Victor Jules Bergeron Jr. was the founder of a chain of Polynesian-themed restaurants that bore his nickname, Trader Vic.
Born in 1902, Bergeron attended Heald College in San Francisco, California. Starting with $700 in 1932, Bergeron opened a small bar/restaurant across from his parent's grocery store in Oakland, California, named Hinky Dink's. As its popularity spread, the menu and decor developed an increasingly tropical flair following the success of Don the Beachcomber. Hinky Dink's soon became Trader Vic's. The empire of restaurants is credited as one of the first successful themed chains, which many others followed.
During the Tiki culture fad of the 1950s and 1960s, as many as 25 Trader Vic's restaurants were in operation around the world, all featuring the popular mix of Polynesian artifacts, unique cocktails and exotic cuisine. Bergeron died in 1984.
In the 1980s and 1990s the empire began to shrink as a new generation of people had little or no connection to restaurants tiki theme. While many of the original locations have since closed, Trader Vic's is experiencing an explosive resurgence as a new generation discovers the strong drinks and unique tiki atmosphere. As a result, several new Trader Vic's are being planned.