Restaurant Chains That May Be Closing Down
The world is starting to feel normal again, but that's not necessarily the case for restaurants. In fact, fourteen percent of all restaurants have closed their doors as a result of COVID-19 with very few remaining unscathed. Many restaurants are still feeling the effect of COVID-19 and are still struggling to recover from paying back debts, lost profits, and staff shortages. Many of us find chain restaurants comforting because they are convenient and familiar. Sadly, many chain restaurants have already closed down, and several are expected to close in the coming months.
Pizza Inn was founded in 1958 in Dallas and is mostly found in the Southern half of the United States. They offer pizzas, garlic bread, spaghetti, and strombolis. Unfortunately, the restaurant was struck hard by the pandemic, with their financial problems worsening.
They had problems even before the pandemic, and at that time, the chain operated one hundred and fifty-five Pizza Inns in the United States and forty-eight international locations. Many locations have already closed, and the rest could all close in the near future.
Pie Five is a different kind of pizza restaurant where customers pick out their toppings at the counter and then watch as their pizzas are loaded and placed in an oven. Pie Five is actually owned by the same company as Pizza Inn, and both have been struggling for years.
At the end of 2021, there were only thirty-one locations still open, and ten more have closed so far in 2022. The chain's demise is a result of poor marketing and stiff competition, and it is likely that the remaining restaurants will be closing in the near future.
The Lost Cajun
The Lost Cajun restaurant serves all of the Southern favorites such as gumbo, po-boys, catfish, red beans, and rice. The chain was originally started in Frisco, Colorado, by Louisiana native Raymond Griffin.
It started as a tiny place with a menu of only four items but eventually grew to twenty-four locations. Even though they saw success early on, later, they were forced to file for bankruptcy. Unless things improve drastically, the restaurant chain will disappear.
Meatheads Burgers & Fries
Meatheads Burgers & Fries is a Chicago-based chain that operates in thirteen locations. They are a fast-casual concept with a menu of made-to-order burgers, hot dogs, French fries, salads, and sandwiches.
The restaurant was already in debt when the pandemic first began, and even more so after. In total, they owe creditors more than eight million dollars. It has been said that the restaurant chain will fizzle out by the end of the year.
Pizza Hut has been struggling to keep up with the competition and changing customer preferences. In 2020, they closed three hundred locations, and even though more than nine hundred locations remain, they might not be for long.
"Throughout 2021, Pizza Hut had continued to see some of its strongest earnings in the past ten years due to continued menu innovation like the Detroit-style launch, redefining value with offerings like the Big Dinner Box, and leaning into classic menu items like the iconic Stuffed Crust Pizza." ----PR. With that being said, it's not looking good for the future of Pizza Hut.
Dave & Busters
Dave & Busters closed several of its locations due to Covid-19. The company faced a drop in same-store sales of seventy-five percent and laid off thirteen hundred employees.
However, things did start to look up for the restaurant chain during 2021, but with the future course of the pandemic still uncertain, Dave & Buster's just might not survive.
Chuck E. Cheese
Chuck E. Cheese has been a popular children's entertainment venue for some time, but in 2020, it had to file for bankruptcy. During the pandemic, thirty-five locations closed permanently, and the chain tried to adjust by offering pizzas and other carry-out-friendly foods for curbside pickup.
However, it seems like the fun might be coming to an end, which means that future generations of children will grow up not knowing what it is like to have their birthday at Chuck E. Cheese.
Buffet restaurants are starting to become a thing of the past, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic. Golden Corral, an all-you-can-eat American buffet, first opened in 1973 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. It actually started as a steakhouse but converted to a buffet style in the mid-1980s.
In 2019, the chain had five hundred locations, but today they are down to less than four hundred. Some locations continue to hold on, but the franchise is on a downward spiral.
IHOP stands for International House of Pancakes and is a well-known pancake restaurant. However, in 2020, they announced that they would be closing one hundred locations across the United States.
Later, IHOP was down to forty-nine locations and filed for bankruptcy. Things started to look up for the chain, but because of labor shortages, it might not be able to make a comeback.
