Slater 50/50 Founder Says Passion is Key to Franchising | Franchise News


Scott Slater founded Slater’s 50/50 in 2009 and is now the “Bacon Baron” after selling the chain to Elite Restaurant Group in 2017.

Scott Slater’s bacon obsession started in college when, after Saturday nights around San Diego State University, he was rushing to the Chargers games the next morning and craving something for him. ‘help, as he put it,’ soak up the night before ‘. The bacon strips caught fire easily on the open barbecue grill. The chopped bacon patties were found to be just as flammable.

“So I started adding ground beef to it, enough to make it tough, and came up with the 50/50,” Slater said of the burger that’s 50 percent ground bacon and 50 percent. hundred ground beef.

This burger eventually became the foundation – and partial namesake – of Slater’s 50/50, the full-service bacon, hamburger and beer restaurant that Slater launched in 2009 after the Great Recession ended his business. previous.

“My original business coming out of college was hot dog concession stands outside of Home Depot, we expanded it to 36 locations,” Slater said. “It was before the recession, when Home Depots was crazy about foot traffic.” In 2009, the company was “no longer viable”.

A second-generation food court in Anaheim, Calif., Started something new. “I had 30 days and $ 135,000 to open the first restaurant,” Slater said. “I was 27 years old.”

Peanut Butter Jelly Burger

Slater’s 50/50 offers burgers such as Peanut Butter & Jellousy, topped with peanut butter, strawberry jelly and bacon.

Slater came up with decadent combinations such as the peanut butter and jelly burger, a ground beef patty topped with a smear of peanut butter, strawberry jelly and two thick slices of bacon – “You can at pretty much anything to do with a burger, ”said – and by 2016 he had six restaurants and the demand for a franchise program was increasing.

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It was then that Mike Nakhleh entered the scene. His Elite restaurant group was a franchisee of Fatburger and Sizzler and had developed ad hoc concepts. Nakhleh, Slater said, was going to become a 50/50 franchisee of Slater “and we discussed and made a deal.”

Elite Restaurant Group, based in Los Angeles, acquired Slater’s 50/50 in 2017 and consolidated the franchise program, increasing the number of units to 11 restaurants, including the last opening in June by franchisee Kaitlin Garcia in Riverside, in California. Slater retained a stake and now holds the title of “Bacon Baron,” working on menu innovation and marketing. (Elite Restaurant Group also owns Patxi’s Pizza, Gigi’s Cupcakes, Marie Callender’s, and Mimi’s Cafe.)

Founders who aim for the franchise must be prepared to relinquish some control, said Slater, which he was not prepared to do earlier in the development of his brand.

“In 2013 the brand was young, I was young and I didn’t trust anyone else in the brand,” Slater said when asked for an interview in which he said he would never franchise Slater’s 50/50. “The brand just wasn’t mature enough; I was not mature enough. I was 31 years old.

A few years later, however, Slater said he was ready to bring in other people who were excited about the concept. “I wouldn’t say that I lacked creativity, but it brought in people who were passionate about the brand. “

As Slater’s 50/50 embarked on expanding its franchise, its founder said he learned the importance of having confidence in his concept and brand. “Stick to your vision statement and values” is his advice to other founders, along with a careful selection of franchisees, people who are enthusiastic about the brand “and not just the P&L”. Oh, and fewer avocados.

“I just remember there were times when there were bickering that wasn’t necessary,” Slater recalled of negotiations with Elite Restaurant Group. “There were times I should have called Mike and we would find out.”

While Slater’s 50/50 closed a few units during the COVID-19 pandemic, Slater said that when California, where seven of its restaurants are located, lifted restaurant restrictions in June, it resulted in “the best month we have had in years. “(The company does not provide financial performance information in its franchise backgrounder.) It expects restaurant traffic to rebound and increase, but said while the company is engaged In its full service model, it is exploring other formats and perfecting online ordering and delivery over the past 15 months.

Slater’s 50 / 50’s Las Vegas restaurant was also recently featured on the Netflix show “Fresh, Fried & Crispy,” which featured on its Whale Burger, topped with fried lobster tail, wagyu beef and bacon sprinkled with gold.

Additional sites are under development in Covina and Del Amo-Torrance, California, as well as New Jersey. The cost of opening a single 50/50 Slater restaurant ranges from $ 685,000 to $ 2,067,000.

Slater’s story is part of a Franchise Times digital series this month featuring the successes of the founders.


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