Perkins & Marie Callender’s Inc. (PCMI) doing business as Marie Callender's, is a restaurant chain with 28 locations in the United States. Its headquarters are in the Marie Callender's Corporate Support Center in Mission Viejo, Orange County, California. One East Side Mario's restaurant in Lakewood, California, is part of the chain, a remnant of the period (1997–2000) when the chain owned the ESM concept, purchased from PepsiCo.
Photo of the exterior of a Marie Callender's
The type of cuisine served is mainly American, although many of the dishes are slanted towards styles of preparation that resemble Italian, Mexican, French, Cajun, or Chinese. Soups and sandwiches are available as meals or à la carte. Pies are signature items on the dessert menu: there are over 30 varieties available.
In the 1930s, Marie Callender, her husband Cal Warren Callender, and their son Don lived in a trailer park off Beach Boulevard in Huntington Beach. Marie baked and sold pies to augment the family's income, with Don delivering pies to customers on his bicycle.
In 1948 Don founded the business as a wholesale outlet for selling pies to restaurants in Orange County, California. Eventually, Don opened a retail outlet in Orange, California, naming it after his mother, gradually adding other food. In later years, a typical restaurant would have a fully stocked bar, or saloon, serving alcoholic beverages. This is in contrast to family restaurants like Denny's or Village Inn, which generally do not serve alcoholic beverages. A salad bar is also a staple.
The interiors of the chain's earlier restaurants are decorated with antiques circa 1900, providing a theme that is reminiscent of Victorian England as well as early United States. Later restaurants reflect more modern tastes, with a clean interior and photos of food.
The business flourished until Don died on January 7, 2009, due to complications resulting from head trauma sustained during a fall at home.
On June 13, 2011, a total of 58 units were closed, including 31 Marie Callender's and 27 Perkins Restaurant and Bakerys due to bankruptcy restructuring (Chapter 11). Later in the same year PMCI exited bankruptcy under the control of Wayzata Investment Partners.
In 1994, the restaurant chain was sold to Ramada Inn, then in 2000, to Wilshire Restaurant Group, Inc.. Marie Callender Pie Shops, Inc. was purchased from Saunders Karp & Megrue (SKM) in 1999 by an affiliate of Castle Harlan, a New York-based private equity firm. In 2006, Castle Harlan merged Marie Callender's with another of its interests, Perkins Restaurant and Bakery. The combined chain, known as Perkins & Marie Callender's Inc. is headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee. The current CEO of PMCI is restaurant industry veteran Joseph F. ("Jay") Trungale. Former Morton's Restaurant Group chairman and CEO Allen Bernstein serves as non-executive chairman; Bernstein also serves as a director of California-based Cheesecake Factory, Inc.
As of November 2018, there are 58 stores operating in the United States: California (52), Nevada (4), and Utah (2).
For years the chain has licensed its name for shelf-stable and frozen entrees and sides. Various product licenses were included in a sale to ConAgra Foods in 1994 for $140 million. The name Marie Callender's was retained for the food line following the division's sale. In 2010, its Cheesy Chicken & Rice was pulled due to a salmonella outbreak.
- "About - Marie Callender's Restaurant & Bakery". Marie Callender's. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
- "Contact - Marie Callender's Restaurant & Bakery". Marie Callender's. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
- Marie Callender's founder, Don Callender, dies
- Luna, Nancy (June 13, 2011). "Marie Callender's closes 31 units amid bankruptcy". Orange County Register. Retrieved August 5, 2019.
- Stych, Ed (December 2, 2011). "Perkins emerges from bankruptcy with Wayzata firm in control". Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal. Retrieved August 5, 2019.
- Stempel, Jonathan; Zieminski, Nick (August 5, 2019). "Perkins & Marie Callender's files for bankruptcy". Reuters. Retrieved August 5, 2019.
- Luna, Nancy (August 5, 2019). "Perkins & Marie Callender's close 29 restaurants amid bankruptcy filing". Nations Restaurant News. Retrieved August 5, 2019.
- Hernandez, Greg (November 16, 1999). "Marie Callender's Sold for $150 Million". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 5, 2019.
- Weise, Elizabeth (June 18, 2010). "ConAgra recalls Marie Callender's frozen chicken and rice meals". USA Today. Retrieved August 5, 2019.