Perkins History


Ever since Perkins® started as a simple pancake house, there’s always been a drive to provide truly delicious plates and exceptional service. The menu has changed to keep our guest’s taste buds guessing, but our dedication to provide the best possible experience has not. Take a quick walk down memory lane with us.


Matt and Ivan Perkins open their first Perkins Pancake House in Cincinatti, Ohio. They introduce a secret buttermilk pancake recipe. Their delicious product offering, coupled with a personalized approach to service, quickly gains them a reputation for having the best pancakes in town!


Matt and Ivan realize the growth potential for their concept and expand through franchising. Product development includes the introduction of sandwiches and entrees.


Minnesota Franchisee, Wyman Nelson, promotes his newly expanded menu with an aggressive advertising campaign. He develops a growing interest in expanding the brand to other parts of the country.


Nelson garners national attention for the brand by consolidating Smitty’s and Perkins, taking control and renaming it Perkins ‘Cake & Steak,’ Inc. In a quest to grow rapidly, Nelson focuses on opening over 220 Perkins Cake & Steak House restaurants.


Matt and Ivan Perkins decide to retire and sell their final interest in the company. In August 1979, Perkins becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of Memphis-based Holidays Inns, Inc. Corporate headquarters are established in Memphis, TN.


Seasoned restaurant entrepreneur Donald N. Smith purchases ownership interest in Perkins, becoming Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of the company.


Smith introduces innovation in the form of remodels and in-store bakeries. New omelettes are introduced along with melt sandwiches and salads.


The Company is renamed Perkins Family Restaurants and organized into a master limited partnership with interests publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange.


Perkins celebrates its first international restaurant in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada.


Perkins begins a philanthropic relationship with Give Kids The World, contributing both money and free meals to the Florida based charity.


The Company operates or franchises 494 full-service restaurants in 34 states and five Canadian provinces.


Perkins Restaurant & Bakery acquired Marie Callender’s.


Business transformation began with the hire of Jeff Warne as CEO.


Commenced a Store wide Remodel program to be completed December 2018.

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