Local restaurant chain gets new name

Jun. 27, 2013 @ 05:23 PM

Residents searching for a meal at Mrs. Winner’s will now be pulling up to Umphy’s instead.
The owner of the Piedmont Restaurant Group franchise, Paul Umphenour, changed the name of the franchise to Umphy’s which is a nickname he picked up in school. According to Michael Umphenour, Paul’s son and operations director, the decision was made after an attorney in California allegedly gained the rights to the Mrs. Winners name.
“We were a franchise of Mrs. Winner’s and we soon became a franchise without a franchisor,” Umphenour said.
Atlanta-based Mrs. Winner’s Chicken & Biscuits filed for bankruptcy last November, claiming to be bogged down by tax and lease issues. According to the bankruptcy filing, the company owed the Georgia Department of Revenue $1.3 million in sales tax and the Internal Revenue Service $2.1 million in payroll taxes.
Umphenour said that the attorney for Winner’s Corp. allegedly gained control of the name through bankruptcy proceedings. At that point, Piedmont Restaurant Group decided to change the name and venture out on its own.
“We still have great people and we still have great food,”  Umphenour said.
The Piedmont Restaurant Group owns seven locations in the Triad, including the stores on N. Main Street and S. Main Street in High Point and W. Main Street in Jamestown. They also own the restaurants on Battleground Avenue, Randleman Road, and Summit Avenue in Greensboro. The other store is in Kernersville.
“As of today (Thursday), they all have been converted. There aren’t anymore Mrs. Winner’s,” Umphenour said.
Customer’s can find the same menu with a little twist, according to Umphenour.
“We have made minimal changes. We have taken some pre-made ingredients, such as spices, that were packaged for Mrs. Winner’s, and had to have a different recipe made,” Umphenour said. “We have been in the stores and we have been talking to the customers to see what they think and so far we have gotten nothing but good responses.”
The local company has been in business since 1991, and Umphenour is banking on their community impact to help people recognize the name.
“There is a going to be a number of people that when they see Umphy’s they will identify with who we are,” he said. “We stay involved with schools, baseball teams, and churches, so this is a positive thing.”
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