Nathan’s Famous Inc. NATH is rebooting the Arthur Treacher’s Fish & Chips restaurant brand as a ghost kitchen concept.
What Happened: Arthur Treacher’s launched in 1969 and was named after the veteran British character actor who was enjoying a new level of visibility as the announcer and sidekick on Merv Griffin’s television talk show.
The chain — which specialized in fried seafood, fried chicken and French fries — had more than 800 locations at its peak in the 1970s, but fell out of favor over the years as consumer tastes changed. The brand changed hands over the years, and today it exists only at two Ohio locations.
In 2006, Nathan’s Famous acquired the exclusive rights to market the Arthur Treacher's trademark and sell its products alongside the company’s other fast-food brands.
According to a press statement from Nathan’s Famous, the company plans to continue with the brand’s traditional menu “while also featuring upgraded proteins, more contemporary builds” and a greater focus on shrimp dishes. Nathan’s Famous hot dogs and chicken sandwiches will also be added to the menu mix.
Why It Matters: The ghost kitchen concept operates as a delivery-only service, often within the space of another restaurant brand. These endeavors incur lower costs by using existing kitchen facilities.
Ghost kitchens have become increasingly prominent during the COVID-19 pandemic as restaurant deliveries spiked after government lockdowns either suspended indoor restaurant dining or severely restricted capacity.
At least one company semi-hijacked a celebrity’s fame for the concept: the privately-owned Rusty Bucket Restaurant and Tavern runs the ghost kitchen chain Cluck Norris Ass Kickin' Chicken, a fowl riff on action movie hero Chuck Norris’ name.
Norris is not associated with the endeavor and has not raised a public or legal complaint.
(Photo courtesy Nathan's Famous Inc.)
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