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Sunday, Jun 16, 2024
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HOSPITALITY/FOOD: RUSS BENDEL

CEO (RET.), THE HABIT BURGER GRILL

WHY: Built Irvine-based burger chain to 350 franchises; engineered sale in 2020 to Yum Brands for $375M.

IN THE NEWS: Won Business Journal Executive of the Year in 2018, restaurant category. Retired this year.

QUOTABLE: “KarpReilly, a private equity group, called me (around 2007) to say they had heard of this little concept called The Habit Burger Grill. At the time, there were about 15 locations out in Santa Barbara and Ventura. I’d never heard of it but when we went to visit, I got that “gut” feeling—it was positioned right, and the ‘Better Burger’ concept was just starting to emerge.”

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