2017. A copy of the Audit Committee charter is available in the Corporate Governance section of our website at https://ir.fatbrands.com. The Audit Committee reviews and reassesses the adequacy of the charter on an annual basis.
The Compensation Committee is responsible for assisting our Board of Directors in discharging its responsibilities relating to the compensation of our Chief Executive Officer, other executive officers and outside directors, as well as
administering stock incentive plans. During the fiscal year ended December 25, 2022, there were no employee directors on the Compensation Committee and no Compensation Committee interlocks.
The Compensation Committee is responsible for the following, among other matters, as required from time to time:
•reviewing and recommending to our board of directors the compensation of our Chief Executive Officer and other executive officers and the outside directors;
•conducting a performance review of our Chief Executive Officer;
•administering the Company’s incentive-compensation plans and equity-based plans as in effect or as adopted from time to time by the Board of Directors;
•approving any new equity compensation plan or material change to an existing plan where stockholder approval has not been obtained;
•reviewing our compensation policies; and
•if required, preparing the report of the Compensation Committee for inclusion in our annual proxy statement.
The Board of Directors has adopted a charter for the Compensation Committee on October 19, 2017. A copy of the Compensation Committee charter is available in the Corporate Governance section of our website at https://ir.fatbrands.com. The Compensation Committee reviews and reassesses the adequacy of the charter on an annual basis.
Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee
The Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee is responsible for the following, among other matters, as required from time to time:
•identify qualified individuals to serve as members of the Company’s board of directors;
•review the qualifications and performance of incumbent directors;
•review and consider director candidates who may be suggested by any director or executive officer or by any stockholder of the Company; and
•review considerations relating to board composition, including size of the board, term, and the criteria for membership on the board.
The Board of Directors has adopted a charter for the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee on October 19, 2017. A copy of the Compensation Committee charter is available in the Corporate Governance section of our website at https://ir.fatbrands.com. The Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee reviews and reassesses the adequacy of the charter on an annual basis.
ITEM 11. EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION
The following table sets forth the compensation for the fiscal years ended December 25, 2022 and December 26, 2021 awarded to, earned by, or paid to our principal executive officer and our other two most highly compensated executive officers. We refer to the individuals included in the Summary Compensation Table as our “named executive officers.”
SUMMARY COMPENSATION TABLE
|Name and |
|Salary ($)||Bonus ($)|
Stock Awards (1) ($)
Awards (1) ($)
All other Compensation (2) ($)
|Andrew A. Wiederhorn||2022||750,000 ||2,250,000 ||— ||— ||551,040 ||3,551,040 |
|Chief Executive Officer||2021||546,615 ||1,500,000 ||— ||607,000 ||221,294 ||2,874,909 |
|Robert G. Rosen||2022||550,000 ||1,650,000 ||— ||— ||— ||2,200,000 |
|EVP, Capital Markets||2021||395,866 ||480,000 ||857,000 ||607,000 ||— ||2,339,866 |
|Taylor A. Wiederhorn||2022||550,000 ||1,110,000 ||— ||— ||— ||1,660,000 |
|Chief Development Officer||2021||480,000 ||480,000 ||— ||607,000 ||— ||1,567,000 |
(1) Amounts shown represent the aggregate grant date fair value computed in accordance with Accounting Standards Codification 718. Assumptions used in the calculation of this amount for fiscal year ended December 25, 2022 are included in footnote 13 to the Company’s audited consolidated financial statements for the fiscal year ended December 25, 2022, included in Part IV of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
(2) The amount disclosed for Mr. Andrew Wiederhorn reflects the aggregate incremental cost to the Company of providing him with certain personal use of leased aircraft pursuant to his employment agreement. This cost is calculated based on the applicable hourly rate charged to the Company for leased aircraft.
Executive Employment Agreements
There are no written employment agreements between the Company and any of its employees, other than Andrew A. Wiederhorn.
