|Casual dining restaurant|
|Founded||October 25, 1969|
|Headquarters||Freeport, Maine, U.S.|
Ground Round Grill & Bar, an American casual dining restaurant, was founded in 1969 by Howard Johnson's. As of January 17, 2010 Ground Round is owned by Independent Owners Cooperative, LLC, a group of 30 franchisee owners based in Freeport, Maine. Currently, Ground Round has 30 locations in 13 states.
Ground Round was well known in the 1970s and 1980s for its children's parties, showing old time silent movies and cartoons on a big screen, a mascot named Bingo the Clown, and for passing out whole peanuts where diners were not discouraged from throwing the shells on the floor, which became one of The Ground Round's more endearing qualities that attracted families with small children; they also often gave diners popcorn with their dinner, rather than bread. The newest incarnation of Ground Round doesn't support such behavior and markets to the adult dining and cocktails crowd, although families are still welcome (a mascot called the Ground Round Hound, an anthropomorphic hound dog, appears on the kids' menu).
In February 2004 the franchisor for Ground Round filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy; in the process, all 59 corporate-owned restaurants (almost half of the Ground Rounds then open) abruptly closed their doors. A group of franchisees joined together in order to buy out the parent company, at the time Ground Round, Inc., and started the Ground Round Independent Owners Cooperative, LLC (GR IOC).