by Carlos Frías | Miami Herald
Fuddruckers, the chain of monster burgers you build yourself, is going out of business — but not in South Florida.
The board of directors for Fuddruckers’ Houston-based parent company voted Sept. 8 to dissolve the chain and pay out its stockholders, the company wrote in a statement. Only the shareholders for Luby’s Inc. need to approve the deal.
But that move won’t affect restaurants owned by franchisees, including one family that owns the five South Florida locations from Pembroke Pines to Palmetto Bay.
“This doesn’t affect us in any way,” said owner Marcelo Andres Montalvan, who owns the five franchises with his parents. “Our five locations will continue operating as normal.”
Not only will the five stores continue unhindered, Montalvan said the family will open a sixth store by the end of the year near Sawgrass Mills Mall. All the stores have reopened with at least 50 percent capacity inside to stem the spread of the coronavirus, and several locations have outside seating.
The one major pivot the restaurants have all made is individually packaging the buffet of toppings diners use to customize their burgers, from pico de gallo and jalapeños to warm cheese sauce.
“Our sales have been doing great even after the pandemic, and we’re hopeful for the future,” Montalvan said.
The Montalvans, who moved to South Florida from Nicaragua 37 years ago, started with GNC vitamin stores before selling them and buying into the Fuddruckers company in 2004, starting with one location in Doral. That spot has consistently been the No. 1 or No. 2 selling store in the country, Montalvan said.
Franchisees like the Montalvans resuscitated the company, which was founded in Texas in 1979 by the Romano’s Macaroni Grill owner before it was sold, went into bankruptcy and later was acquired by Luby’s Inc., a publicly traded company that operates 21 Fuddruckers stores nationally.