On November 18, 2021, the Company entered into an Employment Agreement (the “Employment Agreement”) with Andrew A. Wiederhorn, who has served as the Company’s Chief Executive Officer since its inception. Pursuant to the Employment Agreement, Mr. Wiederhorn’s term as Chief Executive Officer will continue for a period of three years from July 1, 2021, the effective date of the Employment Agreement, unless earlier terminated as provided in the Employment Agreement, and will be automatically extended for additional terms of successive two year periods unless the Company or Mr. Wiederhorn gives written notice of the termination of his employment at least 180 days prior to the expiration of the then current termination date.
Pursuant to the Employment Agreement, Mr. Wiederhorn’s annual base salary is $750,000, subject to an annual merit-based increases in the sole discretion of the Board of Directors of the Company (the “Board”). Mr. Wiederhorn will also be eligible for an annual discretionary bonus in the sole discretion of the Board, with a target annual discretionary Bonus of up to 100% of base salary and a maximum of 300% of base salary for exceptional performance in the sole discretion of the Board. Mr. Wiederhorn’s eligibility to receive a bonus for any particular calendar year is subject to the achievement by him and the Company, as applicable, of personal and Company-wide targets to be established by the Company in the discretion of the Board.
Pursuant to the Employment Agreement, Mr. Wiederhorn will be eligible to receive awards of equity from time to time in the form of stock options, stock purchase rights and/or restricted stock awards. Such awards will be subject to the achievement by Mr. Wiederhorn and the Company, as applicable, of personal and Company-wide targets to be established by the Company, on such terms and subject to such conditions as the Board shall determine as of the date of any such grant. In the event of a change in control (as defined in the Employment Agreement), Mr. Wiederhorn’s continuous employment is involuntarily terminated without “cause” (as defined in the Employment Agreement), or Mr. Wiederhorn resigns from continuous employment for “good reason” (as defined in the Employment Agreement), and in any case other than as a result of his death or disability, then 100% of the equity awards that are then unvested will become fully vested. In addition, in the event that Mr. Wiederhorn’s employment is terminated by the Company without “cause” or by Mr. Wiederhorn for “good reason”, Mr. Wiederhorn will be entitled to receive severance of 12 months of base salary payable on the Company’s regular payroll schedule.
The Employment Agreement also entitles Mr. Wiederhorn to participate in the benefit plans or programs that the Company may make available to employees and their families from time to time. The Employment Agreement also provides for certain other ancillary benefits, including the reimbursement of all reasonable business expenses and, for security purposes, use at the Company’s expense of private aircraft transportation for all business-related travel. The Company will also bear expenses for Mr. Wiederhorn’s personal use of private aircraft transportation that does not exceed 100 hours of flight time in any calendar year. In addition, Mr. Wiederhorn is entitled to 25 days of paid time off during each twelve-month period of employment.
OUTSTANDING EQUITY AWARDS AT FISCAL 2022 YEAR END
The following table summarizes the outstanding equity award holdings of our named executive officers as of December 25, 2022.
|Option Awards||Stock Awards|
|Name||Number of Securities |
Options (#) Exercisable
|Number of Securities |
Options (#) Unexercisable
|Option Exercise Price ($)||Option Expiration Date||Number of Shares or Units of Stock That Have Not Vested (#)||Market Value of Shares or Units of Stock That Have Not Vested ($)|
|Andrew A. Wiederhorn||15,318 ||— ||10.68 ||10/20/2027||—||—|
|Chief Executive Officer||15,318 ||— ||4.80 ||12/10/2028||—||—|
|33,334 ||66,666 ||11.43 ||11/16/2031||—||—|
|Robert G. Rosen||33,334 ||66,666 ||11.43 ||11/16/2031||100,000||552,000|
|EVP, Capital Markets||—||—|
|Taylor A. Wiederhorn||15,318 ||— ||10.68 ||10/20/2027||—||—|
|Chief Development Officer||15,318 ||— ||4.80 ||12/10/2028||—||—|
|33,334 ||66,666 ||11.43 ||11/16/2031||—||—|
Option Exercises and Stock Vested
None of the named executives acquired shares of the Company’s stock through exercise of options during the year ended December 25, 2022.
