Original Habit Grill Founder Sells Remaining Local Restaurants

Source: The Habit Restaurants, Inc.

After over 45 years, the Founder of The Habit Burger Grill, Brent Reichard, and his brother, Bruce, are hanging up the spatula and retiring from the burger business. On March 1, 2022 Yum! Brands will take over operations of the remaining eight restaurants operated by the Reichard Family including the Original Habit and the other seven Santa Barbara County restaurants. The Reichard brothers’ vision and hard work have made The Habit a Santa Barbara destination for both locals and visitors alike. The new operators will be proud to carry on with that legacy. 

Brent got his first job at the age of 16 at the original Habit Burger Grill location in Downtown Goleta, then called The Hamburger Habit, in 1976. Four years later, Brent and his brother Bruce bought the burger stand. In 1996, Brent opened the 2nd Habit location in Ventura. Over the next ten years, Brent as CEO and Dave Nordahl as President grew the chain in California to 24 units. In 2007 they sold a majority interest to private equity group Karp Reilly. This transaction did not include the Santa Barbara territory and the Reichard Family continued to own and operate the Santa Barbara County locations.

Brent and Dave remained in their roles with the larger Habit Restaurants until 2009 and both remained on the Board of Directors until 2014 when the Habit Restaurants launched their IPO, remaining a publicly traded company until Yum! Brands acquired the Company in early 2020. 

“I will miss working with all of our incredible team members and am so proud of all their hard work and commitment to take care of our customers every day. I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with many great people and really value what a great journey this has been,” says Brent Reichard. Making the decision was very tough and emotional but Brent says it was never an option for either his or Bruce’s children to take over the business. “My retirement signals the end of an amazing era. This was a family decision and we know this is what is best for the business,” says Brent. He is confident the core values that they have run the business with for almost five decades will continue and can’t help but close this chapter with an enormous amount of pride.

Guideboat Advisors served as exclusive financial and RIMÔN PC served as legal adviser to the sellers.

About The Habit Restaurants, Inc. 

The Habit Burger Grill is a burger-centric, fast-casual restaurant concept that specializes in preparing fresh, cooked-to-order chargrilled burgers and handcrafted sandwiches featuring grilled tenderloin steak, grilled chicken and sushi-grade Ahi tuna cooked over an open flame. In addition, it features fresh hand-crafted salads and an appealing selection of sides and shakes. The Habit Burger Grill was named the “best tasting burger in America” in July 2014 in a comprehensive survey conducted by one of America’s leading consumer magazines. The first Habit Burger Grill opened in Santa Barbara, California in 1969 and was recently named in Thrillist’s list of “Underrated Burger Chains that Need to be in Every State!” The Habit Burger Grill has since grown to over 300 restaurants in 14 states throughout Arizona, California, Florida, Idaho, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia and Washington as well as 11 international locations, seven in China and four in Cambodia. More information is available at www.habitburger.com


Written by Anonymous

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  1. Great entrepreneurial story – start low, but with risk and endurance move up to the very top. Hope they write a book about their success story. 42 years in daily food service is a huge demand – time to hang it up and enjoy the next stage of life. Burgers, really good burgers, are a credible American gift to the global culinary world. Nothing says the taste of the good old USA more than really good burger, fries and a coke. Bravi, gentlemen.

  2. why not? think about it. in a country where most people live in quite frugal means, it doesn’t even make sense to put one in cambodia and you asking why not and wanting someone to explain this to you makes me wonder how you even get out of bed by yourself each day.

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