How Nicholas Perkins acquired all 92 Fuddruckers restaurant franchises

BY Preta Peace Namasaba April 19, 2024 9:26 AM EDT
Nicholas Perkins. Photo credit: Nicholas Perkins

In a striking tale of vision and accomplishment, Nicholas Perkins acquired all 92 restaurants of the renowned burger chain Fuddruckers. He became the first African American with 100 percent ownership of a national hamburger franchise in the country following the $18.5 million deal. Perkins is now on a journey to establish Fuddruckers as a dominant player in the casual dining sector.

Born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Perkins was raised by a single mom and his maternal grandmother. He embraced values like a strong work ethic and a passion for food that the two women passed down to him. As a boy, Perkins was fascinated with the heroes of the Civil Rights Movement and sought to emulate them. He turned this interest into a lifelong quest for excellence to ensure that the sacrifices of his forebearers were not in vain.

“My grandmother was a phenomenal cook, she nurtured my passion for the kitchen, I knew that I loved to cook and had a passion for it but I also wanted to become an entrepreneur, so I merged the two and established Perkins Management Company,” Perkins explained the roots of his interest in the food business.

A double HBCU alum, Perkins wanted a bachelor’s in business administration from Fayetteville State University and an MBA from Howard University. He noticed the stark difference in how food services were being delivered at HBCUs versus non-HBCUs and decided to tap into the niche market. In 2005, Perkins founded the Perkins Management Company at only 24. The company which specializes in contract food service management has since grown into a multi-million-dollar enterprise with multiple business platforms serving a diverse portfolio of clients that include colleges and universities, hospitals, and the US Department of Defense.

Black Titan Franchise Systems LLC, an affiliate of Perkins Management Services, was created for the sole purpose of acquiring the Fuddruckers burger chain in 2022. Perkins went from being one of the company’s largest franchisees to owning all 92 of the company’s restaurants in the United States, Canada, Panama, and Mexico. The deal, closed at approximately $18.5 million made him the first African American with 100 percent ownership of a national hamburger franchise in the country.

Perkins was driven to purchase the franchise by a certain nostalgia. He remembers Fuddruckers as the go-to place for freshly baked buns, never-frozen beef, and pico de gallo, made in-house from his childhood. The brand, a dominant player in the casual dining sector during the 90s and early 2000s had over 500 locations and has experienced many challenges. Perkins is currently in the process of re-establishing Fuddruckers as home to the world’s greatest hamburger.

His approach is multifaceted. Perkins is leveraging his extensive business administration knowledge and hands-on experience in the food service industry to enhance operational efficiencies, improve customer experience, and innovate the menu while staying true to the brand’s roots. His leadership heralds a new era for Fuddruckers that aligns with contemporary food trends and evolving dining preferences.

“I feel very honored. I feel very blessed, excited about the future. I’ve got a lot of work to do but at the same time it’s going to be very very impactful to be a part of what I consider to be a reemergence of the worlds’ greatest hamburger,” Perkins said about the future of Fuddruckers.