Brothers Brent (left) and Bruce Reichard | Credit: Paul Wellman (file)

After nearly a half-century of proudly preparing patties that became a nationwide success story, Habit Burger Grill founder Brent Reichard and his co-owning brother, Bruce Reichard, are selling the last eight of their restaurants to Yum! Brands, which owns every other Habit in the country. The Reichards had hung onto the Santa Barbara County locations when they sold the rest of the chain in 2007, but the sale of these Habits will pave the way for their retirement. 

The sale, which will officially shift operations on March 1, 2022, included the original Habit Burger in Old Town Goleta. That’s where Brent started working at the age of 16 in 1976 when it was called the Hamburger Habit, which the brothers bought together in 1980. Their expansion effort started with a second Habit in Ventura in 1996, and then grew to 24 California locations from there. The 2007 sale was to the private equity firm Karp Reilly, which took the chain public in 2014. Yum! Brands bought the company in early 2020.

The brothers said it was an emotional decision, but that none of their children were ready to take over the business. “My retirement signals the end of an amazing era,” said Brent in a press release. “This was a family decision, and we know this is what is best for the business.”

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