This blog covers everything except sports and gardening, unless we find a really good link about using dead professional bowlers for mulch. The author is a StarTribune columnist, has been passing off fiction and hyperbole as insight since 1997, has run his own website since the Jurassic era of AOL, and was online when today’s college sophomores were a year away from being born. So get off his lawn.

Puzzling Pickles, what’s a fun burger?

Posted by: James Lileks under Restaurants Updated: May 5, 2014 - 12:31 PM

Cultural archeologists must have gotten a nice jolt out of the last episode of “Mad Men.” Burger Chef. Their signature burger: the Big Shef. Critics speculate that confusion about the spelling of the word “chef” eventually did the chain in, as people flocked to the simpler Burger King. (Burger Person was left in the dust by now, closing most of its 42,490 locations.) Wikipedia:

In 1968, the chain was purchased by the General Foods Corporation, which continued its rapid expansion. The chain's mascots were called Burger Chef (voiced by Paul Winchell) and Jeff (the chef's juvenile sidekick). In the early 1970s, the chain introduced first the Funburger, followed by the Funmeal, with specially-printed packaging that included stories about Burger Chef and Jeff's adventures and friends (including the magician Burgerini, vampire Count Fangburger, talking ape Burgerilla, and Cackleburger the witch), with riddles, puzzles, and small toys.

Sound familiar?

When McDonald's introduced their similarly themed Happy Meal in 1979, the chain sued McDonald's, but ultimately lost.

The entry says General Foods was “unable to support the company’s growth,” which suggests the company was out of its league when it came to restaurants. The company also bought Rax around this time.

They sold out to a company that converted them to Hardee’s, which made all the good will and brand loyalty evaporate. There’s still one, sort of - the name has changed but it’s kept all the Burger Chef memorabilia for nostalgists. If there are any. Nostalgia for 70s fast-food is probably nostalgia for your childhood, not the quality of lettuce.

BTW: There was a Rax in Uptown when I lived there. Looking at the wikipedia entry on Rax is the most bewildering thing you may encounter this afternoon. Ready?

Rax was originally known as JAX Roast Beef, founded by Jack Roschman in 1967, in Springfield, Ohio.In 1969, Roschman sold the chain to General Foods, who then changed the name of the restaurants to RIX Roast Beef.

General Foods ran the chain until 1978, when most of the restaurants closed down. The remaining 10 units were franchised units owned by the Restaurant Administration Corporation (RAC).

RAC purchased the remainder of RIX from General Foods, and returned the JAX name to the restaurants. RAC eventually decided to focus on the roast beef business, and began franchising the chain.

The JAX restaurants were renamed Rax to be more suitable for trademarking and franchising, with the first Rax branded franchise restaurant opening in Columbus, Ohio.

If that’s not confusing enough:

In December 2007, Rich Donohue, a franchise owner with restaurants in Ironton, Ohio and Ashland, Kentucky, purchased the Rax trademark. The new company, From Rax to Rich's Inc., purchased the name to bypass licensing costs.

Usually I’d say it’s bad news when a restaurant company goes with a pun, but, well.

A compilation of Burger Chef ads here.

I’m guessing Don didn’t land the account. Incrediburgible! Anyway, all those people who thought “Mad Men” would get around to the Tate murders were completely wrong.

It’s the Burger Chef Murders, that’s what’s coming.

SCIENCE! Horror and fascination: that’s what you get when you ask the question “What would it look like if Saturn slowed and fell into the Sun?” It would doom earth, but that’s the least of it. AHHHHHHHHH

While I don’t want the planet to be ripped apart by tidal forces, it would mean the end of fonts like this:

That’s like Hobo modified to be worse.

Anyway, Sploid found the video, so head over there to see it. Enjoy your Monday!

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