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Iconic Hamburger Chain Founded In Santa Barbara Sold; Becomes Part Of Taco Bell, KFC Family

A fast food chain known for its chicken, pizza, and Mexican food restaurants is getting into the burger business, with the purchase of an iconic chain founded in Santa Barbara. Yum Brands announced a $375 million dollar deal to buy Habit Restaurants, Incorporated, the parent of Hamburger Habit.

The Irvine based Habit chain has nearly 300 restaurants in the U.S. and around the world. Yum owns Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and Kentucky Fried Chicken.  However, the sale doesn't include the Habit restaurants in Santa Barbara County, which will remain locally owned.

The deal puts it direct competition with burger powerhouses McDonald’s and Burger King. The hamburger chain was founded in Santa Barbara a half century ago.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.