The Company uses a combination of cash and stock-based incentive compensation to attract and retain qualified candidates to serve on the Board of Directors. In setting director compensation, the Company considers the significant amount of time that our directors expend in fulfilling their duties to the Company as well as the skill-level required by the Company of members of the Board of Directors.
We pay each non-employee director serving on our Board of Directors $80,000 in annual cash compensation, an additional $40,000 in annual cash compensation for service on Board committees and an annual equity award of stock options to acquire 30,636 shares of common stock. The stock options issued to directors are awarded under our 2017 Omnibus Equity Incentive Plan. During fiscal 2022, we also issued our directors a one-time award of 10,000 restricted shares of Class A Common Stock vesting over two years in equal annual installments on the anniversary date of the grant.. The non-employee director compensation policy may be amended, modified or terminated at any time by our Board of Directors or Compensation Committee.
At various times upon the quarterly payment dates of the cash component of director compensation, the Board has allowed each independent director to elect to receive his or her cash compensation in the form of Class A common stock of the Company at market value at the time the election is made. Under such arrangement, during fiscal 2022, the independent
directors elected to acquire an aggregate of 4,761 shares of Class A common stock in 2022 at a weighted average price per share of $6.30.
The terms of the equity award described above are set forth in the 2017 Omnibus Equity Incentive Plan (the “Plan”). The Plan is a comprehensive incentive compensation plan under which we can grant equity-based and other incentive awards to officers, employees and directors of, and consultants and advisers to, FAT Brands and its subsidiaries. The Plan, as amended, provides for a maximum of 5,000,000 shares available for grant and is administered by the Compensation Committee of the Board of Directors.
The following table sets forth a summary of the compensation we paid or accrued to our non-employee directors and our executive chairman for the fiscal year ended December 25, 2022:
|Edward H. Rensi||120,000 ||88,500 ||88,982 ||297,482 |
|Kenneth A. Anderson||90,000 ||88,500 ||88,982 ||267,482 |
|Lynne L. Collier (2)||60,000 ||88,500 ||88,982 ||237,482 |
|Amy V. Forrestal||120,000 ||88,500 ||88,982 ||297,482 |
|Squire Junger (3)||120,000 ||88,500 ||88,982 ||297,482 |
|James Neuhauser (4)||807,500 ||853,500 ||— ||1,661,000 |
(1)Amounts shown represent the grant date fair value calculated in accordance with Accounting Standards Codification 718. Assumptions used in the calculation of this amount are included in footnote 14 to the Company’s audited consolidated financial statements included in Part IV of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. During 2022, the directors were each granted options to purchase 30,636 shares of common stock.
(2)Ms. Collier was appointed to the Board of Directors effective as of July 12, 2022.
(3)Mr. Junger was removed from the Board of Directors effective as of December 20, 2022.
(4)Mr. Neuhauser was appointed Executive Chairman effective as of July 13, 2022. This table includes Mr. Neuhauser's compensation as a non-executive Director prior to July 13, 2022 and as Executive Chairman beginning on July 13, 2022.
ITEM 12. SECURITY OWNERSHIP OF CERTAIN BENEFICIAL OWNERS AND MANAGEMENT AND RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS
The following table sets forth information, as of February 23, 2023, with respect to the beneficial ownership of our Class A common stock and our Class B common stock by:
each person known by us to beneficially own more than 5% of our Class A common stock or Class B common stock;
each of our directors;
each of our named executive officers; and
all of our executive officers and directors as a group.
The number of shares beneficially owned by each stockholder is determined under rules issued by the SEC and includes voting power (if applicable) or investment power with respect to securities. Under these rules, beneficial ownership includes any shares as to which the individual or entity has sole or shared voting power (if applicable) or investment power. In computing the number of shares beneficially owned by an individual or entity and the percentage ownership of that person, shares subject to options, or other rights held by such person that are currently exercisable or will become exercisable within 60 days of the effective date of the disclosure, are considered outstanding, although these shares are not considered outstanding for
purposes of computing the percentage ownership of any other person. Unless otherwise indicated, the address of all listed stockholders is c/o FAT Brands Inc., 9720 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 500, Beverly Hills, California 90212. Each of the stockholders listed below has sole voting power (if applicable) and sole investment power with respect to the shares beneficially owned by such stockholder unless noted otherwise, subject to community property laws where applicable.
