The Old Town Goleta Habit is one of the eight Habit Restaurants that will remain under local ownership.
The Old Town Goleta Habit is one of the eight Habit Restaurants that will remain under local ownership. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

The South Coast’s iconic hamburger stand “The Habit” will stay under independent ownership.

The rest of the establishments, however, are being sold to Yum! Brands, Inc., a publicly traded company that owns Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC. The deal is worth $375 million.

The original restaurant was founded in Old Town Goleta, 5735 Hollister Ave. 

“There will be no impact to our locations in Santa Barbara County from the impending acquisition of the national Habit chain by Yum! Brands,” Founder and CEO Brent Reichard said in a statement. “The eight Santa Barbara County Habit locations are still locally owned, by our family, as they have been for decades. There will be no changes to our operations, menu, or workforce.”

Reichard said the family remains committed to the original motto of “There is no substitute for quality.”

Brent Reichard and his brother Bruce Reichard expanded from Goleta throughout Santa Barbara and then nationally. 

The restaurant is known for its old fashioned milkshakes, charburgers, onion rings and generous portions of French fries. 

The national Habit Burger Grill operates nearly 300 company-owned and franchised restaurants across the United States and in China.

In the Yum! news release, Russell Bendel, president and chief executive officer of The Habit Burger Grill, said the national chain has expanded online ordering capabilities and launched drive-thrus.

“We’re proud these and other actions have made The Habit Burger Grill an attractive candidate for a transaction of this kind,” Bendel said. “This transaction represents an exciting new chapter to strengthen and significantly grow The Habit Burger Grill by leveraging Yum! Brands’ global scale, resources and franchising capabilities. We’re confident the agreement delivers immediate value to The Habit Burger Grill shareholders and will greatly benefit our beloved brand, team members, franchisees and loyal guests for many years to come.”

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.