business

Whatever Happened to Arthur Treacher's Restaurants?

The fish-and-chips chain had 826 locations at its peak. Today, just seven Arthur Treacher's remain in business.

Remember Arthur Treacher's Fish & Chips? If you do, you're not alone. The purveyor of the classic British combination of fried fish and fried potatoes once boasted hundreds of locations in the U.S. But as competition increased and consumers' tastes changed, the Arthur Treacher's chain shrank considerably. Take a nostalgic trip down memory lane with your taste buds to learn about the restaurant's fate.

Arthur Treacher, a real-life English character actor best known for portraying the butler Jeeves in Shirley Temple movies, was the spokesperson and nameplate for Arthur Treacher's Fish & Chips. Contrary to popular perception, he wasn't the owner of the chain that at its peak had 826 restaurants in the U.S.

Arthur Treacher's recipe – and menu – was simple: Focus on the British staple of fried fish with a side of fries ("chips" to the Brits), and serve it up in large quantities. The founders acquired the recipe from Malin's of London, which originated the idea of serving customers on-the-go with deep-fried fish and chips, soaking in malt vinegar, in the 1860s.

The downfall of Arthur Treacher's began in the 1970s, when fast-food chains, new and old, were duking it out. The cod Arthur Treacher's used in its recipes doubled in price as a result of the 1975-1976 Cod War between Iceland and Britain. By the end of that decade, Arthur Treacher's had filed for bankruptcy protection. (In an interesting twist of fast-food fate, Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy's, actually helped get Arthur Treacher's up and running in Columbus, Ohio, in 1969, before launching his own hamburger juggernaut out of the same city.)

Today, only seven Arthur Treacher's Fish & Chips restaurants remain: Three in the metro New York City area and four in northeast Ohio, where the chain was created. You can also find Arthur Treacher's Fish & Chips products at other restaurant chains, including Nathan's Famous.

Learn the fates of 13 more classic restaurant chains including Bennigan's, Chi-Chi's and Beefsteak Charlie's.

Most Popular

Are You Rich? The Answer May Surprise You
personal finance

Are You Rich? The Answer May Surprise You

Whether you are considered rich depends on how you measure it – and the bar for that is changing. Have a look at the numbers that define who's wealthy…
August 12, 2022
Your Guide to Roth Conversions
Special Report
Tax Breaks

Your Guide to Roth Conversions

A Kiplinger Special Report
February 25, 2021
Save More on Green Home Improvements Under the Inflation Reduction Act
Tax Breaks

Save More on Green Home Improvements Under the Inflation Reduction Act

Tax credits for energy-efficient home improvements are extended and expanded by the Inflation Reduction Act.
August 19, 2022

Recommended

Are You Streaming Too Much? What the Discovery+/HBO Max Mashup Means
Smart Buying

Are You Streaming Too Much? What the Discovery+/HBO Max Mashup Means

Fewer original scripted series? Maybe. And maybe it’s time to unsubscribe.
August 5, 2022
Great Deals on Family Friendly Trips
Travel

Great Deals on Family Friendly Trips

From camping excursions to cruises to tropical adventures, these vacation ideas are perfect for the entire family—or a special treat for just you and …
August 2, 2022
Audit-Proof Your Small Business
small business

Audit-Proof Your Small Business

Eight tips for keeping your business expenses and record-keeping organized.
August 1, 2022
How to Control Your Business Exit
small business

How to Control Your Business Exit

Many business owners reach retirement age only to find they don’t have a viable exit plan. Avoid falling into that trap by getting your company ready …
July 17, 2022