|Type||Subsidiary of TruFoods Systems, Inc|
|Founded||1969 in Columbus, Ohio, U.S.|
|Headquarters||Jacksonville, Florida, U.S.|
Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips is a fast food seafood restaurant chain. As of 2008[update], there were 45 stores in 8 northern states of the United States which serve fish and chips. Its main competitors are Long John Silver's and Captain D's. Today many locations have been cobranded with Nathan's Famous.
The chain was named after Arthur Treacher (1894–1975), an English character actor who was known as "the perfect butler" for his performances as Jeeves, as a butler in several Shirley Temple films, and the role of Constable Jones in Disney's Mary Poppins. He was perhaps best known as Merv Griffin's TV talk show announcer/sidekick in the mid-1960s. "He (Treacher) served as a spokesman for the restaurant chain in its early years, underscoring the British character of its food."
The franchise company was started in 1969 as National Fast Food Corp. National Fast Food's principals at the time included S. Robert Davis, a real estate developer who built and leased several Colonel Sanders Kentucky Fried Chicken properties, his friend Dave Thomas, who sold his Colonel Sanders franchises back to that company for $3,000,000 and went on to found Wendy's, and L. S. Hartzog, who at the time ran a chain of bakeries selling biscuits to Colonel Sanders franchisees nationally.
Fisher Foods involvement
In 1970, Fisher Foods swapped capital with and licensed franchises from National, with a total of 550 franchises sold (106 to Fisher alone), but only 99 stores were actually in operation. Apparently the time was ripe for the fish franchise concept: Long John Silver's, Captain D's, Skipper's and Alfie's Fish & Chips all started about the same time. Aided by Arthur Treacher's advertisements, these companies introduced British fish and chips to northeastern America, albeit four years after Salt's Fish & Chips (later renamed H. Salt, Esq. Authentic English Fish and Chips) introduced British fish and chips to America in California.
Arthur Treacher's and Long John Silver's expanded to become the largest purveyors of fish and chips in the late 1970s.
Effect of the 'cod wars'
In the early 1970s, Britain and Iceland almost got into a war over fishing rights after Iceland unilaterally implemented the 200-mile (370 km) fishing limit. These events were called the "cod wars". Cod prices went from the low $2 range to the mid-$3 range, which sent the low-priced fish restaurants into a tailspin, and all the companies retrenched.
Mrs. Paul's Seafood
Since the 1970s, Treacher's had been owned by Orange Co., a public company that was primarily in the orange futures trading business.
Until 1979, Coldwater Seafood Corporation, owners of the Icelandic brand, processed for Treacher's at their Cambridge, Maryland, facility. Coldwater was a U.S. subsidiary of the Icelandic Freezing Plants Corporation. Coldwater processed nearly all of the cod fish portions used by Arthur Treacher's Restaurants, who used Icelandic cod portions exclusively. At the time they processed approximately 68 million pounds of seafood products annually, and most of it from north Atlantic fish species. Approximately one million pounds of cod fish were processed annually for Arthur Treacher's Seafood Restaurants.
The company was subsequently bought by a group of investors and the corporate offices were relocated to Youngstown, Ohio. The company went into bankruptcy in 1983, and emerged again in 1985. It was merged into a shell company by Jim Cataland.
From 1985 to 1993, Cataland started to expand the company again, albeit very slowly, followed in 1993 by an investment in the company by a group of investors. The investment was used to bring out a new, more modern, and updated seafood concept; to buy a large number of stores; and to move the company from its base operations in Youngstown, Ohio, to Jacksonville, Florida. The company retains a sizable presence in the Youngstown area today.
In the mid-1980s, franchises in Detroit, Michigan were converted by their owner to a new chain called Seafood Bay. Arthur Treacher's purchased six Seafood Bay locations back in 1997, but was unsuccessful in reverting them.
The company experimented with cobranding, forming an alliance with Arby's (which got its start in the Youngstown suburb of Boardman) for cobranded locations. One such location existed in Breezewood, Pennsylvania. However, by the late 1990s, Arby's parent Triarc removed the Arthur Treacher's portions of its cobranded Arby's. Today, Arthur Treacher's primary cobranding partner is with parent company Nathan's Famous.
The company holding the Arthur Treacher's trademark was acquired by PAT Franchise Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of TruFoods Systems, Inc., in 2002. Nathan's Famous bought the exclusive rights to market the Arthur Treacher's trademark and sell their products co-branded with Nathan's own concepts Kenny Rogers Roasters and Miami Subs in 2006; however, PAT Franchise Systems has a license agreement with NF Treachers to sell Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips franchises in eight states.
- Wall St. Deli
- Ritter's Frozen Custard
- Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips
- Pudgie's Famous Chicken
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (January 2007)|
- Arthur Treacher's Restaurant Chain Food Chips Fish Butler
- "Arthur Treacher's buys six shuttered Seafood Bay units.(Brief Article)". Nation's Restaurant News. 17 February 1997. Retrieved 2 September 2014.
- "TRUFOODS, LLC". 2008. Retrieved 2011-05-07.