Nathan’s Famous is relaunching a classic fast-food restaurant chain

U.S. and World

Nathan’s Famous is trying to bring back Arthur Treacher’s Fish & Chips, which once operated over 800 locations across the country. (Bryan R. Smith/AFP via Getty Images)

(NEXSTAR) – Hungry for a bit of nostalgia?

Arthur Treacher’s Fish and Chips, a quick-service restaurant chain that once boasted over 800 locations around the country, is being relaunched as part of a virtual restaurant concept spearheaded by Nathan’s Famous.

In bringing the brand back, Nathan’s Famous initially plans to offer the Arthur Treacher’s menu at ghost-kitchen locations, many of which will be offering items from other restaurant brands in the Nathan’s Famous “portfolio.”

Nathan’s has also “revamped” the traditional Arthur Treacher’s menu to feature “upgraded proteins” and put more focus on shrimp items. Offerings include fish and chips sandwiches and platters, shrimp platters (including a Boom Boom Shrimp platter), a chicken platter and even shrimp- and bacon-studded cheese fries, among other dinners. Nathan’s Famous hot dogs, as well as its new chicken sandwiches, will also be on the Arthur Treacher’s menu.

Nathan’s Famous has “revamped” the Arthur Treacher’s menu to “highlight” the brand’s traditional offerings, such as fish and chips. (Nathan’s Famous)

“Nathan’s Famous and Arthur Treacher’s have a long-standing relationship and we have worked diligently to keep the brand’s traditional menu items while also evolving the menu to fit the Nathan’s mantra of ‘Craveable, Memorable and Instagrammable’ product that we believe both operators and customers will love,” said James Walker, senior vice president of restaurants at Nathan’s Famous, in a press release.

Arthur Treacher’s Fish & Chips, named after the English actor Arthur Treacher (who also appeared in the restaurants’ marketing campaigns), was founded in 1969 in Ohio, QSR Magazine reported. At its height, the chain operated over 826 locations. By 2018, a handful remained, with the only three “old-style” locations still operating in Northeast Ohio, Cleveland.com reported.

A decade later, Mrs. Paul’s — a company best known for its frozen seafood products — acquired Arthur Treacher’s and replaced its cod offerings with pollock, prompting a “rebellion” among franchisees, the Dayton Daily News reported in 1982. At the time, the president of Mrs. Paul’s had described Arthur Treacher’s as being nearly bankrupt, according to the article.

Nathan’s Famous later acquired the Arthur Treacher’s trademark in 2006 from PAT Franchise Systems, QSR reported. In the years leading up to the deal, however, Nathan’s Famous had already been licensing the Arthur Treacher’s trademark for use in its Nathan’s and Miami Subs outlets.

Nathan’s Famous reportedly plans to add cod back to the Arthur Treacher’s menu, where available, and even hopes to open physical Arthur Treacher’s locations in the near future, according to Walker.

“We think it absolutely has huge potential to grow,” he told QSR.

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