20 Famous Restaurant Chains That Might Not Survive 2021

Tons of restaurants are struggling to stay afloat during this tough time, and many big-name chains such as Sbarro, Applebee’s, and Chipotle won’t make it through the year. Which of your favorite restaurants do you have to say goodbye to? Just check out this list.

1. Bar Louie

In this last year, Bar Louie has been shutting down stores like crazy across the country because the chain had been losing money after a quick expansion. With over $100 million in debt, the restaurant filed for bankruptcy and scrapped many stores that it had planned to open.

2. Sbarro

Sbarro has been one of the most popular pizza places over the past 20 years in America. Sadly, all good things have to come to an end. People stopped going to the pizza chain after its quality decreased. Last year, the company closed over 200 stores, including its historic Times Square location.

3. Applebee’s

Applebee’s has been on the decline for a while. Though it tried to change its menu to attract new customers, people, particularly millennials, don’t seem to want to eat reheated food anymore. In the last two years, the restaurant has shut down over 120 locations, and more stores will be closed in the coming year.

4. Hooters

Hooters was for a long time known as one of the biggest “breastraunts” in the industry. However, millennials don’t seem to dig the atmosphere. Therefore, the chain is closing more and more of its stores. Hooters tried to cater to the new demographic by opening fully-clothed stores called Hoots, but it appears not to have worked.

5. Boston Market

Boston Market had over 1,100 locations in the ’90s, but now it has less than 400, and the number is still decreasing. The restaurant has even struggled with bankruptcy. That’s mainly because the chain hasn’t updated its stores and menu, so it lost the younger customers.

6. Carrabba’s Italian Grill

Carrabba’s Italian Grill is a subsidiary of Bloomin’ Brands that has been struggling lately. The restaurant chain is still on the downswing although things appear to be picking up for its parent company. Due to poor sales, the restaurant has closed more and more locations. It’s clearly not expected to last much longer.

7. Golden Corral

Golden Corral had tons of locations 10 years ago, but nowadays, buffets are falling out of favor, and Golden Corral has seen a continuous decline in sales. To attract younger customers, the restaurant closed many locations and has also tried to remodel its remaining stores, but it seemingly hasn’t worked.

8. Jack in the Box

There are tons of fast food burger chains such as McDonald’s, Burger King, and Hardees. Jack in the Box is another one of them, but it’s on borrowed time now. In 2008, the restaurant began looking for financial help as it had been struggling, and its internal conflicts made things even worse.

9. Chipotle

Chipotle gained a notorious reputation for lots of people getting sick after eating at the restaurant. The company tried to update its menu to improve sales, but it doesn’t seem to have worked. Recently, a child labor violation further damaged its reputation and sales. As a result, Chipotle will shut down 65 stores this year alone. Who knows what will happen after that?

10. Red Robin

Because of declining sales and rising labor costs, it has become more and more difficult for Red Robin to keep its doors open. In 2019, the restaurant shut down all stores in Alberta. After many closures, the company’s risk of bankruptcy was rated by Macro Axis at 45%, which is higher than the average of the restaurant industry, which is 37%.

11. Papa Murphy’s

This take-and-bake pizza chain has been closing stores at an alarming rate. In 2018, Papa Murphy’s shut down 97 locations, and more followed in 2019. Largely due to its brand going out of style, the chain has been negative quarter after quarter. In 2019, it was $170 million in debt, so it likely won’t be long before the last location closes.

12. BJ’s Brewhouse

This bar and grill chain has been struggling lately too. During the last several years, sales of BJ’s Brewhouse have seen a continuous decline, and as a result, its stock has plummeted 25% until now. BJ’s also started shutting down stores in 2017. Chances are it’ll be totally gone by the end of the year.

13. Quiznos

This sandwich chain had its heyday in the early 2000s when it had about 5,000 stores nationwide. Then, Quiznos encountered the recession and shut down around 2,000 locations, which is a shocking number. In 2014, the sub-shop filed for bankruptcy. Currently, fewer than 800 Quiznos stores are still open.

14. Steak ‘n Shake

Steak ‘n Shake did so well when it first popped up that it expanded across the US, Europe as well as the Middle East. However, things change, and the restaurant has seen 12 consecutive quarters of declining sales. In response, the company has closed over 100 locations. If it cannot find more investors, it probably won’t make it through this year.

15. Ruby Tuesday

Ruby Tuesdays had around 950 stores nationwide 10 years ago. Featuring craft cocktails, it used to be a restaurant where people liked to hang out. Sadly, things haven’t gone smoothly, even if the chain has updated its menu to attract the younger crowd. Now, there are only 460 Ruby Tuesdays left.

16. Friendly’s

Things couldn’t stay the same forever, and Friendly’s has its fair share of changes. One weekend in 2019, the restaurant closed 23 locations simultaneously, and in the following two years, a fourth of its stores were shut down permanently. Friendly’s filed for bankruptcy in 2011, and things have remained gloomy due to declining sales.

17. Checkers and Rally’s

Checkers and Rally’s is quite unique as it keeps its business running mainly thanks to its loyal customer base. Despite this, the restaurant shut down dozens of stores in 2019. The reasons include terrible sales, slow service, and countless health-code violations. One Florida location was reportedly closed due to nasty dead rodents spreading in the restaurant. That’s really turning people away.

18. HomeTown Buffet

HomeTown Buffet is also called Old Country Buffet, Country Buffet, or Ryan’s Buffet. Whatever the name, the chain is disappearing at an alarming rate. There were once hundreds of locations, but now, there are only 65 left. What’s worse, the restaurant has filed for bankruptcy three times, with the latest being in 2016.

19. Krystal’s

Krystal’s is a southern White Castle-esque fast food restaurant chain. It had 360 stores during its heyday, but the number gets smaller and smaller year after year. In January 2020, the company filed for bankruptcy because of an estimated $50-$100 million debt.

20. Perkins

Perkins Restaurants & Bakery has struggled in the last year. The company that owns the brand filed a lawsuit against a regional company that runs 26 Perkins restaurants, claiming the latter hadn’t paid royalties for the brand. The same year, Perkins filed for its second bankruptcy, and meanwhile, closed several of its stores. At the end of 2019, it was acquired by Huddle House.

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