Luby's, Inc. (formerly Luby's Cafeterias, Inc. and NYSE: LUB) operates restaurants under the brands Luby's, Fuddruckers, Koo Koo Roo, and Cheeseburger in Paradise. It was founded in 1947 in San Antonio, Texas, United States by Robert Luby (1910-1998).
Its 95 Luby's cafeteria-style restaurants are located in Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, the Rio Grande Valley, El Paso, and other cities throughout Texas; with one in Mississippi, and two in Oklahoma. Its headquarters is in the Near Northwest district of Houston, Texas.
Its Fuddruckers restaurants include 56 company-operated restaurants and 129 franchises across the United States with one in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, five in Puerto Rico, and one each in Villahermosa, Tabasco and Santo Domingo. Luby's Culinary Services provides contract food service management to eighteen healthcare, higher education, and corporate dining locations, such as Texas Children's Hospital, Lone Star College, and formerly, Baylor College of Medicine, which ended its relationship with Luby's in March 2015.
Bob Luby was one year old when his father, Harry, opened his first cafeteria called the New England Dairy Lunch. Bob opened his first Luby's Cafeteria in 1947, focusing on fresh food and customer service. Luby's soon expanded outside of San Antonio, Texas to Tyler, Harlingen, El Paso, and Beaumont.
In 1959, the original partners formed Cafeterias, Inc. Luby's continued to expand, entering other Texas cities and locations in contiguous states. Luby's entered Houston for the first time when it opened Romana Cafeteria in 1965. Locations opened in New Mexico in 1966 and in Oklahoma in 1980.
In 1973, Cafeterias, Inc. became a publicly traded company. To honor Bob Luby, Cafeterias, Inc., was renamed Luby's Cafeterias, Inc., in 1981. One year later, Luby's shares were listed on the New York Stock Exchange. By 1987 Luby's had reached 100 locations.
In 2001, Chris and Harris Pappas of Houston's Pappas Restaurants (owners of Pappasito's Cantina, Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen, etc.) joined the Luby's management team. Three years later, Luby's moved its corporate headquarters from San Antonio to Houston. The addition of the Pappas management team saw several Luby's restaurants begin to transition from traditional cafeteria-style establishments to hybrid cafeteria/fine dining.
Luby’s celebrated its 60th anniversary in December 2006 with publishing “Luby’s Recipes & Memories: A Collection of our Favorite Dishes and Heartwarming Stories". In 2008, Luby’s published a special edition of the cookbook that included 12 additional recipes.
In 2009, due to the economic recession, Luby's closed 25 stores and laid off staff as a cost-cutting measure.
In 2010 Luby's Culinary Services introduced "What's Brewing?", a coffeehouse concept store in Downtown Houston.
The same year, on June 18, Luby's announced it was buying Fuddruckers and Koo Koo Roo for $61 million after parent company Magic Brands LLC went bankrupt. On June 13, 2011, Luby’s opened its first company-owned Fuddruckers restaurant in downtown Houston’s seven-mile (11 km) tunnel system.
In 2013, Luby's acquired Cheeseburger in Paradise.
Luby's has its headquarters in Suite 600 of the 13111 Northwest Freeway building in the Near Northwest district and in Houston, Texas.
In July 2004, Luby's announced that it would move its headquarters from San Antonio to Houston, where Pappas Restaurants has its headquarters. At that time Luby's did not yet state to where it would be moving; the company stated that it would most likely move to a suburb in Greater Houston. 80 jobs were transferred to Houston.
The "Lu Ann Platter", a popular combination platter served at Luby's, is a half portion main dish with vegetables. This plate was the inspiration for the character name Luanne Platter from the animated Texas comedy/drama, King of the Hill. The cafeteria itself is characterized as "Luly's" on the show. In a 2010 promotion, Luby's had a "Luann" model visit stores.
A deadly mass shooting occurred at a Luby's restaurant at 1705 East Central Texas Expressway in Killeen, Texas, on October 16, 1991, when George Hennard gunned down 24 people before committing suicide. This location reopened after cleanup and redesign of the front wall; it closed permanently on September 9, 2000. A Chinese-American buffet restaurant now occupies the former location.