In the past decade or so, American consumers have been shifting their dietary habits away from popular (albeit unhealthy) fast food restaurants, opting instead to dine at so-called “fast casual” dining establishments, which, on the surface, provide more options and the freedom to eat healthier food.
Still, a handful of long-running franchises have had to adapt to changing tastes and preferences, and it seems a Southern California-based burger joint is pulling a 180 with its name.
As reported by L.A. Biz, the popular Californian chain Fatburger, which was established more than 70 years ago in Los Angeles, will be renamed Skinnyburger.
While the name change might seem to be totally built around drawing in new customers, there is another reason why the iconic burger joint is changing its name. Parent company FAT Brands Inc. explained that the name change was prompted by “popular demand” for the restaurant’s No. 1 menu item. The Skinnyburger is a low-carb, lower-fat burger which replaces the traditional burger bun with two patties.
While the company has yet to rename and rebrand their restaurant locations, FAT (which stands for Fresh, Authentic, Tasty) has already reflected the name changed on its website, social media accounts, and across a variety of food delivery services, including UberEATS and Postmates.
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FAT Brands Chief Executive Andy Wiederhorn addressed the name change in a recently-released statement.
“We have long been considering this brand revamp to Skinnyburger and are excited for this first phase of our forthcoming store redesign and national roll-out,” Wiederhorn said in the aforementioned statement.
“Skinnyburger will maintain the same iconic, great taste and experience of Fatburger with a slimmed down brand that we are thrilled to reintroduce to consumers nationwide.”
At the time of writing, there are over 200 Fatburger, or rather, Skinnyburger locations across the world, and the company employs approximately 4,000 workers. Originally founded in 1947 by Lovie Yancey, the original location — which at the time, was called Mr. Fatburger — was located on Western Avenue in Los Angeles. Five years later, Yancey and her partner went separate ways, and she dropped the “Mr.” from the restaurant’s name. Up until 1990, the chain remained in California, before opening up franchise locations in other territories.
Fatburger has restaurants in five western states in the United States and Canada, as well as locations in China, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Malaysia, the United Kingdom, Fiji, Indonesia, Iraq, India, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Tunisia, Macau, Pakistan, Oman, Panama, Singapore, Philippines, Qatar, and Japan.