The History of Habit Burger


The Habit Burger Grill is one of the fastest growing American fast food chain that specializes on charbroiled hamburgers. Their most popular burger is the Charburger which contains two toasted buns, grilled ground beef, caramelized onions, pickles, tomatoes, lettuce, and mayo.  One unique thing about Habit Burger is that it dresses up its burgers in new clothes, like their teriyaki option that has grilled pineapple.  

People love the restaurant chain not only because of the delicious burgers they serve but also because of the other items in their menu such as salads, tuna sandwiches, chicken clubs, and more, making their menu appeal to a broader demographic. They only use local ingredients that are fresh, therefore, their foods are good choices for health conscious people.

In the present time, the Habit Burger Grill uses advanced technologies to enhance their operations. One of those technologies is the MICRO mTablet which is a handheld POS terminal. This technology helps them increase their speed of service by bringing the cash register directly to the restaurant guests inside, as well as those in a long line outside, and by the drive-through.

The Habit have one of America’s best burger, but whenever you dine in there, have you ever wondered how the business started and became successful? If you want to know the story behind the delicious burgers they serve, here is the history of Habit Burger.

The Habit History

Before the term “better burger” became popular to the industry, The Habit has already been founded. The first ever Habit Burger Grill started on November 15, 1969 in Santa Barbara, California as a family-owned business. It was where Brent Reichard got his first job of flipping burgers. After a few years, he and his brother decided to purchase the restaurant which truly changed their lives.

Brent Reichard and his brother’s mission was to provide a great burger at a great price. With this idea in mind, they borrowed money from their mom to buy the restaurant. Since they have a goal in their minds, they began the business with new standard for freshness. They started with daily-baked buns coming from a local bakery. They grilled them together with perfectly seasoned beef until they turn warm and toasty. They also sourced all the fresh produce they can get in California such as ripe tomatoes and leafy lettuce. To sear smoky flavors to the burgers, they’ve installed a stainless steel char broiler designed with a cast-iron grill.

When the tasty burger they’ve created became popular, they started creating other beach-inspired recipes like fresh-grilled ahi sandwich with tuna, chicken sandwich topped with bacon and avocado, and as well as crisp salads that were made to order.  

In 2007, The Habit Burger Grill was purchased by a private equity firm, KarpReilly. After this, the chain rapidly expanded and franchising had been opened as well. From late 2009, up to 2014, they had 109 locations that were either open for business or were still under construction. This made the company one of the fastest-growing fast food chains in the United States.  

From 2012 to 2013, their sales increased by 40 percent. In 2013, a lot of newspapers reported that Habit Burger was planning an initial public offering or IPO. And on November 2014, the company was able to raise $83.7 million in that said IPO.

The Habit’s Charburger was named as the best burger in America by Consumer Reports in the mid-2014. It is a nonprofit organization that conducts unbiased product testing. The Habit’s Charburger was able to score an 8.1 out of 10 among more than fifty thousand participants.

As of November 2017, The Habit Burger also has a fleet of nine food trucks. And in the present time, the brand has grown from 109 stores to over 200 in California and in other states, as well as in two other countries. The company has plans of expanding into the United Kingdom with 30 restaurants in the coming years.

For some, tasting Habit Burger’s hot and juicy Charburger will give you a feeling of time travelling to the picturesque, coastal Southern California town in 1969. It might be a chain from a different era, but it can perfectly go along with a fast-casual concept. Even though the brand has been around for many years, the modern look of their open kitchens and spacious booths, as well as the modern technologies they use prove that it can keep up with the newer burger restaurants in the present time.

Char-Grilled Burgers

One distinction of Habit Burger Grill is its method of cooking burgers. All burgers in the Habit Burger are cooked using charcoal. In fact, you will notice on their menus that all names include the word “char,” such as their traditional Charburger, barbecue Bacon Charburger, and the Santa Barbara Char.

The best-tasting fast-food burger

Woman eating a burger she bought from a fast food

Habit Burger established big consumer support in California despite its limited branches in 2014. This is evident based on a survey by Consumer Reports, where they asked people to evaluate the fast-food chain on a scale of 1 to 10. 

Based on the survey, Habit Burger garnered an 8.1 score and earned the top spot in the list, higher than In-N-Out, Five Guys Burger and Fries, and McDonald’s.

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