Many chains of the past have ceased to exist in our present. Pumper Nic, a classic restaurant chain with an Argentinian origin, is one too. It was a popular restaurant of the 1970s and 1980s. It got its name from the word german pumpernickel, which means bread. Many even consider it a cult classic today in Argentina.
While it is tragic that we will never get to taste its delicacies again, we can still remember it and hope it returns someday!
Here is everything about Pumper Nic.
Origins of Pumper Nic
The origins of Pumper Nic root back to the 1970s. Alfredo Lowenstein opened its first-ever location in 1974.
As Alfredo owned Quickfood (the parent company of the renowned Argentine beef) and the Las Lenas tourist complex, the success of Pumper Nic was a given. However, it was his brother Ernesto who found the Argentine beef, the famous hamburger supplier Paty.
In 1975, Pumper Nic became the first franchise in Argentina. It quickly expanded throughout the country, reaching a total of 70 restaurants. Its annual revenue was 60 million dollars.
The Logo Lawsuit
The tales of logo lawsuits in the restaurant chain industry are never new. Its history has one too.
Its logo had a resemblance with Burger King. However, the company had this logo before Burger King started operating in Argentina.
When Burger King arrived in Argentina in 1989, Pumper Nic faced a lawsuit. It then had to change its logo, with its name shortened to Pumper.
The restaurant chain was successful in Argentina. However, its rapid growth made it extremely difficult for the headquarters to manage the franchises. Hence, several locations faced a combination of lack of standardization and poor management. The food quality gradually decayed as well between restaurant to restaurant.
Soon, Lowenstein handed the ownership of Pumper Nic to his sons Diego and Paula in 1990.
However, both had little interest in running the business. The family sold the chain in 1995. The new locations started from scratch after an association with Wendy’s. It had just opened its first restaurant in the country.
Furthermore, the franchise system also collapsed the following year in its entirety. The new owners, who were real estate agents, Goldstein and Rosenbaum, were also unable to relaunch the company. They could not compete with the larger American fast-food chains. Customer numbers were declining steadily. Therefore, in early 1999, Pumper Nic finally declared bankruptcy.
Famous Products of Pumper Nic
With an Argentinian origin, Pumper Nic had lots of delicious items on its menu. Their signature meal was the Mobur sandwich. It is one with an egg in between.
The other famous choice was Dos por Uno: two burgers for the price of one. They called French fries Frenys.
Some other sandwiches which were a personal favorite of the other lots were Jaque (Jamon y queso, ham, and cheese) and Jaque H.
Taglines and References to Pumper Nic
Pumper Nic has been referenced in our movies many times. They also had their tagline!
- Pumper Nic, the new way of dining — was their most famous tagline. The Spanish version of it is La Nueva Forma de comer.
- In the Oscar-winning animated short film Logorama, Nic the hippo is one of the animals who escape from the Los Angeles Zoo during an earthquake that strikes Los Angeles (2009).
Pumper Nic was the first-ever Argentinian franchise of their country. While it did not reach beyond the borders, the restaurant was a famous delight for nationals. Many still consider it a cult classic!
They were famous for their delicious sandwiches. However, the restaurant chain went defunct in 1999. Today, it stands as one of the classic restaurant chains that no longer exist. There are many more restaurant chains that had the same fate. For instance, the All-Star Cafe and Horn & Hardart, if you remember.
The history of such restaurant chains teaches us that even our current classics may not be a thing tomorrow. Therefore, make sure you enjoy the ones around you till you can. If you own a restaurant, do not forget to run it with tips for success.