As of February 23, 2023, there were issued and outstanding 15,316,920 shares of Class A common stock and 1,270,805 shares of Class B common stock.
|Class A Common Stock|
|Class B Common Stock|
Percent of Total Voting Power †
|Name of beneficial owner||Number||%||Number||%|
|Greater than 5% Stockholders|
|Fog Cutter Holdings LLC||7,033,397 ||(1)||45.9 ||%||706,514 ||55.6 ||%||55.5 ||%|
|HOT GFG LLC||2,259,594 ||(2)||14.8 ||%||— ||*||*|
|Geode Capital Holdings LLC||— ||*||77,586 ||6.1 ||%||(3)||6.1 ||%|
|Gregory Fortunoff and certain persons||1,024,939 ||(4)||6.6 ||%||— ||*||*|
|Named Executive Officers and Directors|
| Andrew A. Wiederhorn||226,449 ||(5)||1.5 ||%||5,333 ||*||*|
|Robert G. Rosen||133,333 ||(6)||*||10,000 ||*||*|
Taylor A. Wiederhorn
|220,678 ||(7)||1.4 ||%||14,989 ||1.2 ||%||1.2 ||%|
Kenneth J. Anderson
|176,620 ||(8)||1.2 ||%||16,353 ||1.3 ||%||1.3 ||%|
|Lynne L. Collier||10,000 ||(9)||*||— ||0.0 ||%||*|
Amy V. Forrestal
|24,113 ||(8)||*||— ||*||*|
|294,627 ||(10)||1.9 ||%||8,803 ||*||*|
| Edward Rensi||120,132 ||(11)||*||3,354 ||*||*|
|All directors and executive officers as a group (12 persons)||1,901,878 ||(12)||16.2 ||%||111,136 ||8.7 ||%||8.8 ||%|
|Represents the voting power with respect to all shares of our Class A Common Stock and Class B Common Stock, voting as a single class, beneficially owned by the holder. Each share of Class A Common Stock is entitled to one vote per share and each share of Class B Common Stock is entitled to 2,000 votes per share.|
|Represents beneficial ownership of less than 1% of the class.|
|(1)||Based on a Schedule 13D filed by Fog Cutter Holdings LLC, a limited liability company controlled by a board of managers comprised of Andrew A. Wiederhorn, Taylor A. Wiederhorn, Thayer D. Wiederhorn and Mason A. Wiederhorn. Includes warrants to purchase 19,148 shares of Class A Common Stock. The address of Fog Cutter Holdings, LLC is 9720 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 500, Beverly Hills, CA 90212.|
|(2)||Based on a Schedule 13G filed on March 8, 2022 jointly by HOT GFG LLC and Ms. Rachel Serruya. Ms. Serruya is the sole Director and President of HOT GFG LLC, and may be deemed to have voting and investment power over these shares. Ms. Serruya disclaims beneficial ownership of such securities except to the extent of her indirect pecuniary interest therein, if any. The address provided by HOT GFG LLC is 210 Shields Court, Markham, Ontario, Canada L3R8V2.|
|(3)||Based on a Schedule 13G filed on February 9, 2022 jointly by Geode Capital Holdings LLC and Geode Capital Management, LLC. The address provided by Geode is 100 Summer Street, 12th Floor, Boston, MA 02110.|
Includes warrants to purchase 158,000 shares of Class A Common Stock. Based in part on a Schedule 13D/A filed jointly on August 25, 2022 by Gregory Fortunoff with an address at 49 West 37th Street, New York, NY 10018. Mr. Fortunoff expressly disclaims beneficial ownership for all purposes of the shares beneficially owned by other persons.
