Ponderosa and Bonanza
The first Ponderosa Steakhouse was established in 1968 in Kokomo, Indiana, by Dan Lasater and Norm Wiese. Lasalet, who only had a high school education, had experience working at McDonald’s Restaurants. Wiese had an auto dealership and owned some real estate. The two joined resources and the rest is history
Who else would know a good steak but the great Hoss Cartwright, portrayed by Dan Blocker on the TV western “Bonanza”. Dan founded Bonanza Steakhouse in 1963 and opened his first restaurant in Westport, Connecticut. Sadly, Dan passed away in 1972
Three years later, brothers Sam and Charles Wyly bought the small chain and started to expand the business. By 1988, they had grown their chain to 600 Bonanza restaurants! In the late 1980s, the Wyly brothers sold Bonanza to arch-rival Metromedia Restaurant Group who owned Ponderosa Steakhouse. Metromedia would go on to keep both restaurant brands under their ownership
Ponderosa Steakhouse Management
What goes up must come down
The late 1980s economic recession took a terrible toll on Metromedia Restaurant group and sales at their restaurants steadily declined. In 2008, they filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
In 2017, the chain was sold again to FAT Brands, who also owns “Fatburger” restaurants. By this time, only a few Bonanza and Ponderosa Steakhouse locations still existed
Ponderosa Steakhouse – Still Around
Today, there are still a few Ponderosa Steakhouse and Bonanza restaurants in operation. You can see them on the map below
Find a Location:
You can click on the link below to find a specific location by entering your ZIP Code:
The Restaurant Today
Although Ponderosa Steakhouse and Bonanza are no longer a major player in their field, the parent company has stepped into the future by sending out redeemable coupon offers via mobile devices to get customers in the doors. So far, they have had success in this venture
It’s still possible to own a Ponderosa Steakhouse or Bonanza restaurant. To inquiry about franchise opportunities, you can click the steak below:
A Piece of Nostalgia
For many of us who grew up going to Ponderosa or Bonanza restaurants, there are many fond memories to recall. Although many of the remaining franchises are out of reach for most Americans, we can all still hold onto those precious memories!
What about those of us who still crave a good steak or salad bar fix? Although Ponderosa Steakhouse and Bonanza are no longer a major player in their field, the parent company has stepped into the future by sending out redeemable coupon offers via mobile devices to get customers in the doors. So far, they have had success in this venture.
And for those who yearn for the nostalgia of Ponderosa Steakhouse, there is still a glimmer of hope. It’s still possible to own a Ponderosa Steakhouse or Bonanza restaurant.
So, while the iconic chain may no longer be as prevalent as it once was, we can all still hold onto those precious memories of juicy steaks and endless salad bars. And who knows, maybe one day we’ll see a resurgence of the beloved Ponderosa Steakhouse. For now, we can still relive those fond memories and savor the flavors of the past.
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