This Beloved Burger Chain Is Returning to Its Retro Roots

Cheyenne Buckingham
·2 mins read

When you think of the Johnny Rockets you frequented with your family as a child, what comes to mind first? The jukebox, checkered floors, or glossy red booths that seem to sparkle under the light? How about the servers wearing old fashioned paper hats? There was so much to love about Johnny Rockets, but after the chain underwent a rebrand in 2016, it arguably lost some of its originality.

Four years ago, Johnny Rockets locations across the nation abruptly ditched their quintessential '50s diner look for a more modernized layout, complete with contemporary seating and current songs playing from the speakers. However, that's all about to change (again). For those who appreciated the original vibe at Johnny Rockets, we have good news for you: The brand is going back to its retro Americana roots.

Global franchising company FAT Brands recently announced that it would be acquiring Johnny Rockets for $25 million next month, and CEO Andy Wiederhorn is more than eager to make some changes to the restaurant chain.

"We love the original look of the brand and we think there will be opportunities to bring that back," Wiederhorn said in an interview with Nation's Restaurant News.

Currently, when you go to Johnny Rockets, you may see signs promoting the idea that the brand serves a "farm to table" kind of cuisine, as well as "handcrafted burgers," both of which are in line with the kind of buzzwords you see in trendy, independently-owned restaurants. While those are great attributes, they don't describe Johnny Rockets' old-school vibe. At least, not the one everyone grew up with.

Still, Wiederhorn plans to continue to advance the brand's technology on the marketing side of things as well as give the menu a modern makeover.

"They don't have plant-based proteins right now and we think that's a real menu opportunity," Wiederhorn was quoted by NRN. "They have a black bean veggie burger, but no Impossible or Beyond burgers."

If you're eagerly anticipating the day when you can walk into Johnny Rockets and order a milkshake, burger, fries, and queue up your favorite jukebox songs, then join the club. Maybe there will even be an Impossible burger on the menu by then as well.

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