Includes 23,332 shares of Class A Common Stock, options to purchase an additional 63,969 shares of Class A Common Stock that have vested or will vest within 60 days of the effective date of the disclosure, and warrants that are exercisable for an additional 120,000 shares of Class A Common Stock, including warrants for 100,000 shares owned by Mr. Wiederhorn’s spouse, to which he disclaims beneficial ownership except to the extent of his pecuniary interest therein. Does not include unvested options to purchase an additional 66,667 shares of Class A Common Stock.
|(6)||Includes options to purchase 33,333 shares of Class A Common Stock that have vested or will vest within 60 days of the effective date of the disclosure. Does not include unvested options to purchase an additional 66,667 shares of Class A Common Stock.|
|(7)||Includes options to purchase 63,969 shares of Class A Common Stock that have vested or will vest within 60 days of the effective date of the disclosure. Does not include unvested options to purchase an additional 66,667 shares of Class A Common Stock.|
Includes options to purchase 10,212 shares of Class A Common Stock that have vested or will vest within 60 days of the effective date of the disclosure. Does not include unvested options to purchase an additional 51,060 shares of Class A Common Stock.
|(9)||Does not include unvested options to purchase an additional 30,636 shares of Class A Common Stock.|
Includes options to purchase 76,590 shares of Class A Common Stock that have vested or will vest within 60 days of the effective date of the disclosure. Does not include unvested options to purchase an additional 30,636 shares of Class A Common Stock.
Includes options to purchase 76,590 shares of Class A Common Stock that have vested or will vest within 60 days of the effective date of the disclosure. Does not include unvested options to purchase an additional 61,272 shares of Class A Common Stock.
Includes aggregate options to purchase 526,782 shares of Class A Common Stock that have vested or will vest within 60 days of the effective date of the disclosure. Does not include aggregate unvested options to purchase an additional 624,666 shares of Class A Common Stock. Includes warrants to purchase 140,000 shares of Class A Common Stock, 100,000 of which are owned by Mr. Wiederhorn’s spouse, to which he disclaims beneficial ownership except to the extent of his pecuniary interest therein.
The following table sets forth information, as of February 23, 2023, with respect to the beneficial ownership of our non-voting Series B Cumulative Preferred Stock (the “Series B Preferred Stock”) by each of our directors, each of our named executive officers, and all of our executive officers and directors as a group. As of February 23, 2023, were 7,380,229 issued and outstanding shares of Series B Preferred Stock.
Series B Preferred Stock
Name of beneficial owner
Named Executive Officers and Directors
Andrew A. Wiederhorn
|Robert G. Rosen||232||*|
|Taylor A. Wiederhorn||—|
Kenneth J. Anderson
|Lynne L. Collier||—||*|
Amy V. Forrestal
All directors and executive officers as a group (12 persons)
Represents beneficial ownership of less than 1% of the class.
Mr. Anderson also has voting and investment authority over 478,199 shares of Series B Preferred Stock and a warrant to acquire 100,000 shares of Class A Common Stock held by Trojan Investments, LLC.
ITEM 13. CERTAIN RELATIONSHIPS AND RELATED TRANSACTIONS, AND DIRECTOR INDEPENDENCE
As disclosed above under "Item 12. Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters," Fog Cutter Holdings, LLC beneficially holds approximately 55.5% of the voting power with respect to all shares of our common stock.
The information set forth above under "Item 10. Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance - Family Relationships" is incorporated by reference herein.
The Board has determined that each of the current directors, except Mr. Wiederhorn and Mr. Neuhauser, is independent within the meaning of the applicable rules and regulations of the SEC and the director independence standards of The NASDAQ Stock Market, Inc. (“NASDAQ”), as currently in effect. Furthermore, the Board has determined that each of the members of each of the committees of the Board is “independent” under the applicable rules and regulations of the SEC and the director independence standards of NASDAQ applicable to each such committee, as currently in effect.
