Founded in 1950 in Salt Lake City, Utah, Arctic Circle Restaurants, Inc. is a chain of fast food restaurants with 83 outlets in 8 western states, serving burgers, sandwiches, fries, ice cream products, and other fast-food fare. Arctic Circle was the first fast food chain to offer kids' meals. Recently Arctic Circle restaurants began serving Black Angus burgers exclusively, in a marketing move designed to associate Arctic Circle with a higher level of quality than had previously been associated with the Utah-based chain.
The roots of Arctic Circle go back to 1924, when Don Carlos Edwards of Logan, Utah opened a refreshment stand to serve patrons of a local Pioneer Day celebration. The family business grew slowly but steadily and in 1950 the Edwards family opened its first Arctic Circle restaurant in Salt Lake City. Don J. Edwards, son of Don Carlos and founder of the AC chain, franchised both the Arctic Circle name and its products, notably the french fry sauce, dipped ice cream cones and Lime Squeezes. Edwards also manufactured the equipment installed in the restaurants.
In the late 1970's, Arctic Circle opened the Minit-Lube chain of lube and oil service franchises. Fast growth in this area of fast service attracted the attention of oil industry giant Quaker State Oil, which purchases Arctic Circle Restaurants in 1985. A few years later two former officers and shareholders formed a partnership with restaurant management to purchase back the fast food arm of Arctic Circle. Subsequent restaurant growth was focused in the Utah and Idaho area.
In 1997 the company’s re-directed its marketing focus to target children, adding 750 to 1,000 square foot, two story, indoor Kids PlayZones. In a market with more children per-capita than any other in the nation, this was successful move, resulting in dramatic sales increases in stores with the new PlayZones. In its 26 company-owned stores (the remainder being franchises), Arctic Circle is updating its interiors and kitchens, aimed at improving the customer experience and turnaround time.
Although it does not have the high profile of McDonald's or Burger King, Arctic Circle nonetheless is focused on community involvement. As part of its community activities, Arctic Circle:
- has raised money for the Utah March of Dimes
- is a sponsor for the Utah Winter Games
- co-sponsors a program honoring charitable individuals, inspired by the CBS television show "Touched by an Angel"
- partners with local PTAs, providing ice-cream treats for school events
- sponsors Utah Special Olympics Camp in conjunction with the Nike Utah Golf Tour<
- co-sponsors the Junior Jazz summer recreational basketball program in conjunction with the Utah Jazz, an NBA basketball team
We had an Arctic Circle in my hometown when I was growing up, but it is there no longer. We used to call it "Acey Greasey" and "Arsenic Circle". It wasn't as good as the Dairy Queen.
Source: Arctic Circle Restaurants, Inc., www.arcticcirclerest.com