Applebee's is another restaurant that has faced challenges in the wake of Covid-19. The chain had to shut down thirty-five restaurants permanently but has been facing problems for years.
Applebee's rebranded, but it ended up alienating families that they once catered to. Like other restaurants, sales started to recover in 2021, but in terms of them making a full recovery, it is not looking good.
Ruby Tuesday was also hit hard by the pandemic, but it had been trending downward for years. The chain had almost eight hundred and fifty locations ten years ago, but by 2017, only half remained. Today, only a couple hundred locations remain with more closing recently and the rest looking bleak.
All of this led to the company filing for bankruptcy. "I don't think it goes back to 100 percent in the near term. The ability to pay rent at full capacity remains very doubtful."-----Manager.
Denny's has been a popular restaurant for years, especially for breakfast. The chain has closed many locations and has had trouble fully staffing all of the shifts. Before Covid-19, the restaurant was actually doing very well, so it's sad to see what has happened since.
"Due to the severe financial environment caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, our franchisee in this area has regrettably decided to close these locations. Denny's has been working with its franchise owners to assist in helping them through this crisis, but the final decision to close is in the hands of each franchise business owner and their particular circumstances." -----Denny's Representative.
Potbelly is a restaurant chain that is known for its submarine sandwiches and milkshakes and was founded in 1977 in Chicago. The chain recently announced that it was permanently closing one hundred locations.
Because many of the locations are within cities, where rent is much higher, Potbelly has accumulated more than two hundred million dollars in owed lease payments. As a result, the chain will be forced into bankruptcy, which will likely mean the end for many of its restaurants.
Subway has been struggling for years, and after more than five decades in operation, it might be nearing its end. Ever since 2017, Subway has been losing stores each year, and so far, about thirteen percent of the stores have closed. The chain has suffered from many issues, including a poor business model.
They were dead set on opening as many restaurants as possible, but they opened too many, causing shops in the same area to eat away at each other's profits. It will not happen overnight because there are many stores still open, but they're on a downward trend.
Fuddruckers opened in 1979 and was given the title of 'world's greatest hamburgers.' The chain is owned by Luby's Inc., and it recently announced it was liquidating and dissolving the company.
All of the locations and assets were sold, and the company's most recent financial statement lists just thirty-one restaurants. It is very unlikely that any Fuddruckers restaurants will remain open much longer.
Red Lobster is a well-known seafood restaurant but has been in major trouble for a very long time. At one point, they closed more than seven hundred restaurants. The CEO admitted that the chain is going through the "most challenging time" in its fifty-two-year history.
In 2021, the chain's three hundred and fifty-five-million-dollar loan will come due, and that will be a tall order. The chain had its credit rating downgraded earlier this year, placing it in the "poor quality and high credit risk" category.
TGI Fridays had announced before the pandemic that they would be closing dozens of locations. Then, during the pandemic, the company made it clear that about twenty percent of its locations would close permanently.
"Some will close forever, without a doubt. Right now, it's all triage, and it's all about cash: How are you going to make it through and keep the company solvent?"----- Ray Blanchette. The chain was supposed to merge, which might have saved it, but it was canceled.
It is hard to believe that Starbucks would be struggling, but in 2019, one hundred and fifty stores were closed. Then, in 2020, Starbucks announced it would shut down another four hundred stores.
"As we navigate through the Covid-19 crisis, we are accelerating our store transformation plans to address the realities of the current situation while still providing a safe, familiar, and convenient experience for our customers." ----- CEO Kevin Johnson. It is unknown if Starbucks will survive, but one thing is for sure, there are much fewer stores left.
Burger King was founded in 1953 in Florida and was originally called 'Insta-Burger King.' The chain is known as the home of the Whopper, but unfortunately, at least one hundred restaurants have been closed every year, with two hundred and fifty closing in 2019.
The chain was hoping to incorporate technology such as self-order kiosks and digital menu boards at the drive-thru. It's not likely that all of the Burger Kings will be closed, but many already have.
