Sure enough. As forecast here in May, Chanticleer Holdings announced a deal to acquire the eight-unit Little Big Burger chain based in Portland. It’s fifth regional burger brand Chanticleer has purchased, following acquisitions of American Roadside Burgers, The Burger Co., BGR The Burger Joint and BT’s Burger Joint, all on the East coast. This acquisition takes Chanticleer into the Pacific Northwest for the first time, giving it bi-coastal presence.
“With Little Big Burger, we have purchased a brand with iconic status and following amongst a new generation of burger-lovers in Oregon. The restaurants are unique in their design and allow a level of interaction with chefs and the cooking process that we’ve never seen before in the burger industry. This is a tremendous opportunity to capitalize on a regionally prominent brand with a proven scalable business model. Little Big Burger’s unit economic model with EBITDA margin greater than 25% will be accretive to Chanticleer’s earnings and provide a great addition to our portfolio of brands,” Mike Pruitt, CEO of Chanticleer Holdings Inc., said in a release announcing the deal, which closes Aug. 14, 2015. “Today’s announcement further strengthens our position and takes us closer to profitability and achieving our ambition to become the leading global exporter of successful and much-loved American brands.”
Little Big Burger (LBB) was created in 2010 by Portland restaurateurs Micah Camden and Katie Poppe. A ninth location opens this fall in Portland, where all but a unit Eugene, Ore., are located. Camden and Poppe also operate Blue Star Donuts and a fried-chicken concept called Son of a Biscuit.
“LBB is a very well-known brand in the Pacific Northwest; people are fanatical about it. So there’s a real opportunity to further expand in Portland and beyond to markets such as Seattle,” Rob Wright told BurgerBusiness.com. The managing director of Portland’s Meriwether Group, a Portland-based advisory firm that served as exclusive financial advisor to the owners, Wright says Camden and Poppe “recognized that LBB was probably better served in the hands of someone who knows how to do [regional expansion] and has the resources to do it.”
Wright said Meriwether Group spent about nine months running “a very tight [survey] of buyers we thought would understand the company and culture. We talked to a handful of people we thought might be good partners for LBB going forward. Chanticleer proved to be a very good fit. We felt they really understood the better-burger market and had a feel for the culture of LBB, which was critical to Mike and Katie.”
Chanticleer did not disclose a sale price but said LBB had 2014 revenues of about $6 million.
LBB will retain its name and its style as it expands under Chanticleer, says Wright. The concept now offers a very limited menu: a cheeseburger and hamburger, both ¼-lb. patties of Cascade organic beef; a veggie burger, soda, float and beer.
“It’s very exciting to add another award-winning better burger concept to our portfolio. Micah and Katie have done a tremendous job establishing a brand that burger lovers in the region crave. We look forward to taking LBB to the next level and beyond,” said Rich Adams, president-COO of American Burger Company, Chanticleer’s burger brand unit.