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Burger Chef and Jeff

Tuesday, 6 January, 2009

From 1955 to 1982, Indianapolis-based Burger Chef was a prominent player in what is now called the Quick-Service restaurant business. They ended the year 1969 as the second largest such business in the world, following McDonald’s.

Although Arctic Circle claims to have invented the kid’s meal, they provide no further information as to when this happened. The Funburger, a 10-to-1 patty dressed with ketchup and pickle only in a pressboard box and offered with a toy premiered in 1970, with the more elaborate Funmeal coming in 1972.

These products were promoted through the use of the characters the Burger Chef and his, presumably teen-aged, apprentice Jeff. Starting in 1971 Hanna-Barbera animated a series of thirty-second television commercials featuring the two. The Burger Chef was voiced by Paul Winchell, using a very similar voice to the one he used for Disney’s interpretation of Tigger from A. A. Milne’s work.

This has bothered me for years. I knew the Burger Chef voice from somewhere else, but I kept trying to place it in the H-B universe.

Burger Chef sold its restaurant division to General Mills in 1970, and the original company persists today as Sani-Serve. Through a series of mergers and acquisitions from 1982 forward the Burger Chef intellectual property presently belongs to CKE Restaurants, the parent of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. Most Burger Chef locations, including all company owned stores, adopted Hardee’s branding and menu in 1982.

The last restaurant using the Burger Chef name and logos closed in Memphis Cleaveland TN in 1996.

The last Burger Chef reached an agreement with CKE and remodeled as “The Chef” and has operated under that name since 1996.

  1. Monday, 12 January, 2009 21:44

    You’re gone for a week–But not forgotten.

    We had Burger Chefs in Rhode Island when I grew up.

    To the extent that I did grow up.


    • Tuesday, 13 January, 2009 0:38

      To the extent that I did grow up.

      I know wha’cha mean.

      Having a couple of bleak weeks. I’ll be ranting away soon enough.


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