ITEM 14. PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTING FEES AND SERVICES
Baker Tilly US, LLP, Los Angeles, California, currently serves as our independent registered public accounting firm. The aggregate accounting fees for the years ended December 25, 2022 and December 26, 2021 are as follows (dollars in thousands):
|December 25, 2022||December 26, 2021|
|Audit fees||$||1,068 ||$||1,128 |
|Audit related fees||$||215 ||$||418 |
|Other fees||$||— ||$||— |
Audit Committee Pre-Approval Policies and Procedures. The Audit Committee reviews the independence of our independent registered public accounting firm on an annual basis and has determined that Baker Tilly US, LLP is independent. In addition, the Audit Committee pre-approves all work (and the related estimated fees) that is to be performed by our independent registered public accounting firm.
ITEM 15. EXHIBITS AND FINANCIAL STATEMENT SCHEDULES
FAT Brands Inc.
(b)Exhibits – See Exhibit Index immediately following the signature pages.
Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm
To the Stockholders and the Board of Directors of FAT Brands Inc.
Opinion on the Financial Statements
We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of FAT Brands Inc. and its subsidiaries (the "Company") as of December 25, 2022 and December 26, 2021, the related consolidated statements of operations, stockholders’ deficit, and cash flows for the years then ended, and the related notes and Schedule II to the consolidated financial statements (collectively referred to as the "consolidated financial statements"). In our opinion, the consolidated financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Company as of December 25, 2022 and December 26, 2021, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for the year then ended, in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.
Basis for Opinion
These consolidated financial statements are the responsibility of the Company’s management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company’s consolidated financial statements based on our audits. We are a public accounting firm registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) ("PCAOB)" and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.
We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the consolidated financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud. Our audits included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the consolidated financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the consolidated financial statements. Our audits also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the consolidated financial statements. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinion.
Critical Audit Matters
The critical audit matters communicated below are matters arising from the current period audit of the financial statements that were communicated or required to be communicated to the audit committee and that: (1) relate to accounts or disclosures that are material to the financial statements and (2) involved our especially challenging, subjective, or complex judgments. The communication of critical audit matters does not alter in any way our opinion on the financial statements, taken as a whole, and we are not, by communicating the critical audit matters below, providing separate opinions on the critical audit matters or on the accounts or disclosures to which they relate.
Goodwill and Intangible Asset Impairment Assessment
Critical Audit Matter Description
As discussed in Note 2 of the consolidated financial statements, goodwill and intangible assets are tested for impairment at least annually on the reporting unit level, and more frequently if the Company believes indicators of impairment exist. The Company determined that three of the reporting units' (Great American Cookie, Pretzel Maker and Marble Slab Company) intangible assets were impaired and the Company recorded related impairment losses of approximately $14 million for the year ended December 25, 2022. The determination of the fair value of the reporting units and related intangibles requires significant estimates and assumptions. Changes in these assumptions could have a significant impact on either the fair value of the reporting units and intangibles, the amount of any goodwill impairment charge, or both.
We identified the impairment assessment of goodwill and intangibles as a critical audit matter. Auditing management's judgements regarding forecasts of future revenue and operating margin, and the discount rate to be applied involved a high degree of subjectivity.
How the Critical Audit Matter Was Addressed in Our Audit
The primary procedures we performed to address this critical audit matter included:
•Obtaining an understanding of management's process for determining goodwill and intangible asset impairment;
•Obtaining and reviewing management's goodwill and intangibles impairment analysis including the fair value of reporting units and intangible balances tested;
•Comparing the actual sales to those forecasted by the Company in previous years in order to assess the historical accuracy of management's forecasting;
•Utilizing a valuation specialist to assist in evaluating the valuation methodologies utilized by the Company for goodwill and intangibles by comparing the methodologies to those utilized by other companies holding similar assets, compared management's assumption inputs to information from external sources and available economic forecasts and data;
•Evaluating the estimated fair value of the reporting units to the Company's market capitalization and evaluating whether any variances from the projections or changes in market capitalization were indicative of potential impairment of the goodwill and identifiable intangible assets; and
•Evaluating whether the assumptions used in the goodwill and intangibles impairment analysis were reasonable by considering the past performance of reporting units and third-party market data, and whether such assumptions were consistent with evidence obtained in other areas of the audit.
/s/ Baker Tilly US, LLP
We have served as the Company’s auditor since 2019.
