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Hobee's has been an award-winning, Bay Area favorite for fresh, healthful fare since 1974, when the first restaurant opened in Mountain View, California. Today, Hobee's is an award-winning phenomenon boasting nine popular locations throughout northern and central California: Stanford, Palo Alto, Mountain View, Redwood Shores, Campbell, Sunnyvale, Cupertino and North San Jose.
The first Hobee's Restaurant was founded in 1974 by Paul Taber and his family in Mountain View, California. The Tabers set out to create a community-minded family restaurant which featured freshly prepared food and outstanding customer service. Paul attached the made-up name "Hobee's" to the restaurant because it evoked a fun, friendly image. The moniker also fit well with "Hamburger Haven", which followed "Hobee's" in the orginal name, but was discarded years later as the company began to emphasize more healthful fare.
Those first few years were challenging. The tiny Mountain View eatery (no seating in those days!) consistently lost money, severely testing the Tabers' resolve. At one critical juncture early on, the family van was sold in order to make payroll. As the healthy eating craze of the mid 1970's took hold, however, Hobee's name recognition began to steadily grow. Favorable word of mouth and several rave reviews in local papers prompted an increasing number of diners to sample Paul's exquisite breakfast and lunch offerings. Buzz around town also centered on Paul's "people first" philosophy of service; his genuine, caring attitude toward the customers was a refreshing change to those accustomed to the disinterested service offered by other coffee shops. Not surprisingly, Mountain View's ascendance also corresponded with the introduction of the now-famous concoction craved by fans from around the globe: piping hot, streussel-topped, Hobeemade blueberry coffeecake.
The ultimate success of Hobee's Mountain View prompted the Tabers to open a Sunnyvale location in 1976. That first Sunnyvale location was sacrificed by the Tabers when the opportunity to open Hobee's Palo Alto - a superior location - arose. The family opened two more locations within the next decade: Stanford (1984) and San Jose (1986).
By the mid 1980's, Hobee's had become enormously popular among Peninsula/South Bay diners. The four Taber-owned locations began to reap several important awards, including a slew of "Best Breakfast" citations from local newspapers. Booming business sparked the decision to franchise the Hobee's concept. Franchising gave the Tabers the opportunity to work with others who shared the Hobee's philosophy of caring and excellence. Among the locations opened during that era was the sole franchise to survive: Cupertino (1986). That site continues to thrive today as the chain's highest grossing unit.
By 1990, Hobee's had firmly established itself as one of the leading restaurant chains in California. Expansion, however, was slowed by a sluggish state economy. This respite from growth, however, provided a prime opportunity for Paul Taber's son, Peter, to come into his own as the chain's dynamic young leader. Peter implemented several innovative systems and procedures which improved customer and employee satisfaction. Peter's achievements at Hobee's and in the community at large led Congresswoman Anna Eshoo to nominate him for U.S. Small Businessperson of the Year in 1993.
In 1994, the Tabers once again caught the expansion bug when a "can't pass" proposal was made for a second San Jose location off Montague Expressway. The line-out-the-door opening proved that Hobee's, even after two decades, was still reaching new markets. In 1996, after a two decade hiatus, the family made a triumphant return to Sunnyvale with yet another hit restaurant.
In the fall of 1997, the Tabers opened a Hobee's in Belmont / Redwood Shores. That restaurant marks the first family-owned site to be located in San Mateo County. The populous area, which boasts a healthy mix of business and residential occupants, proved to be an ideal setting for a Hobee's.
With the summer 1998 announcement that Town and Country Village in San Jose would be demolished, the Tabers launched a search for a nearby replacement location. In 1999, a deal was struck to place Hobee's in the thriving Pruneyard Shopping Center in Campbell. The spacious restaurant drew immediate crowds upon opening in March of that year. Hobee's San Jose closed the following spring and its passing was mourned by the many regulars who appreciated its funky charm.
In today's health-conscious society, Hobee's is more popular than ever! While the chain looks forward to continued expansion, don't expect a national roll-out anytime soon. Peter Taber and Company insist that growth will not come at the expense of customer satisfaction and superior quality.