|Founded||Clovis, New Mexico (1966)|
|Founder||Gabreil E. Parson and Jo Ann Parson Bowen|
|Headquarters||Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA|
Number of locations
Canon City, Colorado
|Products||Buffet (including steaks, chicken products, catfish, vegetables, salads, desserts|
|Owner||Edward Roy Tinsley III|
|Parent||Tinsley Hospitality Group|
|Slogan||"Serving the Food America Loves"|
K-Bob’s Steakhouse is a regional restaurant chain that operates in the cattle country of Texas and New Mexico. Founded in 1966 in Clovis, New Mexico, by Gabe E. Parson (born 1938), the company sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1989, and reopened in 1991 under the ownership and management of Edward Roy Tinsley III (born ca. 1952), who relocated company headquarters from Dallas to Albuquerque, and then Santa Fe.
Up from bankruptcy
In the late 1970s, an investor group purchased K-Bob’s. The new management team of Luther Lyle Walker and Robert E. Cotton, moved from the original focus of simple buffet-style, reasonably priced family foods to a more metropolitan fare. According to Vernon P. O’Rourke, then the vice-president of two K-Bob's in Texas, Walker and Cotton "went yuppyish is the way I describe it ... They took on almost every fad they possibly could."
At one point during the 1980s, there were nearly a hundred K-Bob's restaurants. There was a lack of cohesion among the franchisees, most of whom had never met one another or had the opportunity to exchange ideas. The company then "made decisions that appeared successful until economic times got tougher. They were working in the boom time, but when it ended, tough mistakes began to haunt them", said Tinsley in a 1992 interview with Robin Lee Allen of Nation’s Restaurant News.
According to the Dallas attorney Robert M. Nicoud, Jr., who represented K-Bob's, Inc., in bankruptcy court, the company "overexpanded and found itself in a position where it had to do whatever it could to keep cash coming in the door to keep operations going ... Eventually, they were carrying too heavy a debt load, and the general economy just turned around on them."
In October 1989, K-Bob's, Inc. filed for Chapter 11 from more than a hundred creditors. According to court papers, the company owed more than $38,000 to secured creditors, including the Internal Revenue Service, and $2.2 million to unsecured creditors, some of which were disputed. "I'm not sure the case would have gone anywhere if Tinsley had not come along", said Nicoud.
Tinsley grew up in Lamesa, Texas, south of Lubbock, and frequently ate at K-Bob's as a child. He remembered K-Bob's as an institution in smaller towns, where "It was the school, the church and K-Bob's." Before acquiring K-Bob’s, Tinsley had been since 1978 a territory franchisee for Schlotzsky's, an Austin-based sandwich and soup chain. He also owned a food-processing and distribution company known as Sun Country Honey. A graduate in accounting from The University of Texas at Austin and in law from Texas Tech University, Tinsley, an attorney, has ranching, petroleum and natural gas interests in Lincoln County, New Mexico.
In April 1991, after a year of negotiations, the bankruptcy court transferred the assets of K-Bob's, Inc., to K-Bob's USA, Inc. The latter was required to pay debts to the former over a 10-year period. Since the purchase, Tinsley has concentrated on the roots of his company: He personally met his franchisees and launched a monthly corporate newsletter called The T-Bone Tribune.
When the federal minimum wage increased in 1997 from $4.75 to $5.15 per hour, The Wall Street Journal reported that Tinsley had prepared for the additional expense by selectively raising menu prices.
The K-Bob’s menu features steaks, chicken, chicken-fried steak, catfish, vegetables, and salads. At one point, the company owned only one franchise, the since closed outlet in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, which was used to test promotions and new marketing ideas before they were passed to the franchisees. The outlet in Socorro has launched an innovation, the "BBT Hideway" bar, named for Tinsley’s Hollywood friend Billy Bob Thornton.
Tinsley is the owner of Tinsley Hospitality Group, the master franchisor of K-Bob’s. The chief operating officer, Michael W. Myers, is a former president of the Back Yard Burgers, Inc., chain. Myers has also been associated with the MCap Restaurant Group and Whataburger, Inc. From 1999-2006, he was president and chief operating officer of Backyard Burgers.
K-Bob’s locations include Brenham, Childress, Corpus Christi, Dimmitt, Dumas, Fort Stockton, Hereford, Rockport, Portland, Calallen and Lamesa. A former location in Amarillo is now closed. The New Mexico locations are Clovis, Las Vegas, Raton, Ruidoso, Socorro, and Tucumcari. The Oklahoma location is in Woodward, and the only Colorado site is Cañon City.
From 2006 to 2007, Tinsley served as president of the National Restaurant Association. A Republican, he ran unsuccessfully in 2002 and 2008 for the United States House of Representatives from the 2nd congressional district of New Mexico. After the latter campaign, Tinsley indicated that he would seek to expand K-Bob's franchises during 2009. The company grew during 2008 by 5 percent.
- K-Bob's Company Structure
- "K-Bob's Company Information". kbobsusa.com. Retrieved 21 December 2010.
- "Robin Lee Allen, "K-Bob’s rises up out of Chapter 11 ashes"". Nation’s Restaurant News, February 10, 1992. 1992. Retrieved July 8, 2009.
- Mexico, New (March 10, 2009). "K-Bob’s sales increase, expansion sought". Albuquerque Business Journal. Retrieved July 8, 2009.
- Christina Duff, "New Minimum Wage Makes Few Waves", The Wall Street Journal, November 20, 1996.
- "Evelyn Cronce, El Defensor Chieftain of Socorro County, New Mexico, "A first for K-Bob’s Restaurant"". dchieftain.com. Retrieved July 8, 2009.
- "K-Bob’s hires Back-Yard vet Myers as new CEO". Nation’s Restaurant News, September 10, 2007. 2007. Retrieved July 8, 2009.