Plenty of people have that favorite chain restaurant they love to visit. But did you know that your fave might be shrinking in size this year? (*cough cough* Starbucks) Despite their notoriety, a surprising number of chain restaurants are planning to close some of those branches this year.
The restaurants on this list range from fast food to casual dining; each has its own reasons for declining sales. From failed promotions to health scares, some of these places may be suffering from a slump. Others may be experiencing the beginning of the end! Check out all the restaurant chains that closed in 2019, and restaurants that are closing in 2020, and see if it might be time for you to find a new comfort food go-to!
It's official: IHOB was kind of a bust.
via: GettyWere you among the many who saw breakfast chain IHOP temporarily change its name to IHOB (International House of Burgers)? The chain added 10 burgers to its menu...not that it helped much.
Burgers haven't stopped the chain's decline.
via: GettyAccording to Business Insider, customer traffic has been going down for 10 straight quarters; subsequently, IHOP plans to close 30-40 stores this year.
This Canadian chain isn't really killing it in the U.S.
via: GettyTim Hortons has been steadily closing U.S. locations over the past 2 years and plans to close another 85 this year. Chains like Starbucks and McDonald's both pose as competition to the coffee and donut chain.
PR matters.And Bloomin’ Brands, which owns Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, and Bonefish Grill, had a PR snafu in 2018 after a woman sued for swallowing glass with her Outback sweet potato.
All the chains have also suffered a lack of foot traffic.Carrabba’s has gone down by 2.9% and Bonefish by 2.7%. Bloomin' Brands is currently trying to get sales back up by offering self-delivery to 240 of its restaurants.
But there will still be closings.Across the Bloomin' Brands board, an estimated 43 restaurants will close this year.
Papa John's has had some internal company problems.
via: GettyStarting with its former CEO, John Schnatter, who blamed NFL protests for a decline in business back in 2017. Then in 2018, a Forbes article revealed that he'd used the N-word in a conference call. That was the end of Schnatter's term as CEO, and a second unsavory report booted him from his chairman's position.
More reports followed.
via: GettyPapa John's gained a reputation for having a toxic company culture, where sexual harassment happened regularly. Since then, sales have dropped dramatically; the chain plans to close 85 restaurants this year.
Chipotle isn't new to health concerns.
via: GettyNumerous food scares crop up in Chipotle's recent history, including an outbreak of E.coli. This means that Chipotle is still trying to win back many customers' trust.
So the company is making some changes.
via: Getty ImagesIn a huge restructuring effort, Chipotle is moving its headquarters to Southern California and working on a loyalty program, ordering app, and happy hour discounts. We'll see if it works! In the meantime, up to 65 stores are closing this year.
No more footlong deals for us!
via: GettyThat's because Subway is taking away its $5 footlong deal due to hurt sales. In the earlier 2000s, Subway was supposed to be a healthy alternative to burger joints. Now, there are healthier places to be,
Other restaurants are able to better nail the "healthy eating" angle.
via: GettySo Subway is trying to change things by adding WiFi, self-service kiosks, and more comfortable seating to stores. The company projects 500 closed stores this year.
A data breach nearly took Noodles & Company down.
via: GettyThe company closed off 10% of its locations in 2018 and still needs more money after a data breach cost them $11 million. Yikes!
The company is hoping some new menu items will help.
via: GettyBuffalo Mac & Cheese and zucchini noodles are both new additions to the menu, and the chain is also instituting an order-ahead option.
Cheesecake Factory locations aren't matching up with the demographics there.
via: GettyCheesecake Factory is known for its huge, high-calorie dishes (and, of course, its desserts), which don't appeal as much to millennials and families. However, many restaurants are located in malls and suburbs--prime areas for millennials and families to inhabit.
So locations will be closing.
via: GettyCheesecake Factory expects 10 stores to be shut down this year.
The same company that owns IHOP also owns Applebee's.
via: GettyAnd Applebee's has also been closing stores in 2018. It attempted to modernize with an online ordering app, WiFi and tablets at tables, and offering $1 margaritas. However, the company's Brand President fears that may have driven away Applebee's core clientele.
Applebee's may not necessarily be in danger.
via: GettyRestaurant Business has noted that the chain is still doing well with its takeout orders and the bar side of its business. However, 189 locations are closing this year.
TGI Friday's used to be a bar.But now, of course, it's a competitor in the casual dining business. In the midst of 10 restaurants closing this year, the company is trying to rebrand and modernize for the younger generations.
Joe's Crab Shack is going down fast.
via: GettyProbably because Joe’s Crab Shack filed for bankruptcy in 2017. In a very poor move, the chain abruptly closed 41 locations--so abruptly that workers still showed up for work, only to find locked doors. The site currently lists 58 sites still in operation.
This fast-food burger place isn't doing as well as its competitors.
via: GettyJack in the Box's sales have consistently been below industry averages, and its parent company sold Qdoba last year. The company project 14 closures this year.
And this once-well known burger chain has dwindled in popularity.Ruby Tuesday has been steadily closing locations--95 in 2016 and another 20 in 2018. The company says another 20 will close this year, too.
Ruby Tuesday's has a strategy to get the ball rolling again.The chain revamped its bottomless salad bar (gotta have those healthy options) and is working on emphasizing carryout orders for customers.
How about triple-bankruptcy?
via: GettyThe owner of Hometown Buffet and Old Country Buffet has declared bankruptcy three times in the last decade. Oh, yeah, and then the company had to pay out $11 million to a man in Nebraska who got salmonella poisoning.
That's not the end of legal troubles, either!
via: GettyOvation Brands is now facing another lawsuit from employees who claim to have bee terminated without warning, and is closing 92 stores this year.
Buffalo Wild Wings needs to raise its prices.
via: GettyWith the rising costs of food and the need to meet diners' expectations in a restaurant setting, BWW has to raise the price of its wings by up to 10%--which isn't great.
The company that owns Arby's bought BWW too.
via: GettyCurrently, the CEO of Roark Captial has said that everything about BWW is being re-evaluated right now.
Sonic's sales are shrinking.
via: GettySonic's CEO Cliff Hudson blamed “unfavorable weather" and “continued aggressive discounting by the competition" for the chain's struggles. Sonic is currently attempting to revamp its marketing campaign and introduce an order-ahead app for convenience.
Qdoba isn't doing great, even after its sale.Jack in the Box sold Qdoba to Apollo Global Management in 2017. But after a long sales slump and failing to capitalize on competitor Chipotle's many health scares, it's unclear how much longer Qdoba may be around.
People have options when it comes to hamburgers...and they aren't choosing Fuddrucker's.According to QSR, guest traffic fell 9.6% from 2017 to 2018. Fuddrucker's parent company originally planned to close 14 stores--but now it is planning on closing even more.
The end of the world is officially here because Starbucks is shutting a bunch of its doors soon.
via: Getty ImagesThat's right. The coffee giant will be closing 150 stores in 2019. Turns out having a "Starbucks on every corner"...literally...might not have been the best idea.