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Fatburger: Nothing to write home about

Having heard many comments about Fatburger I had been looking to try one and finally did get the chance yesterday. I was underwhelmed.

The location was in Atlanta, Buckhead specifically, which is a long way from its California roots so that may have something to do with it. But still......

The staff seemed uninterested to say the least. Place was only moderately clean, and several service items, such as the soft drink dispensers, clearly were not being attended to--the syrup had run out of at least two items, and nothing was done even after we called it to their attention.

The burger was at best OK. It was big enough, but not very juicy. I had it with cheese and the famous fried egg. The egg was fried hard, which is strange since the whole point of adding fried egg to things is to have the runny yolk coat everything and add goodness; if you didn't know the egg was there you would have missed it. There wasn't much cheese either. But the worst thing was the pickles, which were bread and butter (ie sweet), not the dills that are needed to balance the fattiness of the burger itself. Bizarre.

Fries appeared to be standard frozen fries. They were served unsalted, and the salt on the table was too coarse to stick, so pretty blah.

All and all, I won't be going back anytime soon.

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  1. It used to be great...in 1995. Then they implemented an aggressive expansion plan and quality fell through the floor. In-n-Out and Five Guys, as well and endless non-chains, do a much better job.

    1. wow i keep begging my dad to pick me up a fatburger after all the hype i hear about it. he goes to atlantic city all the time and i know the borgota has one although it is like 2 hours from my house and the borgotas out of his way. i think ill pass now./

      i think you should forget fatburger and go to fuddruckers. i have yet to find a better burger chain than fuddruckers./

      1. I've been to three Fats. Two were well established and long standing. One was in a brand new complex.

        The established fats did their job properly. The burgers were cooked thoroughly and you could never complain about the burger being too small. The fries were cut thick and I thought they were terrific slathered with ketchup. Yes, the burgers do tend to run a bit dry, but in contrast with the wetness of the vegetables, I enjoyed the contrast.

        The new fat just didn't know what they were doing. The burgers were consistently undercooked, and I was forced to stop going, even though it was very close to where I lived.

        I don't live anywhere near a fats now, and I'm not generally inclined to eat burgers these days, even on a rare basis, no pun intended, but if you enjoy fast food burgers, feel free to check out a long established franchisee and they'll probably steer you right.

        1. Went to one in Clearwater. Thought it was just okay. Then I went to a Red Robin and though, "This is the same meh burger I had at Fatburger, only louder and more irritating."

          1. The basic Fatburger is ok but when you start adding cheese, chili, etc. it becomes grossly overpriced.

            1 Reply
            1. re: malibumike

              Price was neither here nor there for me in this case--I just wanted to try one, especially with the fried egg that seems to be nearly a signature thing for them. While several aspects were not up to par, more than any other one factor it was the sweet pickles that turned me off. No such thing should ever be found on a serious burger, IMO.

            2. As ejs1492 noted, I guess this is what happens with rapid expansion. In-n-Out, for example, is still family owned and has grown VERY slowly (to the appearant chagrin of much of the country) and has maintained quality. Here in SoCal the FB I go to (I wouldn't say frequent) is top notch for its ilk, they'll cook burgers rare and medium-rare, the eggs are runny, the space is very clean and well-stocked and the pickles are dill. Perhaps the bread and butter pickles are a concession to the South?

              5 Replies
              1. re: TomSwift

                Definitely. Fat is hit and miss. 2/3 of the time, I got a good burger. I was a repeat customer at both places. And both of the 'good' locations were quite busy. The third, the upstart, looked like a ghost town inside: no customers. Word travels fast.

                I'm sure yelp can help you out if there are multiple fats in you area. Just avoid the dud location in the future.

                1. re: NewDude

                  Definitely depends upon the specific outlet, and their management and personnel. We always order our Fats "on the char", i.e. cooked on a charbroiler rather than the flattop -- they're much better that way. Of our two nearest locations (n/w Las Vegas), one can't be bothered to even _use_ their charbroiler -- they just store stuff on it.

                  The other location used to make great burgers, but we don't go any more since their now-regular cook insists upon repeatedly mashing the burgers onto the grill with his spatula, thus squeezing out all the juices and removing any hope of a juicy burger. I've tried to ask him nicely not to do that, but he ignores me. I won't pay their prices for dry pucks!

                  1. re: Steve Green

                    From what I've seen with my own eyes and heard in this thread, Fatburger is a company with major corporate-level management, training, and quality control issues.

                    Not much point in being a chain, or patronizing the outposts of one, if there is no consistency.

                    1. re: johnb

                      What the corporate goal is never translates across the board to each location. Fatburger may strive to have consistency across the board but it will never happen. I'm sure they don't pay the managers enough so they could care less after a while to do things the corporate way. The really good managers move up to regional etc and hopefully can groom the managers below them. I would imagine in a food chain environment getting really good people is really hard and hanging onto them even harder so you get middle of the road people for the most part.

                      1. re: roro1831

                        Yes except that many other franchise chains do it successfully, or at least with degrees of success. Culvers is an example. That said, you're right, it's hard and that does help explain why non-franchise chains such as In-N-Out do not only a better job but a more consistent job.