Taco Bell’s parent company Yum Brands acquires The Habit Burger Grill – Daily News

on Jan7
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About nine miles separates The Habit Burger Grill’s headquarters from those of Taco Bell. But from now on the two Irvine-based restaurant chains will be close in another way.

The Habit has been acquired by Taco Bell’s parent company Yum Brands for approximately $375 million at $14 a share.

The Habit and Louisville, Kentucky-based Yum Brands made a joint announcement of the acquisition on Monday.

Yum Brands also owns KFC, based in Louisville, as well as Pizza Hut and WingStreet, both based in Texas.

The Habit fits perfectly into the portfolio, Yum Brands chief executive officer David Gibbs said in a joint phone interview that included Russell Bendel, The Habit’s chief executive officer.

“We see this as a great play in the fast casual space. Yes, it’s a burger concept by name, but really the menu is much broader than that. And we love the fact that they have a flame-grilled product, which gives them the opportunity to do other proteins. And we love the fact that it’s positioned within fast casual as much more of a value player.”

The Habit was founded in Santa Barbara in 1969 but moved its headquarters to Irvine in 2009, the same time Bendel came on board.

The chain is known for its grilled hamburgers but has unique items on its menu, including sweet potato fries, tempura green beans, and Peach Ginger Nectar Juice as an alternative to carbonated soft drinks. It recently began serving sauteed brussels sprouts for a limited time.

Customer service won’t change under Yum Brands, said Bendel.

“Our people have always been focused on taking great care of our customers by providing great food. None of that will change.”

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