Founder of King's restaurants steps back
By Sam Spatter
Published: Tuesday, June 25, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
King's Family Restaurants has named a new president as its founder and owner, Hartley King, has started to reduce his role in day-to-day management of the 32-restaurant chain.
King, 80, confirmed on Monday he has decided to ease up his operation of the company and let younger management personnel, such as Chris Whalen, 56, the new president, make the decisions “because they have the energy to do so,” King said.
Some of that new energy has been demonstrated, as Whelan guided the remodeling of four restaurants last year and three so far this year. Whelan said the drive to remodel and focus on food will continue.
“My priority will be to enhance our menu with fresher and healthier foods, while still having fun with our menu. I want people to notice positive changes every time they come into a King's Family Restaurant,” said Whelan, previously the company's chief financial officer.
Whelan said he is “looking for ripe sites in Pittsburgh to build new restaurants.”
“Our famous meatloaf remains one of our staple dishes, and all our soups are made from scratch,” he said. Most of the bread products used in the restaurants are purchased from Cellone, a bakery in Windgap.
Whelan said he hopes to establish a supply chain that will include local farmers.
Four years ago, King said that an attempt to sell all or part of the chain to potential buyer Unique Ventures Group LLC of Meadville wasn't completed because of lack of financing.
A spokesman for Unique Ventures declined to comment.
Most of the restaurants stay open until 11 p.m. or midnight, but the North Versailles store — the location of the first King's restaurant in 1967 — is open 24 hours on weekends. The company has one store in Ohio.
Explaining how the restaurant chain started, King said, “I had a petroleum company, which I sold last year. I was approached by some investors from Arkansas in 1967 who wanted me to build them a building for a barbecue restaurant. Two months later they dropped out, leaving me with a restaurant building. A friend of mine from New Jersey showed me how to operate a restaurant, and the rest is history,” King said.
Although the first restaurant was called Kings Country Shoppes, the next restaurant was called by the current name of King's Family Restaurant.
Sam Spatter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Region’s largest bank PNC posts 7% rise in 1Q profit
- Heinz offers Pittsburgh workers a buyout if they are unhappy
- Programs help to nudge unemployment among veterans downward
- Coca-Cola revenue up, but soda sales dip
- Consumer price index up 0.2 percent in March
- Tobacco companies make payments under state settlement
- Recall puts GM sales under microscope
- Koppers to acquire 2 Buffalo-based Osmose units for $460M
- Fed chair might push for stronger regulations
- Robinson bakehouse invests time, love in artisan products
- Google buys drone maker Titan Aerospace to spread Internet