The nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities play a major role in producing some of the most influential graduates in America. One of the latest, Howard University alumni Nicolas Perkins, is set to make a mark in the food industry as the new owner of the Fuddruckers burger franchise. The Houston-based businessman acquired the popular burger food chain for an estimated $18.5 million through his company, Black Titan Franchise Systems.
Perkins initially purchased 13 locations, but now he owns 92 across the United States, Panama and Mexico, based on an agreement with the former owners Luby’s.
“We’re excited to be purchasing Fuddruckers and look forward to working with Fuddruckers’ many dedicated, highly capable franchisees to further build this brand,” he wrote in a statement.
Perkins continued, “As a Fuddruckers franchisee, I have a vested interest in ensuring that all Fuddruckers franchisees have the resources, infrastructure, and operational and marketing support they need to maximize their return on investment.”
He has big plans in the future to push Fuddruckers toward “long-term” success and other opportunities for expansion. “This strategic alignment, when combined with the fact that we sell the ‘World’s Greatest Hamburgers’, will ensure the long-term success of the brand and our franchisees,” he said.
Perkins bought Fuddruckers in June 2021 — making him the first African-American with 100 percent ownership of the national burger franchise. Becoming owner was a personal goal for the serial entrepreneur, who hopes to reinstate 500 locations.
“I look very much forward to be able to empower others to be entrepreneurs,” he told Houston outlet KPRC 2. “If me being the first African American in this position means that I can leverage the asset that I have to be able to improve the lives of other people, it’s one of the most rewarding things that you can do, to help lift others up.”
His “three-phase” plan to reestablish Fuddruckers includes increased marketing, building a better supply chain and creating a mobile app. It also involves a customer loyalty program.
“It’s really nostalgic for me,” he added. “Like many people, I grew up eating Fuddruckers. It’s been my favorite hamburger that you could never buy.”
Perkins developed his business savvy passion for cooking while growing up with his single mother and maternal grandmother. The double HBCU grad received his Bachelor of Science degree at Fayetteville State University in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and his Master of Business Administration degree from Howard University in Washington, D.C. He also owns the multi-million dollar Perkins Management Company he founded at the age of 24 years old, according to the company’s website.
Through the company, the 41-year-old created the Perkins Entrepreneurship Training and Leadership Institute. It provides internships to business students and offers firsthand knowledge about entrepreneurship, starting and managing small businesses and more.
Perkins has other endeavors in education, social activism and philanthropy. He was also named one of Houston’s 34 most fascinating and controversial celebs of 2021. In May of this year, he returned to his alma mater, Fayetteville State, to give the commencement speech.