Boston Market was founded in 1985 in Newton, Massachusetts, and in 2000, the company was purchased by McDonald's. Many of the Boston Market restaurants have closed, and there aren't any left in Boston.
Frances Allen, the CEO, stated that the closing was due to increased competition, rising costs of goods and labor, and shifting consumer preferences. They have struggled for a while, including filing for bankruptcy in 1998.
Perkins was founded in the late 1950s by a couple of former Alaska gold prospectors in Cincinnati. They originally called it Perkins Pancake House, and customers definitely raved about the restaurant's buttermilk pancakes.
However, by the 2010s, the chain was facing financial trouble and filed for bankruptcy in 2011 and again in 2019. They have endured several rounds of closures, and it looks like those closures will continue.
The real Marie Callender started out making dessert pies in her modest Orange County, California home in the 1940s. By the 1950s, she was baking up to two hundred pies a day for all of the restaurants in the area. Then they decided to open their own restaurant, and it was first owned by the Perkins pancake restaurant company.
They have since gotten a new owner, but the number of locations remaining has dwindled to less than thirty. At least her pies and meals can still be found in the frozen section of the grocery store.
Red Robin is a restaurant that was founded in 1969 in Seattle, Washington. In 2019 and 2020, they closed ten restaurants down because of hard times at U.S. shopping malls.
They were hoping that shutting down some money-losing restaurants would help others succeed. However, customer numbers and sales have been declining at Red Robin, and as a result, not all of the locations have survived.
Taco Bell was founded by Glen Bell in 1962 in Irvine, California, and is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc. The chain has closed more than a half-dozen locations. Although there are many locations still open, none are safe.
Taco Bell is investing more in international expansion and has even experimented with a Taco Bell pop-up hotel in Palm Springs, California. The fate of the remaining locations will depend on their success in the near future.
Carrabba's Italian Grill
Carrabba's Italian Grill was founded back in 1986 in Texas. The chain is owned by Bloomin' Brands and is a family-style Italian restaurant. It became a huge success and soon had locations all over the country and international locations.
However, customers have lost interest in the restaurant, and several locations have been closed; in 2020, the chain planned to close forty-three more locations. It is unlikely that Carrabba's will be around much longer.
Sbarro is a pizzeria chain best known for its New York-style pizza that they sell by the slice. The chain was founded in 1956 in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York. The chain was very successful for a while but has declined over time.
The reasons why the chain is disappearing are due to their locations primarily being in shopping malls, which are dying out, the quality of its pizza, and millions of dollars in debt. Sbarro has closed hundreds of its stores in the last fifteen years, which includes its historic Times Square location.
Krystal is a restaurant chain that is mainly found in the south and serves a menu similar to White Castle. The chain has been struggling financially, and in 2020, it filed for bankruptcy because it owed between fifty and one hundred million dollars.
There are still locations in Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Kentucky. The company was hoping that the bankruptcy would help, but it's not looking good.
Houlihan's is a restaurant and bar that is based in Kansas and was originally named Houlihan's Old Place. It has been a popular happy hour spot over the years, but it has been on a major decline as it hasn't attracted new customers.
The company that owns Houlihan's filed for bankruptcy after acquiring fifty million dollars in debt. Houlihan's has only forty-seven locations left, and its future looks bleak.
Hooters has been around for many years, and it has always received criticism. The restaurant is known for its uniform of tight shirts and shorts for servers. In addition, its hiring practices have been based on appearance, which has been highly offensive to consumers.
The chain has closed many locations and has lost millions of dollars in revenue. In order to change their situation, they opened 'fully clothed' locations called Hoots. The men and women both wear khakis and regular shirts, and the menu is mostly the same. But, it is unlikely that this will help the chain stay afloat.
Bar Louie has been around for more than thirty years and is known for its bar food with a twist. They serve bourbon BBQ pork pineapple flatbreads and nacho-crunch craft burgers.
