Fresno-founded restaurant chain bought out bankruptcy

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Tahoe Joe’s in Visalia can be seen in this Google Street View image

published on October 8, 2021 – 1:39 PM
Written by Edward Smith

The national restaurant brand behind Famous Dave’s BBQ restaurant has acquired the company behind Tahoe Joe’s Friday.

BBQ Holdings Inc. has closed the deal on the five remaining units of the steakhouse for $ 4.212 million. This also includes the intellectual property of HomeTown Buffet as well as other buffet brands under the umbrella of Fresh Acquisitions LLC. The original Tahoe Joe’s opened at Shaw and Marks avenues in Fresno in 1996 by restaurateur Dave Fansler.

Jeff Crivello, CEO of BBQ Holdings, Inc., said of the acquisition, “We are delighted to welcome Tahoe Joe’s to the BBQ Holdings family. This beloved brand will fit right into our portfolio, and we look forward to starting working with the amazing people who made Tahoe Joe’s what it is today, and putting the brand back on the path to success. growth.

The five Tahoe Joe’s stores will reopen for dinner after being closed for lunch so the company can walk employees in a general direction, said Al Hank, COO of BBQ Holdings.

“What we really liked about Tahoe Joe’s is the brand heritage and the community involvement,” said Hank.

The synergy between Tahoe Joe’s and Famous Dave’s was what management was interested in, Hank said. A concept in Colorado Springs sparked a strong consumer response when Famous Dave’s integrated its operations into local steakhouses. Many of the recipes between Tahoe Joe’s and Famous Dave’s were similar. And using brands familiar with steak has been an effective way to bring steak to the menu, Hank said.

What the company has also seen in Tahoe Joe’s is its successful take-out and restaurant function. Before the pandemic, customers didn’t normally associate steakhouses with take-out, but a shift in consumer behavior after door-to-door orders made off-premises selling all the more important.

Hank said that when they acquire brands their focus is expansion and growth and although they will spend the first quarters learning the ins and outs of operations, ultimately they want to grow the brand.

They will retain all 250 to 300 employees at the five sites.

Fresh Acquisitions LLC operated Tahoe Joe’s as well as HomeTown Buffet, Ryan’s, Old Country Buffet, Fire Mountain and Furr’s.

These restaurants all closed prior to the acquisition and Hank said they had no immediate goal of reopening these brands.

The pandemic has changed the way consumers think of buffets and there could be a change in model, Hank said. BBQ Holdings offers a Sunday lunch buffet in its Granite City Food & Brewery brand. In the aftermath of the pandemic, they’ve moved from a self-service model to one where employees serve food to customers. It has been proven to work, he said.

Fresh Acquisitions LLC filed for Chapter 11 file bankruptcy online in April.

At one point there were up to ten locations. It still has locations in Bakersfield, Visalia, Fresno, Vacaville and Roseville, according to its website.

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