2014

The Habit's Franchise Program off to a Robust Start Irvine-based better-burger brand inks multi-unit deals in Las Vegas & Seattle markets

First company location on East Coast to open in summer

IRVINE, Calif., May 7, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Habit Restaurants, LLC, the Irvine-based parent company of The Habit Burger Grill, with 94 locations throughout California, Arizona and Utah, has signed its first two franchise agreements for multi-unit expansion in the Las Vegas and Seattle markets.  The bullish kick-off for franchising will complement The Habit's company growth of 26 new restaurants for 2014, which includes their first East coast location in Fair Lawn, NJ, scheduled to open this summer. Company officials indicate they will pursue other franchising opportunities in the population-dense regions of the Eastern seaboard.  The Habit distinguishes itself in the fast casual better burger segment with its signature Charburger, menu variety and value.

12 Ventures LLC, helmed by president and CEO Andrew Jeter, plans to bring the Habit to greater Las Vegas with a 15 restaurant expansion guided by seasoned operators with over 35 years combined experience. "The Habit offers a quality guest experience that encompasses menu variety, ambience and service levels not seen in other fast casual dining operations," stated Mr. Jeter. "I was first introduced to the Santa Barbara Habit locations as a customer in 2002 and have been a fan of the brand ever since.  I've closely followed the company's strategic growth pattern over the past few years and have been consistently impressed with my visits to the Southern California Habit locations. Customers in Las Vegas will soon learn why eating at The Habit Burger Grill is a habit worth repeating!"

PBUH Holdings, LLC will expand the Habit with 25 restaurants in the Seattle area, with operations guided by passionate brand ambassadors and experienced restaurateurs Tauseef Razaque and Abdullah Jafrey, operators of 55 restaurants in multiple concepts. "We, and our families, have become raving fans of The Habit. We first experienced them in Orange County--the quality and freshness of their signature Char-burgers and the other offerings like made-to-order salads and grilled albacore tuna sandwiches are something special.  "We can't recall being so excited about pioneering a brand in a new market. There is no doubt The Habit will be embraced in Seattle."

The Habit's entry into franchising is led by John Phillips, an industry specialist with decades of experience with Burger King, El Pollo Loco and Sizzler. Phillips has bigger plans on the horizon for the Habit's growth through franchising. "We are thrilled to have signed seasoned restaurant operators such as 12 Ventures, LLC in Las Vegas and Seattle-based PBUP Holdings, LLC to expand the Habit in untapped markets," stated Mr. Phillips, VP of Franchising for The Habit Burger Grill.  "We are opening a company-owned restaurant this summer in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, with Gary Keurajian, our newest market partner. That will pave the way for additional corporate as well as franchise expansion throughout the mid-Atlantic area. The East coast is a perfect match for the Habit with population density, income levels and appreciation for quality fast casual dining at value prices."

The Habit has been growing its base of company-owned and operated restaurants at accelerated levels over the last five years. In the last two years, 39 Habits have opened--17 in 2012 and another 22 in 2013 with 26 planned for 2014.  Executives anticipate reaching a landmark with the opening of the 100th Habit Burger Grill by fall. "The Habit's growth has been deliberate as we began ramping up expansion five years ago with company locations throughout California as well as Arizona and Utah," stated Habit CEO Russ Bendel. "We are ready to go to the next step by partnering with industry franchise veterans who are as excited about the Habit as we are. The interest has been tremendous and we are happy to support their efforts in great markets like Las Vegas and Seattle."

The company's growth has been fueled by other means as well. The Habit has partnered on nontraditional sites, opening last November at the new Graton Resort & Casino, Rohnert Park in Sonoma County, in association with the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria. The Habit has also opened at the Ronald Tutor Campus Center at University of Southern California (USC) in January and at the Aztec Student Union at San Diego State University in March.  

About The Habit Burger Grill
The Habit was founded in 1969 near Santa Barbara, California with the simple premise to always serve quality food with friendly service at reasonable, everyday prices.  For more information, visit www.habitburger.com or www.habitburgerfranchising.com. The Habit is also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/habitburger, on Twitter at @HabitBurger and on YouTube at www.youtube.com/habittube.

CONTACT: John Phillips
Vice President, Franchise Development
(949) 851-8881

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SOURCE The Habit Burger Grill



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