However, the chain fell victim to bankruptcy and permanently shut down thirty-nine locations. It seems that they expanded too quickly, which lost them a lot of money. They have managed to keep ninety locations open so far, but their future is unknown.
Papa John's serves handcrafted specialty pizza options such as The Meats, Zesty Italian Trio, Super Hawaiian, and BBW Chicken & Bacon. However, the quality of their pizza leaves a lot to be desired, with the founder of the company stating he doesn't like their pizza. They have been struggling for years, but even more so now after receiving heavy criticism after a U.S. franchise operator in Russia refused to close one hundred and ninety stores.
"The best thing I can do as an individual is show compassion for the people, my employees, franchisees, and customers without judging them because of the politicians in power. The vast majority of Russian people are very clearheaded and understand the dark gravity of the situation they're in. And at the end of the day, they appreciate a good pizza." ---- Wynne.
Ponderosa Steakhouse is owned by the Homestyle Dining Company and was first founded in 1971 with three hundred locations by 2016. They serve steaks, seafood, and chicken entrees, along with the buffet.
However, like other buffet-style restaurants, Ponderosa is declining in popularity. In addition, closures are imminent around the United States and Canada.
Steak 'n Shake
Steak 'n Shake is known for its steakburgers and milkshakes and has been around for almost a century, but their days are numbered.
The chain's problems began before the pandemic and more than seventy locations have been closed down. The company has almost one hundred and sixty million dollars in loans. The chain has been trying to find ways to improve its finances, but it is likely all coming to an end.
Noodles & Company
Noodles & Company is an American restaurant chain that serves noodle dishes, soups, and salads. It was originally founded in 1995 by Aaron Kennedy in Broomfield, Colorado. They have been facing financial hardship for quite some time now.
They have permanently closed several locations, and even though they have tried to fight the losses by introducing new menu items, it hasn't really helped. The future of Noodles & Company is uncertain, but it is not looking great.
Old Country Buffet
Old Country Buffet was founded in 1983 and was instantly popular with consumers. Buffet-style restaurants were very popular in the 1980s and 1990s, and Old Country Buffet was loved because of its reasonable prices and large portions.
The chain had more than seven hundred locations at one time, but it has since gone through three bankruptcies. They have closed more than four hundred locations, and today, there are only seventeen still operating.
The Cheesecake Factory
The Cheesecake Factory is a restaurant chain that was founded in 1972 in Los Angeles. It is one of the most popular restaurants and is mostly known for its cakes and cheesecakes.
However, at least ten percent of the restaurant's locations have been forced to close, with more likely closing in the future. It is very unlikely that the whole chain will close, as The Cheesecake Factory Inc, is actually the parent company of many other restaurants.
Qdoba is a Mexican restaurant chain that first opened in Denver, Colorado, and was originally called Zuma Fresh Mexican Grill. The chain is known for its burritos, quesadillas, and Mexican bowls. The chain initially did very well, but its sales have been dropping and it had to close many locations.
Tim Casey, the president of Qdoba, stated that "By closing these locations and optimizing our company footprint, we can be more effective in focusing our advertising and marketing resources to support existing and planned restaurants in our core markets where we have high levels of brand awareness. We also expect to provide an even better dining experience for our guests as our operations team concentrates its efforts on supporting these markets."
Buffalo Wild Wings
Buffalo Wild Wings was founded in 1982 by two friends that couldn't find anywhere to get some Buffalo-style chicken wings. The restaurant chain was successful and is one of the most popular sports bars in the United States.
However, the chain recently increased its menu prices by ten percent in order to cover the rising costs of food and labor. As a result, many locations have seen a dramatic decrease in business and the future of the restaurant is uncertain.
Jack In The Box
Jack in the Box has never been as popular as Burger King, Wendy's, or McDonald's, but they were still very successful. They had twenty-two thousand locations at one time, but over the last several years, many of their locations have been operating at a loss and will be forced to close.
The restaurant chain just can't keep up with its competition. Franchisees wanted the CEO to be replaced, but it didn't happen, and they filed a lawsuit. As a result, the fast food chain is on borrowed time.
