It’s the start of a new decade and a lot of restaurant and fast-food chains are closing up shop. Check out this list because your favorite restaurant might be in it.
IHOP was once a superstar store that served America’s staple breakfast—pancakes, oh and waffles, too. It first opened in 1958 and was well-loved by the public until the wave of health consciousness hit the whole country. People made other breakfast choices, healthier ones, those that didn’t involve a stack of fluffy pancakes, crispy bacon strips, and large, oily sausages. With this new food and health trend, IHOP’s sales started to decline so, they did some gimmicks, like changing their name to IHOB. Mainly to promote the newest addition to their menu—burgers. Although it created a buzz on the internet and the media, it still wasn’t enough to pull IHOP from its slow decline, so the company’s projected to close up 30-40 stores by the end of the year.
Looks like TGI Friday’s won’t be feeling so thankful this year…
The all-American restaurant with its signature red and white candy-striped theme has been struggling with its sales for several years. This used-to-be American classic was the go-to place for families, young adults, and teens. It’s the best place for birthday parties and big celebrations because they offer wide locations with festive interiors and average-priced, but savory meals perfect for big groups. But when it first opened its doors to Manhattan’s Upper East Siders in 1965, it wasn’t a casual-dining restaurant, but a singles bar. It was designed to be a place for ladies where they can comfortably have their cocktails and meet men but over time it has evolved into what it is now.
The decline of TGI Friday’s is also due to the changing taste and preferences of Millennials and Gen Zs. They prefer more quick-paced and to-go places that offer 24/7 deliveries. Because of this, a number of TGI Friday’s stores around the country will be calling it a day…
A food court staple, Sbarro’s tagline “Fresh Italian Cooking” can be seen in hundreds of food courts in and out of America, but being popular isn’t enough to maintain and increase revenues. This pizza joint started out in 1956 around the Italian neighborhoods in Brooklyn and has since then grown and ventured onto other cities and states. Their announcement of closing up more shops this 2020 comes as no surprise because, for the last 15 years, Sbarro has closed hundreds of stores nationwide. Observers say that the company’s decline was related to shopping malls going out of style because no one ever stays in malls long enough to eat at a food court anymore and also the constant rise of pizza ingredients’ prices is a big factor. That being said, there’s another well-loved pizza chain that’s going to be cutting some locations soon.
Papa John’s pizza is also part of the list. Over the years, the chain has been very successful and opened up hundreds of franchise stores nationwide and abroad. But its sales have unfortunately declined over the past few years due to a number of factors. One of which is the controversy that surrounded the company’s former CEO, John Schnatter. In 2018, it was revealed that the CEO has apparently used the forbidden N-word during a conference call, which cost him his CEO position. The chain was also notorious for having a bad company culture that’s why it has eventually led to them shutting a number of stores down.
Carrabba’s Italian Grill
Carrabba’s Italian Grill is a family-owned business that started serving Italian dishes to the people of Houston, Texas in 1986. The restaurant skyrocketed to success and eventually partnered with Outback Steakhouse, Inc. which later became Bloomin’ Brands. The Italian grill continued to be successful in the industry and even opened several stores overseas like Brazil. But along its expansion, Bloomin’ Brands also had to shut down several low-earning branches.
McCormick & Schmick’s
McCormick & Schmick’s seafood and steak restaurant has closed almost one-third of its US restaurants. When it was new to the industry, the restaurant was doing well, getting frequent customers and even branching out to other cities, but when they were bought by the same guys who own Bubba Gump Shrimp Company in late 2011, their revenues started to hit an all-time low. Before getting bought off, McCormick & Schmick’s had around 85 restaurants across the country, but now they only have 36 and on the verge of closing more locations down this year. It’s a total bummer for both the company and its patrons especially because some of its most iconic locations are also being shut down.
Steak ‘n Shake
This Indiana-based steak and burger chain that’s best known for its steakburgers, fries, and thick milkshakes is on a store-closing frenzy since late 2017. Why? Well, apparently the company has been struggling with profitability over the last few years. “Since 2017, Steak ‘n Shake has experienced sales declines, which is the primary reason for Steak ‘n Shake’s lower profitability,” the filing said. “To mitigate the sales declines and increase profitability, Steak ‘n Shake is emphasizing its franchise partnership program,” the company released to the press. In 2019 they have closed over 106 of their locations and they plan to close more this 2020.
