Originally Posted by Roy Tucker
Again, Wiki knows all...
The chain was founded by Ruth Fertel, a single mother of two, in 1965, after she bought the existing Chris Steak House in New Orleans. In buying the restaurant, Fertel had to agree that the restaurant keep the "Chris" name for a specified period of time. After the original location sustained a kitchen fire, she relocated the restaurant about 1/2 mile (1 km) to the west on Broad Street and renamed the rebuilt establishment "Ruth's Chris" (under her purchase agreement, the name Chris Steak House could not be used at any other location, and she did not want to lose customers already familiar with the Chris name).
Fertel started to franchise the restaurant in the 1970s. By the time Fertel was legally allowed to take Chris out of the name, the chain (and its unique name) had become famous in many places across the country, and she therefore decided to keep the name.
I don't mean to be contrarian but I've got two issues with Wiki here:
1) Wouldn't the original name have been Chris' (as opposed to just Chris) Steakhouse with Chris being in the possessive? It's like saying Fred Diner or Macy Department Store. We again arrive at the question as to whether "Chris" is a kind of steak. If this is just an issue of Bayou illiteracy, they need to get some learnin'.
2) I have never heard of a selling party insisting that the buyer keep
a name. I've heard of a seller insisting that a name not be used, as the seller might use it in business at another time, or to protect reputation, etc.. But why would a party who has no interest in a business care what name another owner uses?