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December 4, 2018

Popular Brunswick drive-in burger joint hits the market

Courtesy / Fat Boy Facebook page
Courtesy / Fat Boy Facebook page
Fat Boy Drive-in restaurant, which was established in 1955 across from the former Brunswick Naval Air Station, has been listed with an asking price of $1.15 million.

Fat Boy Drive-in restaurant, which was established in 1955 across from the former Brunswick Naval Air Station, has been listed for sale by Magnusson Balfour Commercial & Business Brokers.

The listing describes the operation, at 111 Bath Road, as a "popular turn-key restaurant" with an asking price of $1.15 million.

Ken and Jeanne Burton purchased the restaurant in 1984 from Ken's father, who came in as a partner in 1957, according to the Fat Boy website.

The listing says the seasonal, fast-food business is "unique in the industry. Known to thousands around the world for its nostalgic business flavor."

The property includes real estate "with ample off-street parking, strong traffic count and great signage. Owners are ready to retire and will assist in business transition. Great potential for growth with strong customer demand."

The restaurant space has seating for 20 inside and up to 200 outside under the canopy that protects patrons' cars. Gross revenue is listed at $907,637 and cash flow at $155,117. The business has 29 employees.

Magnusson Balfour's listing states that the restaurant offers potential for growth and expansion, including being expanded from its present March-to-November season to year-round, increasing its hours and staying open on Wednesdays.

"[It has a] unique business concept with strong appeal to many, including decades of military personnel and families," Magnusson Balfour stated. "Car hop service is new to many and intriguing. Staff is a challenge in today's employment market."

From the heyday of drive-in diners

The drive-in opened July 29, 1955, "during the rise of the automobile, drive-in movies and diners like ours," the restaurant's website says.

In the 1980s, Fat Boy Drive-in found it had a stiff competitor when McDonalds came to town. Business slowed at first, but, its co-owners state on the website, "We found that by returning to our roots and offering good food, cooked to order with fresh ingredients, we were able to show those out-of-staters a thing or two about being in business with the big boys."

The business has held a charity sock-hop event for 33 years, in the parking lot, with music, dancing and classic cars on display.

Traveler reviews posted on the website this year cite the eatery's nostalgic atmosphere and "delicious fried clams."

According to the eatery's Facebook page, "We'll come out to your car to serve you w/ delicious burgers, fried seafood, Maine lobster rolls and much (much) more."

The Times Record reported that co-owner Ken Burton said he and his wife decided that after 30 years of working "24 hours a day" it was time to move on.

"I hope somebody will keep it the same," he told the Brunswick newspaper. "I'd love to be a customer there some day. I'm 72, almost 73. I want to relax and enjoy my age before something happens to me and that's just part of life."

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