Los Angeles, California
February 24, 2023
FAT BRANDS INC.
CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
(dollars in thousands, except share data)
|December 25, 2022||December 26, 2021|
|Cash||$||28,668 ||$||56,656 |
|Restricted cash||25,375 ||24,740 |
|Accounts receivable, net ||23,880 ||20,084 |
|Inventory||6,925 ||5,927 |
|Assets classified as held-for-sale||4,767 ||5,476 |
|Other current assets||6,086 ||6,156 |
|Total current assets||95,701 ||119,039 |
|Non-current restricted cash||14,720 ||18,525 |
|Operating lease right-of-use assets||101,114 ||98,552 |
|Goodwill||293,282 ||295,128 |
|Other intangible assets, net||625,294 ||652,788 |
|Property and equipment, net||79,189 ||80,501 |
|Other assets||4,003 ||5,499 |
|Total assets||$||1,213,303 ||$||1,270,032 |
|Liabilities and Stockholders’ Deficit|
|Accounts payable||$||18,328 ||$||27,527 |
|Accrued expenses and other liabilities||52,800 ||46,295 |
|Deferred income, current portion||2,019 ||2,636 |
|Accrued advertising||14,819 ||10,853 |
|Accrued interest payable||13,241 ||10,678 |
|Dividend payable on preferred shares||1,467 ||1,574 |
|Liabilities related to assets classified as held- for-sale||4,084 ||4,780 |
|Current portion of operating lease liability||14,815 ||14,341 |
|Current portion of redeemable preferred stock||91,836 ||67,500 |
|Current portion of long-term debt||49,611 ||631 |
|Current portion of acquisition purchase price payable||4,000 ||4,173 |
|Other current liabilities||— ||7,500 |
|Total current liabilities||267,020 ||198,488 |
|Deferred income, net of current portion||21,698 ||17,662 |
|Deferred income tax liabilities, net||27,181 ||12,921 |
|Operating lease liability, net of current portion||95,620 ||92,920 |
|Long-term debt, net of current portion||958,630 ||904,265 |
|Other liabilities||2,332 ||976 |
|Total liabilities||1,372,481 ||1,227,232 |
|Commitments and contingencies (Note 16)|
|Redeemable preferred stock||— ||64,455 |
Preferred stock: $0.0001 par value; 15,000,000 shares authorized; 3,252,154 shares issued and outstanding at December 25, 2022 and 3,221,471 shares issued and outstanding at December 26, 2021; liquidation preference $25 per share
|45,504 ||55,661 |
Class A and Class B common stock and additional paid-in capital as of December 25, 2022: $0.0001 par value per share; 51,600,000 shares authorized (Class A 50,000,000, Class B 1,600,000); 16,571,675 shares issued and outstanding (Class A 15,300,870, Class B 1,270,805). Common stock and additional paid-in capital as of December 26, 2021: $0.0001 par value; 51,600,000 shares authorized (Class A 50,000,000, Class B 1,600,000); 16,380,552 shares issued and outstanding (Class A 15,109,747, Class B 1,270,805)
|Total stockholders’ deficit||(159,178)||(21,655)|
|Total liabilities and stockholders’ deficit||$||1,213,303 ||$||1,270,032 |
The accompanying notes are an integral part of these audited consolidated financial statements.
FAT BRANDS INC.
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS
(dollars in thousands, except share data)
For the Fiscal Years Ended December 25, 2022 and December 26, 2021
|Royalties||$||87,921 ||$||42,658 |
|Restaurant sales||241,001 ||41,563 |
|Advertising fees||37,997 ||16,728 |
|Factory revenues||33,504 ||13,470 |
|Franchise fees||3,706 ||4,023 |
|Management fees and other income||3,095 ||439 |
|Total revenue||407,224 ||118,881 |
|Costs and expenses|
|General and administrative expense||113,313 ||41,775 |
|Cost of restaurant and factory revenues||221,627 ||44,242 |
|Depreciation and amortization||27,015 ||8,474 |
|Impairment of goodwill and other intangible assets||14,000 ||1,037 |
|Refranchising loss||4,178 |