The first Habit Burger stand opened in 1969 in Goleta, Calif., near Santa Barbara. It grew in and around the central California region for years, and was considered Santa Barbara’s “best-kept secret.” The original Habit stand is still around, but owned by the original founders.
In 2008, the privately held restaurant company tapped Russ Bendel, former CEO of Mimi’s Café and former chief operating officer of The Cheesecake Factory, as its new CEO. At the time, the company had about 20 units. Shortly after, the headquarters moved to Irvine, Calif., where it remains to this day.
The Habit Burger Grill launched a franchising program in 2013, as it began to think about expanding geographically. At the time, it was approaching 82 units in California, Utah and Arizona. The Habit Burger Grill is now in 13 states.