Who hasn’t had a taste of Chipotle these days? It’s very popular with the younger generation and has taken a spot in one of social media’s most mentioned fast-food chains. It seems like everyone’s crazy about this Mexican grill, but why is it on the list? Well, a complete 180 from what is expected, Chipotle is actually suffering from a large decline in sales. This decline is greatly due to various food safety issues the chain has encountered over the recent years. One of the biggest food safety issues they faced was the foodborne illness outbreak that started in their Ohio restaurant. Nearly 700 people complained about having gastrointestinal problems, nausea, diarrhea, and fever after eating at the Chipotle restaurant. The incident affected the restaurant’s reputation and since then fewer people visit and get their burrito cravings fixed at the Mexican grill.
Boston Market, the chain of quick-service comfort food that saved you from preparing your evening meals at home, is closing 10% of its stores this 2020. Its herbed rotisserie chickens are bidding its faithful customers goodbye. To balance its revenues and expenses, the company will be closing down the least performing stores. This isn’t the first time for Boston Market to be in a little financial bind because, in 1998, the company filed for bankruptcy, but thanks to its friendly fast-food neighbor, Mcdonald’s, they got saved. Today, however, it seems like there is no one else who can save Boston Market.
With over 24,000 Subway stores open across America, last year, more than 1,100 stores were closed and ironically because of more health-conscious customers. The chain that brands itself as a healthy fast-food and has “Eat Fresh” as their campaign wasn’t really able to convince picky customers that they’re serving food good for our bodies.
In the years following its opening, Subway had very little competition as it was one of the first fast-foods that offered healthy and organic items on the menu. But come the 2010s, more and more healthy food chains started sprouting like mushrooms which made it harder for Subway to compete in the market. Despite having to close more than a thousand stores last year and this year, Subway remains to be the only fast-food chain that has the most locations on the planet with more than 42,000 outlets in over 100 countries.
Is the King stepping down?
One of the fast-food industry’s giants, Burger King, also wasn’t able to escape restaurant closures this year. But, closing several of their stores is apparently a move made by the company to close the gap between its biggest competitor and undoubtedly the industry’s most successful fast-food chain, Mickey D’s, McDonald’s! Looks like the King is making some tactical moves to widen his empire. President of Burger King in the Americas, Chris Finazzo, said: “Closing low-volume restaurants creates a virtual cycle of improved profitability.” So even though they haven’t disclosed the final number of stores they will be closing, one thing is for sure: the Whoppers won’t be homeless.
Remember that one time a woman received major backlash on the internet after posting about a cheapskate guy asking her out on a date to Applebee’s? Man, those were the times… The times when Applebee’s still seemed relevant.
This almost 40-year-old Atlanta-based chain that started out as a simple mom-and-pop store in the 1980s has become one of the very successful fast-food chains in the country. They offered a resto grill that had a neighborhood pub feel to it with friendly service and great food at a lower price than the others. Customers, young and old, flocked to the doors of Applebee’s for years, but then came the millennials and the Gen Zs with their more sophisticated tastebuds and need for a faster and easier dining experience. Applebee’s struggled to keep up with the younger audience and since it was no easy feat, it led to our friendly neighborhood grill and bar closing several stores across the country
They strongly believe that “No one outpizzas the Hut” so they’re making this bold move…
With a massive influx of a newer and younger generation, one of the fast-food industry’s senior citizens, Pizza Hut, is making a bold move to bridge the gap between them and their potential customers. How? By keeping up with the needs and times and strengthening their order and delivery system. This move, however, would cost them a lot, but it’s a risk they are willing to take. The company announced that within the next two years, they would be closing around 500 dine-in stores nationwide and soon convert them into express huts which will focus on deliveries and take-outs.
“We are leaning in to accelerate the transition of our Pizza Hut U.S. asset base to truly modern delivery carryout assets. This will ultimately strengthen the Pizza Hut business in the U.S. and set it up for faster long-term growth, ” said David W. Gibbs, president and chief operating and financial officer of Pizza Hut.
Another sub failure in 2020. Just like Subway, Quiznos Sub isn’t doing very well these days. Well, they haven’t been doing very well for many years. In 2007, they had 4,700 locations across the country and a decade after, they lost almost 90% of their stores leaving them with only around 400 stores. Quiznos continue to decline as they still plan to close some more stores this year.
Sales at Red Robin—America’s gourmet burgers & spirits—have been slipping for quite some time now. They struggled with their revenues so much that they had to eliminate their restaurant busboys to lower their expenses. Just like Sbarro, Red Robin also targeted shopping mall food courts in the beginning, but now that the shopping mall craze is over, the company is slowly dying out. Too bad, it seems like the Red Robin won’t be staying up in the air for too long…
There are so many stores closing this 2020, so if you saw any of your favorites on the list, make sure to visit and catch them while you can.