Master Your Finances Kurt Baker with Kevin J. Gabauer

Written by on December 12, 2020

Our host Kurtis Baker, is joined by Kevin J. Gabauer co-founder of Fat Shack ( ), a quick-service restaurant franchise concept specializing in Late Night Food and offering dine-in, take-out and delivery as late as 4AM.

Check out this episode!

Transcript :

0:00:35.7 Kurt Baker: Morning and welcome back to another addition of Master Your Finances, presented by Certified Wealth Management and Investment. I’m Kurt Baker, a certified financial planner professional, located in Princeton, New Jersey. I can be reached through our website, which is, or you can call me directly at 609-716-4700. This week, very pleased to have with us Kevin Gabauer from Bordentown, New Jersey, who holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from the College of New Jersey. After graduating from TCNJ in 2009, Kevin began his career as a commercial insurance broker and was named Sales Agent of the Year in 2011 for new revenue generation. In pursuit of a new challenge, Kevin left his comfortable salary, benefits behind in 2013 and formed a new venture with close college friend, Tom Armenti.
0:01:34.6 Kurt Baker: Tom had created a late-night quick service restaurant concept called The Fat Shack, and recently moved the business to Fort Collins, Colorado, home of Colorado State University. In February 2013, Kevin packed his car, drove across the country and got to work. Kevin and Tom opened a second Fat Shack located in Boulder, Colorado. Later that year, began setting their sights on franchise growth. By 2015, Fat Shack was licensed to franchise, the duo quickly opened three new locations over the next six months. Equipped with proof of concept, Kevin and Tom expanded the brand to 11 locations across Colorado, Texas, and beyond, before landing on season 10 finale of ABC’s Shark Tank. With offers from four of the five Sharks, Kevin and Tom locked in a six-figure deal with billionaire Mark Cuban. Fat Shack currently has 22 operating locations across eight states with five additional locations under development.
0:02:36.2 Kurt Baker: As a young entrepreneur who took a leap of faith, Kevin is passionate about mentoring those who dream of becoming their own boss and are ready to pour everything they’ve got into making that dream a reality. Kevin, I really appreciate you coming back on. I know I first met you, quote unquote, at a chamber event and we’re all about promoting business. And as an advisor, I’m all about, you gotta promote the wealth and do it in a way you love, and that managing it is the secondary part, the first part is you’ve gotta love what you’re doing and do well at it. And I think you’re kind of the epitome of entrepreneurship, where you kinda learned this early on, a lot of people don’t learn it until a little bit later on, so I think that’s pretty cool. So, you wanna take us through some of those steps? You’re just hanging out in your college dorm one day saying, “Hey, I’m gonna be an entrepreneur and just take on the country on and hang out with Mark Cuban one day”, right?
0:03:27.8 Kevin Gabauer: Yeah, no, it’s funny. First of all, thanks for having me on. Obviously, I really appreciate the invite and… Yeah, interesting story. I think I had heard everything that everybody else my age at the time had heard. You go to college, you get an internship, you go out into the career world and get yourself a nice salary with benefits package and live a comfortable life and that was kind of my plan. That’s what I did right after school, like you said, I went to the College of New Jersey right over in Ewing, and graduated in 2009, and went right into commercial insurance sales. I liked it. I think mostly I liked the challenge because selling insurance is just… It’s something nobody really likes to talk about all the time, and it’s just a challenging sale for the most part, and so… I did sort of like that.
0:04:20.4 Kevin Gabauer: But I had a buddy who I went to the College of New Jersey with, him and I had pledged a fraternity together, best friends throughout going to school there, and he was just the complete opposite that I was. He was the guy that would show up to class a little late, wait till to the last day to do the projects, and he actually never had an internship, he kinda just played online poker, made some money that way, and got through school. But, just a risk taker, so him and I are very different in that sense. But he had this idea, ’cause we would go out and we’d party on the weekends, and sometimes the weekdays, and in the middle of the night, there was nowhere to go. I mean there was no… None of us could drive, and so we were relying on getting delivery food and, sure, there was a couple of pizza places, a couple of places that had wings and stuff like that. But half the time you’d order and then they either wouldn’t show up, or when they do show up it was just kinda cold and disgusting and so I think Tom knew in his mind like, “Wow, we just… There’s just gotta be a restaurant that cares in the middle of the night, servicing customers and providing great quality food”, and so, we just didn’t have that.

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