Famous Dave’s of America Inc. said it will sell its remaining company-owned restaurants to franchisees over the next two years.
With the move, announced Tuesday, the Minnetonka-based barbecue chain will join other prominent restaurant companies, such as Dairy Queen and Burger King, in turning all of its corporate-owned units over to franchisees.
Famous Dave’s has been moving to rely more heavily on franchisees for several years. Last year, for instance, it sold all its company-owned stores in the Chicago market to a franchisee.
The company currently owns 33 locations while franchisees own another 135.
Converting restaurant ownership and operations fully to franchisees “will enable our team to focus our efforts on food and beverage innovation, marketing, franchise operations, training, and development,” Mike Lister, chief executive of Famous Dave’s, said in a statement.
Chuck Mooty, the company’s chairman, said creating a “singular perspective” within Famous Dave’s management should deliver sustainable returns for shareholders. “We view refranchising as a critical initiative to create value for Famous Dave’s shareholders,” he said.
Executives of many chain restaurants view franchising as a way to concentrate their capital and time on the development of products and services rather than on real estate, personnel management and other operational issues.
Famous Dave’s has undergone a significant upheaval in executive leadership and strategy over the last three years. The company will release its latest financial results later this month.