|Founder||James Mola and Merton Anderson|
Number of locations
|Owner||American Blue Ribbon Holdings|
Village Inn is a casual dining restaurant chain in the United States. Its restaurants are known for their breakfast menu items, including buttermilk pancakes, skillets, crepes, omelettes, and eggs. In additional to their breakfast offerings, they also feature a variety of salads, sandwiches, burgers, melts and dinner items. Their pies have won numerous awards from the American Pie Council (APC).
Village Inn's parent company, American Blue Ribbon Holdings, is based in Nashville, Tennessee. Village Inn has about 206 locations according to their website (as of February 2014).
Village Inn was founded by James Mola and Merton Anderson, who opened the first Village Inn Pancake House in Denver in 1958. They incorporated as Village Inn Pancake House, Inc., in December 1959, and began franchising in 1961, with Dow Sherwood opening the first franchised locations in Tampa. In 1982, Village Inn became the publicly traded VICORP Restaurants, Inc. VICORP acquired the Poppin' Fresh Pies chain from Pillsbury in May 1983, renaming it Bakers Square.
In 1984, VICORP acquired 71 restaurants from Ralston Purina's Continental Restaurant Systems division and 175 former Sambo's restaurants in California, Florida, and Arizona. The California locations were converted to Bakers Square restaurants while the Florida and Arizona locations were converted to Village Inn, but the conversions led to a decline in profits for the company and 15 of the converted Florida locations would close by 1989.
By the end of the 1980s, "Pancake House" was dropped from the name of the chain as Village Inn began offering lunch and dinner menus in addition to breakfast. During the early 1990s, all Village Inn restaurants underwent a large-scale renovation that featured new green mansard roofs and neon signage. In May 2001, the investment firms of Goldner Hawn Johnson & Morrison, Inc., and BancBoston Capital acquired VICORP and the company has been privately held ever since.
In late 1993, Vicorp acquired the rights to a small Florida chain called Angel’s Diner. They acquired this from Eric A. Holm. Unfortunately, he had also sold the rights to Golden Corral and Vicorp was forced to pay Golden Corral $1 million to secure the exclusive rights. The intent was to convert underperforming Village Inn and Bakers Square units to this new concept. After building seven units, Vicorp realized that the concept was not economically viable and wrote off 11MM on the venture. During this time frame, Eric Holm filed for personal Bankruptcy.
On April 3, 2008, VICORP filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy code. VICORP closed 56 company-owned restaurants as a result of the move, leaving a total of 343 Village Inn and Bakers Square locations. Village Inn restaurants are found in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
In 2010 Village Inn locations started updating to the new corporate logo. As of 2011 many, if not all, locations now sport the new logo. The new one keeps the same shape, but the name "Village Inn" takes up less of it and is now rendered in a modified Neutraface Text Bold, with a yellow half-moon or Dinner Plate along the bottom with little dots running along its border with the letters "vi" in it.
- VICORP Restaurants. "Village Inn: History". Retrieved 2007-02-04.
- FundingUniverse.com. "VICORP Restaurants, Inc., Company History". Retrieved 2007-02-04.
- Milstead, David (2008-04-03). "Bankrupt Village Inn shutting down local restaurants". Rocky Mountain News.
- VICORP Restaurants. "Find a Village Inn Location". Retrieved 2008-04-03.
- Eric Holm (1995) "http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/1994-09-24/business/9409240010_1_angel-diner-holm-chapter-7-bankruptcy"