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Kmart Chef

Posted: 23 Dec 2008 00:00
by tesg
I'd never heard of them, but a friend of mine brought up to me an attempt by Kmart to run a freestanding hamburger chain.

From somewhere on Wikipedia (he sent the comments, but not the link):

Kmart Chef restaurants were a small chain of free-standing fast-food restaurants owned by Kmart, started in 1967 with the first location on the parking lot of the Kmart in Pontiac, Michigan. These restaurants were paired up with many Kmart locations. The restaurants were somewhat of a hybrid of the cafeteria-style restaurant and the style later made famous by McDonald's. The "limited, high-turnover menu" (as Kmart founder S.S. Kresge put it) consisted of 18ยข hamburgers, cheeseburgers, French fries, fish sandwiches, hot dogs, apple turnovers, carbonated soft drinks, fruit drinks, coffee, and milk. The specialty hamburger was called the "Big K Burger." The Kmart Chef chain folded in 1974 after peaking at eleven locations.

I was able to find an image of an ad for this on Flickr, courtesy of our friends at Pleasant Family Shopping: ... 499820550/

Re: Kmart Chef

Posted: 10 Jan 2009 11:41
by NewsLynne
OK - now that I look - the old Kmart on Jermantown Road in Fairfax, VA may have had one of those. I'll have to check old phone books. Thanks for posting that!

Re: Kmart Chef

Posted: 13 Jan 2009 21:19
by luckysaver
I think Kmart Chef (or any other standalone restaurant operations) evolved to be KCafe or Little Caesar Pizza Stations in the 1990's. Some KCafe's are built like supermarket service deli's and others are sit down. LCPS are not identified as Little Caesar locations - Kmart (as a company) obtained a license to make/distribute/sell Little Caesar products. Note that they are departments inside the store, not in the parking lot.

Examples -

Former KCafe in Diamond Bar (60 freeway at Diamond Bar Blvd) - service deli style, removed in the early 2000's (when Kmart became "Big K", removed to make room for another product shelf. Basic KCafe offerings and the only Little Caesar product was a "Baby Pan-Pan" - the small personal pan pizza.

KCafe/Little Caesar Pizza Station in West Covina (former SCOA, 10 Freeway at West Covina Pkwy), on the west wall adjacent to Sears Outlet (former Joann/House of Fabric/Safeway Liquor Barn) - sit down cafe with two service buffets (left side has Little Caesar pizza and sub sandwiches, adjacent is has the typical KCafe offerings such as nachos, pretzels, hot dogs, etc). Other sit down locations in my area include Covina (Citrus and Covina Blvd), Industry (Hacienda and Valley), and Northwest Ontario (10 Freeway at 4th St).

In a related interesting note...
Target's Food Avenue is similar to KCafe but it offers Pizza Hut products.


Re: Kmart Chef

Posted: 09 Feb 2009 15:00
by TenPoundHammer
That location (in front of the Kmart in Pontiac) almost sounds like it later became a Burger Chef if it was the Kmart on Opdyke Rd.

Re: Kmart Chef

Posted: 12 Jan 2012 04:17
by TenPoundHammer
I was wrong. It was the Kmart on Glenwood.

Re: Kmart Chef

Posted: 24 Sep 2012 08:59
by pseudo3d
It was from a website called "Pleasant Family Shopping". Kmart Chef was free-standing and not related to the in-store cafeterias. They did not, however, last very long and were shuttered by 1975.

http://pleasantfamilyshopping.blogspot. ... t-gas.html

Re: Kmart Chef

Posted: 28 Apr 2013 21:16
by 47of74
It wasn't Kmart's last foray into restaurant operations. Back in the 80's Kmart purchased the Furr's and Bishops restaurant chains and held on to them until selling them in 1988 to a Lubbock, Texas based group. I started working at a Bishops in 1992. Some of the people I worked with at the time remembered the Kmart days.