Restaurant Chains That Won’t Make It Through 2020 | 22 Words

Will your favorite restaurants survive the year? Keep scrolling to see the complete list of eateries that might be closing their doors for good in the next few months.

1. Pizza Hut

via: Shutterstock

On nights when you don't feel like cooking and just want to get some hot, delicious 'za delivered to your door, Pizza Hut is probably one of the first restaurants that come to mind. So you might be surprised to know that hundreds of locations across the country have closed in the past several months.

Roughly 450 locations have closed in 2019 and 2020.

via: Shutterstock

It turns out, folks nowadays aren't as interested in enjoying their pizza in actual sit-down restaurants, and the Hut is changing with the times by converting to a strictly delivery and carry-out establishment. Locations will drop from 7,450 to about 7,000 in 2020.

2. Tim Hortons

via: Shutterstock

If you're a Canadian, you're probably shocked to see Tim Hortons on this list and might even be a bit frightened to imagine this beloved Canadian staple going under. But fear not; it's still doing just fine in the Great White North.

But in the U.S., it's another story.

via: Shutterstock

Tim Horton's business has been steadily declining in locations across the United States, and stores have been closing throughout Michigan, Minnesota, and Ohio. Research has shown that the massive coffee shop competition is the reason for the decline in sales.

3. Boston Market

via: Shutterstock

Rotisserie chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, chicken pot pies, macaroni and cheese...you'd think a restaurant serving up such classic American comfort foods would be able to go the distance in the United States, right? Not so much.

It turns out, Boston Market might be closing its doors for good by 2021.

via: Shutterstock

In July of 2019, CEO Frances Allen announced that 10% of stores would be closing permanently. Boston Market is no stranger to financial hardship since the chain filed for bankruptcy in 1998 and has seen a decline in sales since 2018.

4. Steak 'n Shake

via: Shutterstock

It's been a rough couple of years for Steak 'n Shake, the chain restaurant where you probably scarfed down a burger and slurped down a milkshake with your family as a kid. This all-American chain first started in Illinois in 1934 and became famous for its "steakburger" sandwiches.

So how could a restaurant that serves burgers made from steak be struggling?

via: Shutterstock

It's a mystery, but things have gotten so bad that CEO Sardar Biglari has even recently recommended removing the cherries from the top of their famous milkshakes, which would save the company $1 million per year. But who can eat a milkshake without the cherry?!

5. Ruby Tuesday

via: Shutterstock

You've been shopping all morning and are about to drop from hunger and exhaustion, so you scan the mall map for a place to find sustenance and land on a tried-and-true favorite: Ruby Tuesday. It's the perfect stop to hit between Bath and Body Works and Yankee Candle.

But, alas, this mall staple might be closed for business by 2021.

via: Shutterstock

While Ruby Tuesday hasn't made any statements about store closings, just looking at the difference in locations across the country has made it obvious that the casual chain is in trouble. They closed 51 stores in 2018 and another 26 in 2019.

6. Bravo!

via: Shutterstock

Bravo!, the most enthusiastic of all casual Italian eateries, was already in financial trouble for the past few years due to the rising cost of food. But it was the current crisis that really put the once-popular chain over the edge.

Many chains have taken a huge hit due to the current global crisis

via: Facebook

"This truly could not have come at a worse time for our business," said FoodFirst Global Restaurants CEO Steve Layt in a statement. "We have experienced nothing short of devastating sales declines."

7. Subway

via: Shutterstock

It's hard to imagine a world without Subway, but with thousands of store closings since 2016, that might just become a reality. One major contribution to the decline in business could be linked to the arrest of former spokesman Jared Fogle in 2015.

Just how many franchise locations have closed?

via: Shutterstock

A total of 359 locations closed in 2016 (which, by the way, happened to be more than they opened that year) along with 909 closures the following year, which doesn't bode well for the future. Even with various changes made in an effort to bring in more customers (delivery service, more comfortable seating), Subway has still seen a 25% drop in business.

8. Qdoba

via: Shutterstock

There are two types of people in this world: those who prefer Chipotle and those who prefer Qdoba. But, based on the recent store closings and drop in business, Chipotle seems to be the overall fan favorite when it comes to oversized burritos.

Qdoba Mexican Grill first started in Denver in 1995.

via: Shutterstock

Qdoba has since dropped the "Mexican Grill" from its name and now goes by "Qdoba Mexican Eats", and the jury's still out on whether or not that change has been good for business. Based on the numbers alone, it hasn't, since locations have been closing in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Connecticut in recent years.

