Arthur Treacher's

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Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips is a fast food seafood restaurant chain with, as of 2003, 177 stores which serve fish and chips. Like its main competitor Long John Silver's, Arthur Treacher's faced bankruptcy, and the brand has been acquired by Nathan's Famous and is being co-branded with Kenny Rogers and Miami Subs.

Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips once had over 500 locations throughout the United States. The company was bought out by Orange Co. in the 1970s and later sold to Mrs. Pauls Seafood. The company was then bought by a group of investors and the corporate offices were relocated to Youngstown, Ohio. During the years of high growth customers would line up for hours to eat in the 27-50 seat restaurants with about 50% of the business as take out.

The chain started in 1969 with Long John Silver's; Captain D's, Skipper's and H. Salt all started about the same time. They introduced British fish and chips to America. Arthur Treacher's and Long John Silver's probably became the most prolific companies in the expansion of fish and chips in the late 1970s. By 1979, Arthur Treacher's had about 800 stores. In 1981, Britain and Iceland almost got into a war over fishing rights, and when they implemented the 200-mile fishing limit it was called the 'cod wars.' Cod prices went from the low $2 range to the mid-$3 range, and it sent the industry into a death spiral, and all the companies retrenched. Treacher's was henceforth sold to Mrs. Paul's from Orange Co., a public company that was primarily in the orange futures trading business. They immediately replaced the Icelandic codfish with pollack, which was cheaper and inferior in quality. The company then went into bankruptcy in 1983, and emerged again in 1985. It was merged into a shell by Jim Catalan. From 1985 to 1993, Catalan started to grow the company again, albeit very slowly, followed in 1993 by an investment in the company by a group of investors. The investment was going to be used to bring out a new, more modern, and updated seafood concept. The money was used to buy a large number of stores and move the company from its base operations in Youngstown, Ohio to Jacksonville, Florida.

The chain is named for Arthur Treacher (1894 - 1975), an English character actor who was known as "the perfect butler" for his performances as Jeeves and as a butler in several Shirley Temple films. He served as a spokesman for the restaurant chain in its early years, underscoring the British character of its food.

Arthur Treacher's Homepage (http://www.pudgies.com/)

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