The Habit Burger Grill

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The Habit Burger Grill
IndustryFast casual restaurant
FoundedNovember 15, 1969; 53 years ago (1969-11-15)
Santa Barbara, California, U.S.
Number of locations
Area served
United States, Cambodia, China, United Arab Emirates
Key people
Russell W. Bendel, CEO
Ira Fils, CFO
  • Chargrilled Burgers
  • sandwiches
  • salads
  • kids meals
  • frozen desserts
  • beverages
RevenueIncrease US$402 million (2021)
Number of employees
6,093 (2021)
ParentYum! Brands
Original location of the first Habit Burger Grill restaurant in Goleta, which opened in 1969
Habit Burger Grill Charburger with Cheese

The Habit Burger Grill is an American fast casual restaurant chain that specializes in charbroiled hamburgers. The company also sells other typical fast-casual fare.[3] Its headquarters are in Irvine, California.[2]

In March 2020, Yum! Brands, the parent company of KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and Wingstreet, acquired The Habit Burger Grill.


The Habit Burger Grill was founded on November 15, 1969, in Santa Barbara County, California as a family-owned business.[3][4]

In 1980, Brent and Bruce Reichard purchased the original location in Goleta. A second location opened in Ventura in 1996 and they gradually grew the chain to twenty-four units in Southern California.[5]

In 2007, KarpReilly, a private equity firm, acquired a majority ownership in the company and began to rapidly expand the chain, including franchising.[6] Not included in the sale were the eight locations in Santa Barbara County, California, which remained under the ownership of the Reichard brothers.[5]

In 2014, Habit had 109 locations either open for business or under construction, including an expansion into Seattle.[7] At that time, the company was one of the fastest-growing fast food chains in the United States, with a 40% sales increase from 2012 to 2013.[8] In November 2014, the company raised $83.7 million in an initial public offering.[9][10][11] The share price immediately doubled.[12] By 2016, growth had slowed significantly, in line with the burger business.[13]

In 2017, the company announced plans to expand into the United Kingdom with 30 restaurants.[14]

In March 2020, Yum! Brands, the parent company of Taco Bell and KFC, acquired Habit.[15] The brothers decided to retire and sell their remaining restaurants to Yum! Brands in 2020.[16] The operations shifted in March 2022.[17]


As of September 2021, Habit Burger Grill currently has over 300 locations,[1] mostly in California, as follows:[1]

Location # of locations
Arizona 21
California 223
Florida 15
Idaho 5
Maryland 5
Massachusetts 1[18]
Nevada 15
New Jersey 12
North Carolina 2
Pennsylvania 1
South Carolina 1
Utah 18
Virginia 3
Washington State 10
Cambodia 3[19]
China 8

The company also has a fleet of nine food trucks.[20]


In mid-2014, The Habit's "Charburger" was named the best burger in America by Consumer Reports, a nonprofit organization dedicated to unbiased product testing, scoring an 8.1 out of 10 among 53,745 participants.[21][22][23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Locations". Habit Burger Grill.
  2. ^ a b "Contact us". Habit Burger & Grill.
  3. ^ a b Hile, K. (2016). The Handy California Answer Book. The Everest Files. Visible Ink Press. p. 335. ISBN 978-1-57859-623-2.
  4. ^ "About us". The Habit Burger Grill.
  5. ^ a b Kettmann, Matt; Yamamura, Jean (January 7, 2020). "Habit Burger Deal Doesn't Include Santa Barbara County". Santa Barbara Independent. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
  6. ^ "The Habit Hires Bendel as CEO". KarpReilly (Press release). June 3, 2008.
  7. ^ Ho, Vanessa (July 11, 2014). "America's 'best burger' coming to Seattle". Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
  8. ^ Hughes, Paul (August 12, 2014). "Irvine Burger Chain Reportedly Mulls IPO". American City Business Journals.
  9. ^ "SEC Form 424B4, 333-199394 IPO Prospectus". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. November 19, 2014.
  10. ^ Gayathri, Amrutha; Sachin, Sai (November 19, 2014). "Burger chain Habit Restaurants prices IPO at $18 a share". Reuters.
  11. ^ Huddleston, Tom Jr. (November 20, 2014). "Burger chain Habit's IPO sizzles in debut". Fortune.
  12. ^ Dimri, Neha; Ramakrishnan, Sruthi (November 20, 2014). "As diners line up, another fast casual chain sizzles on debut". Reuters.
  13. ^ Taylor, Kate (July 14, 2016). "Shares of the restaurant chain that serves the best burger in America are in a tailspin". Business Insider.
  14. ^ Scott, Ellen (November 9, 2017). "Habit burgers are coming to London". Metro.
  15. ^ "Yum! Brands Completes Acquisition of The Habit Restaurants, Inc" (Press release). PR Newswire. March 18, 2020.
  16. ^ "Original Habit Grill Founder Sells Remaining Local Restaurants". Edhat. 2021-12-14. Retrieved 2021-12-15.
  17. ^ Kettmann, Matt (2021-12-14). "Habit Burger Founders Sell Santa Barbara Restaurants". The Santa Barbara Independent. Retrieved 2021-12-15.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  18. ^ "This popular California-based burger chain is coming to Massachusetts in 2020". masslive. 2019-08-05. Retrieved 2020-09-12.
  19. ^ "The Habit Burger Grill to Open First Store in Cambodia". QSR magazine. Retrieved 2021-03-21.
  20. ^ "Habit Burger looks to value offerings as 3Q same-store sales falter". Nation's Restaurant News. November 2, 2017.
  21. ^ Spiegel, Alison (July 24, 2014). "The Country's Best Burger Comes From A Chain You've Probably Never Heard Of". HuffPost.
  22. ^ Comoletti, Jill (July 10, 2014). "A Burger Chain You've Probably Never Heard Of Was Just Named Best In America". Business Insider.
  23. ^ "Best and worst fast-food restaurants in America". Consumer Reports. July 2014.

External links[edit]