Micah Camden, probably the most gossiped about restaurateur in Portland, has supposedly sold his little Little Big Burger chain to… brace yourself – Yum!, the company with over 40,000 fast food restaurants: Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut, and more.
On its face, this rumor sounds totally ridiculous, and at first I wasn’t going to bother posting it. Why would a huge company spend money on a tiny chain that they could easily replicate? But since the gossip first came out, it has grown louder, other rumors about the owner have surfaced, so I figured what the heck.
Take it for what it’s worth. I’ll have a last burger there just in case… but wait, it gets better! There are also rumors swirling around Blue Star Donuts. Once again, details aren’t very clear, but word on the street has Camden and partner Pope selling a stake in the chain to investors looking to open a store in Japan, and a stake in a Los Angeles store.
Lots of lines to read between, but for once I’m gonna shut up.
Honestly, surprisingly large companies are sometimes completely at a loss for replicating a “new” or “unique” (quotes being cause really nothing’s that way) concepts—a few years ago I believe Hilton lured away someone from Starwood/W for their “trade secrets” on creating a boutique hotel chain.
Because apparently amid the many thousands of employees Hilton (or whatever big chain it was) no one could figure out how combine purple and yellow and offer complimentary yoga mats at the front desk (and yeah, I worked for a famous boutique chain, at the height of the craze, for two years. Never did figure out what made it any different).
Or shorter, yeah, Yumm Brands might NOT be able to figure this one out….plus it’s cheaper to buy it out and imitate than to compete
Camden doesn’t own LBB, his partner does…fyi
Micah Camden has just been prancing around the city taking all the credit.
Interesting. In the grand scheme of things, I don’t know that Yum! buying LBB is any weirder than Anheuser-Busch buying 10 Barrel Brewing. And there’s a degree of logic in it; Yum! is at best a pretty minor player in the burger segment (how many A&W outlets are there around here, vs. KFCs and Taco Bells?).
That said, I don’t know how well a buyout is likely to work out. LBB’s uniqueness lies in its extremely limited menu, and with very few exceptions, the top-tier franchise operators (like most of Yum!’s brands) run on a business model that relies strongly on promotional menu items. Of all the possible buyers, Yum! strikes me as one of the least compatible with LBB’s business model.
Ironically, actual fast food burger chains originally started with a very limited menu. I will say you’d think Five Guys would be more Yumm’s sort of target, but maybe this is a trophy wife sort of thing? As you point out, a lot of craft breweries are owned by mainstream breweries and my current employer (in a completely different industry) will purchase smaller brands and sometimes opt not to rebrand
Now if they could just do something about that fried chicken place…