9. TGI Fridays

via: Shutterstock

Chain restaurants like TGI Fridays have taken a hit in the last few years for a number of reasons: stiff competition, food delivery services, and changes in consumer tastes, to name a few. Younger diners are also to blame since they tend to prefer local and unique options over chains.

"In here, it's always Friday."

via: Shutterstock

After suffering a huge profit loss in 2019, Fridays closed down 34 locations across the U.S. In November of 2019, TGI Fridays merged with special purpose acquisition company Allegro Merger Corp. in an effort to boost profitability. Time will tell how the rest of 2020 will go for this once-successful chain.

10. Joe's Crab Shack

via: Shutterstock

If you've never dined at a Joe's Crab Shack, you've definitely seen one of their restaurants. The nautical theming and huge "EAT AT JOE'S" signs on the outside make them hard to miss, but in the future, you might be seeing a whole lot less of these beachy eateries.

Joe's Crab Shack employees were met with a shocking revelation in 2017.

via: Shutterstock

They reportedly showed up for work only to find that the doors were locked and they were suddenly and without warning out of a job. The seafood chain closed nearly half of its 112 locations in August of 2017, and then went on to file for bankruptcy that June. With more closures reportedly on the horizon, the future is uncertain for the Shack.

11. Hooters

via: Shutterstock

Ah, Hooters, that wholesome family restaurant that has something for everyone. It's not much of a surprise that a restaurant known for its scantily-clad, voluptuous wait staff (and mediocre food) has seen a steady drop in business. "Woke culture" and Hooters don't really mix.

Even without the problematic gimmick, Hooters has issues similar to other sit-down chains.

via: Shutterstock

Customers just aren't as interested in dining in casual chain restaurants, and the numbers back that up. Hooters was forced to close 7% of their locations between the years of 2012 and 2016, and business continues to drop. A spin-off of Hooters called "Hoots" (complete with fully-clothed wait staff) is the company's newest venture. We'll see if it pays off!

12. Sweet Tomatoes

via: Shutterstock

With healthy food options becoming more and more sought-after by the general public, you'd think that a restaurant like Sweet Tomatoes that's centered around providing fresh, veggie-packed dishes would be a major hit. Well, it was, but then 2020 happened.

Our country's policy of isolation was a kiss of death for Sweet Tomatoes.

via: Shutterstock

Because it's basically just one big salad bar, restaurants like Sweet Tomatoes have taken quite the hit ever since the coronavirus crisis reached the U.S. The thought of sharing tongs and grabbing toppings from communal bowls is offputting for customers even after businesses resume normal operations. All Sweet Tomatoes locations have now been closed permanently.

13. Fuddruckers

via: Shutterstock

With a name like Fuddruckers, this is a hard chain to forget. Known for its "world's greatest" hamburgers and as much liquid cheese sauce as you can fit on your plate, Fuddruckers used to be a popular choice for kid's birthday parties.

Between 2019 and 2020, 15 locations have gone under.

via: Shutterstock

Most of the 150 Fuddruckers locations that remain open today are franchise restaurants, but 49 are owned by the same company that operates Luby's. That number is down from 60 in late 2018. So, you can still find that self-serve cheese sauce, but it's a bit harder to these days.

14. Red Robin

via: Shutterstock

Who can forget Red Robin's unlimited seasoned steak fries and hot, juicy burgers? Apparently a lot of people, since the burger chain has been struggling with the massive amounts of competition due to the so-called "burger boom" of 2017.

In an effort to cut costs, the chain announced that they would be eliminating busboys. Spoiler alert: it didn't work.

via: Shutterstock

"It was just atrocious," said John Gordon, an analyst at Pacific Management Consulting Group. "We knew that was going to screw up the customer flow and throughput. And, sure enough, it did." Sales have been taking a nosedive since 2018.

15. Applebees

via: Shutterstock

Applebees Bar and Grill locations have been dropping like flies across the country in the last few years, and it's largely in part to its failure to reach the most sought-after demographic of our time: millennials.

A huge rebranding overhaul was made in an attempt to become "cool", but it failed miserably.

via: Shutterstock

The chain announced in August of 2017 that it would be closing more than 130 locations by 2018 after a regrettable effort to attract younger, affluent customers. The rebranding just ended up alienating Baby Boomers instead (while turning off millennials even more than they already were.) So if you're a fan of eating good in the neighborhood, you might want to head out to one of their 1,787 remaining locations while you still can.