Roy Rogers is a restaurant chain located in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States and was founded in 1968. The menu consists of hamburgers, fried chicken, roast beef sandwiches, and many side items.
At one point, the chain had more than six hundred locations, but today, there are less than fifty that remain open. A good amount of the restaurants that remain were rebranded or sold off. Many locations have closed, and many more will close in the near future.
O'Charley's was founded in 1971 in Nashville, Tennessee, and has been quietly closing down some locations. The restaurants are located in southern and midwestern states. They have closed a good amount of locations thus far as they have been struggling with declining sales.
Consumers are growing bored with generic bar and grill chain restaurants. "A lot of these concepts have been around a long time. They really need to update. It's a segment of the industry that needs to have some new strategies." ----- Restaurant President.
Quiznos is a sandwich shop that has always been overshadowed by the popular Subway. The chain's locations have been steadily closing in the last few years as they have dwindled from forty-seven hundred to fifteen hundred.
Quiznos filed for bankruptcy and tried to rebrand in an attempt to attract new customers. However, that didn't work as more locations were closed and now there are less than eight hundred restaurants still open.
Luby's Restaurants was founded in 1947 in San Antonio, Texas. It is a cafeteria-style restaurant chain that has been struggling for some time now. They have been in a slump and have permanently closed several locations.
In addition, Luby's owns Fuddruckers and Cheeseburger in Paradise, which have also been closing several locations. The CEO stated, "We are not pleased with our shareholder value, same-store sales, guest traffic results, or corporate overhead."
McCormick & Schmick's
McCormick & Schmick's is an upscale restaurant chain that is known for its seafood and steaks and was founded in 1979 by Bill McCormick and Doug Schmick. The chain has been slowly fading away, with only thirty-two locations remaining.
The chain has closed more than one-third of its locations and has gone out of business in Denver, St. Louis, and Rhode Island. Sadly, it doesn't look like M&S will be around much longer.
Chipotle first opened in 1993 and was an instant hit with consumers. However, the restaurant chain has been struggling for a while and has found itself in a challenging situation due to rising health concerns. The chain's sales have dropped dramatically, as they have a notorious reputation for making people sick.
They have tried catering to unique diets, but it hasn't increased their sales. The company was recently hit with a child labor violation at one of its locations as well. It is likely that they will need to continue closing stores down and will most likely be completely gone in the near future.
Carl's Jr. first opened as a drive-in barbeque restaurant in 1945 by Carl Karcher and soon after, hamburgers were added to the menu. The chain also includes Hardees, which is the midwest/east coast version.
There were hundreds of locations worldwide, but they struggled to keep up with their competitors. They just aren't as popular as Burger King, Wendy's, or McDonald's. They have been declining and seeing many closures recently, and many more are likely to come.
Kona Grill first opened in 1998 as an upscale restaurant based in Denver, Colorado. They serve American cuisine, sushi, and cocktails and have been successful for several years. However, Kona Grill filed for bankruptcy in 2019 and closed several locations in Texas, Arizona, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and Virginia.
It is said that the leadership was overambitious with expansion plans, and then they cut back on management, support staff, culinary innovation, and employee training. All of this had a negative impact on customers, and sales have continued to decline. The future of the restaurant chain is unknown.
Eat'n Park is a favorite in Pennsylvania but isn't known very well outside of that area. They are known for the smiley face cookie and the motto, "the place for smiles."
At one point, the chain consisted of seventy-five restaurants but has since decreased to fifty-nine locations. Even though the restaurant is popular, there just isn't enough demand for the chain to keep its doors open.
Sonic has been known as "America's favorite drive-in" since it first opened in 1953 and is also the parent company of Arby's and Buffalo Wild Wings. They have also been known for using carhops on roller skates and serving the Chili Cheese Coney, Sonic Cheeseburger Combo, Sonic Blasts, and shakes.
However, they haven't been doing well lately and have had to close several locations. They are trying to rebrand and improve their food, but it's uncertain if that will be enough to save the chain.