Fuddruckers and Luby’s, two prominent restaurant businesses, have announced that they will be liquidating. Luby’s Inc., the parent company of both chains, intends to sell the business and distribute the proceeds from that sale to the company’s shareholders. The businesses were hit hard due to the coronavirus pandemic, and both chains were not able to remain profitable throughout 2020.
Fuddruckers was founded in 1979 by Dallas restauranteur Phil Romano. Romano’s vision for Fuddruckers was to create a chain of burger restaurants that could directly compete with McDonald’s. While the price would be higher, Romano wanted to offer a more “theatrical” experience that also catered to more adult tastes. The burger buns would be baked in house and employees would also grind the meat on site. This would cause a strong fragrance to waft through the establishment, helping to make customers even hungrier.
Fuddruckers was hit hard during the 2008 financial crisis and the brand was sold to Luby’s Inc. in June 2010 for $63.45 million. Luby’s was founded in 1947 in San Antonio, Texas by Robert Luby. The cafeteria became a Texas mainstay and even inspired a character on King of the Hill. The “Lu Ann Platter” was a popular combination platter served at Luby’s, offering a half portion main dish with vegetables. The character of Luanne Platter was named after this menu item.
After the liquidation of the company, a sale could be on the horizon. While no buyers have been publicly announced, it will be interesting to see if Fuddruckers and Luby’s will be purchased by another food conglomerate. The brands are certainly recognizable, especially in their founding state of Texas. Whether or not another corporate entity steps in and acquires the brands remains to be seen.
2020 has been a very difficult year for many businesses, but restaurants and fast-food chains have been hit extremely hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Many small, independently owned restaurants have had to shut down or permanently close due to decreased sales. It is very telling that even larger chains like Fuddruckers and Luby’s have not been able to adapt to this unfortunate new landscape. It is worth noting that both Fuddruckers and Luby’s were reporting losses before the pandemic hit. It is likely that the coronavirus pandemic only expedited their eventual demise.
Fuddruckers and Luby’s are two more financial and cultural casualties in the year of COVID-19. Hopefully, they can find a new life after the sale is announced. These are two restaurant brands that have engendered a lot of love from their customers. If the brands are strong enough and there is a strong enough showing of support, it could be possible that they will find a new life under the umbrella of another restaurant company.
As of this writing, it is unclear if certain Fuddruckers and Luby’s restaurants will stay open for operation. So, if you have a Fuddruckers or a Luby’s near you and they are still open for business, you might want to get a takeout order in before it is too late.