Despite pandemic, two Irvine-based restaurant chains continue expansion


While so many restaurants are suffering during the pandemic, The Habit Burger Grill is one of two based in Irvine that are expanding. / Photo: Courtesy The Habit Burger Grill

By Brian Thomas –

Restaurants are among the hardest hit industries during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thousands around the country are teetering on the brink of closing permanently, the result of state-mandated closures aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus. Two chains based in Irvine, however, have announced expansion plans. Juice it Up and The Habit are planning new locations, adding to their roster of existing stores.

The Habit Burger Grill, with nearly 300 locations in 13 states, was acquired in March by Yum! Brands for approximately $375 million. The company joined other popular brands including KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, but it will continue to be based in Irvine and operated independently, according to a company statement on the acquisition.

The company in March opened a new store in Salinas, and today announced the opening of its 13th restaurant in the Sacramento market, the latest located on Freeport Boulevard in Sacramento.

Rendering 3

Juice it Up’s new flagship store concept / Rendering courtesy of Juice it Up

Juice it Up, also based in Irvine, earlier this summer announced plans for a new corporate-owned store in Costa Mesa that will also serve as an R&D kitchen for recipes as well as best practices that will be shared with corporate stores and franchise locations. The company says the new look of the store invites patrons to sit and relax. The company, founded in Orange County, celebrates 25 years this year.

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