Exterior of a Marie Callender's (now permanently closed and known as Meizhou Dongpo) in Irvine, California in 2013
Long Beach, California, U.S.
(Cal Warren, Don and Marie)
|Headquarters||Mission Viejo, California, U.S.|
Marie Callender's is a restaurant chain with 28 locations in the United States. Its headquarters are in the Marie Callender's Corporate Support Center in Mission Viejo, Orange County, California.
In the 1930s, Marie Callender and her husband Cal Warren Callender began selling pies in Orange County. In 1948, they sold their family car and used the money to set up a wholesale bakery with their son Don. The first official location was opened in 1964.
Eventually, Don opened a retail outlet in Orange, California, naming it after his mother, gradually adding other food. Within five years, it was expanded to 12 more locations and opened its first locations outside of California (Las Vegas and Houston) in 1969. It grew into 84 locations by the end of the 1970s.
In 1986, the restaurant chain was sold to Ramada Inn, then in 1990, to Wilshire Restaurant Group, Inc.. Marie Callender Pie Shops, Inc. was purchased from Saunders Karp & Megrue (SKM) in 1999 by an affiliate of Castle Harlan, a New York-based private equity firm.
In 2006, Castle Harlan merged Marie Callender's with another of its interests, Perkins Restaurant and Bakery. The combined chain, known as Perkins & Marie Callender's Inc. (PMCI), was headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee.
The business flourished until Don Callender died on January 7, 2009, due to complications resulting from head trauma sustained during a fall at home.
On June 13, 2011, a total of 58 units were closed, including 31 Marie Callender's and 27 Perkins Restaurant and Bakerys due to bankruptcy restructuring (Chapter 11). During bankruptcy, PCMI sold the Marie Callender's brand to ConAgra for US$57.5 million. Later that year, PMCI exited bankruptcy under the control of Wayzata Investment Partners.
On August 5, 2019, 29 stores were closed and the holding company for Perkins and Marie Callender's filed bankruptcy. The chains were later split apart, with Perkins being bought by Huddle House, while Marie Callender's was sold to a company known as Marie Callender's Inc. for US$1.75 million.
In later years, a typical restaurant would have a fully stocked bar, or saloon, serving alcoholic beverages. This is in contrast to family restaurants like Denny's or Village Inn, which generally do not serve alcoholic beverages. A salad bar is also a staple.
The type of cuisine served is mainly American, although many of the dishes are slanted towards styles of preparation that resemble Italian, Mexican, French, Cajun, or Chinese. Soups and sandwiches are available as meals or à la carte. Pies are signature items on the dessert menu: there are over 30 varieties available.
The interiors of the chain's earlier restaurants are decorated with antiques circa 1900, providing a theme that is reminiscent of Victorian England as well as early United States. Later restaurants reflect more modern tastes, with a clean interior and photos of food.
For years the chain has licensed its name for shelf-stable and frozen entrees and sides. Various product licenses were included in a sale to ConAgra Foods in 1994 for $140 million. The name Marie Callender's was retained for the food line following the division's sale. In 2010, its cheesy chicken & rice meal was pulled due to a salmonella outbreak.
- "About - Marie Callender's Restaurant & Bakery". Marie Callender's. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
- "Contact - Marie Callender's Restaurant & Bakery". Marie Callender's. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
- Shin, Tony (5 August 2019). "Marie Callender's Set to Close 19 Locations in Southern California". NBC Los Angeles. Retrieved 2 November 2019.
- "DON CALLENDER: 1927-2009". Chicago Tribune. 13 January 2009. Retrieved 2 November 2019.
- Elder, Laura Elizabeth (24 November 1996). "Marie Callender's chain returns for another piece of local pie". Houston Business Journal. Retrieved 2 November 2019.
- Hernandez, Greg (November 16, 1999). "Marie Callender's Sold for $150 Million". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 5, 2019.
- "Marie Callender's founder, Don Callender, dies". Archived from the original on 2012-07-08. Retrieved 2010-08-10.
- Luna, Nancy (June 13, 2011). "Marie Callender's closes 31 units amid bankruptcy". Orange County Register. Retrieved August 5, 2019.
- "ConAgra bought rights to Marie Callender's brand". Reuters. June 14, 2011. Retrieved January 27, 2020.
- Stych, Ed (December 2, 2011). "Perkins emerges from bankruptcy with Wayzata firm in control". Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal. Retrieved August 5, 2019.
- Stempel, Jonathan; Zieminski, Nick (August 5, 2019). "Perkins & Marie Callender's files for bankruptcy". Reuters. Retrieved August 5, 2019.
- Luna, Nancy (August 5, 2019). "Perkins & Marie Callender's close 29 restaurants amid bankruptcy filing". Nations Restaurant News. Retrieved August 5, 2019.
- Maze, Jonathan (September 13, 2019). "After 13 years and 2 bankruptcies, Perkins and Marie Callender's split up". Restaurant Business.
- Weise, Elizabeth (June 18, 2010). "ConAgra recalls Marie Callender's frozen chicken and rice meals". USA Today. Retrieved August 5, 2019.