Restaurants • San Diego, California, USA

These Restaurant Chains Are on the Brink of Disappearing Entirely

By Jake Schroeder

The restaurant industry has seen a lot of ups and downs in recent years. Most recently it has suffered greatly at the hand of the global crisis we have all been a part of. The failure of the restaurant business has come in part by the wide range of choices consumers have, as well as labor shortages and high overhead costs. 

Photo Courtesy: [@Quiznos/Twitter]

According to the National Restaurant Association, some restaurants are not going to be able to recover from these loses and will have to close many, if not all of their locations. These are the major chains that are in serious danger of disappearing altogether. 


Applebee's opened its doors for the first time in 1980. It was welcomed with open arms by diners everywhere. However, over time, the restaurant chain has seen sales decline and not really pick back up. So far, Applebees has closed more than 120 of its locations, down to approximately 1,200 locations.

Photo Courtesy: [@Applebees/Twitter]

The chain's owner, Dine Brands, has been putting in a lot of effort to bring customers back, with deals like $1 cocktails, healthier options, and a new delivery option. None of their ideas seemed to work, though, as Applebee's is planning on closing yet another 20 locations this year.

Carrabba's Italian Grill

Carrabba's Italian Grill is owned by Bloomin' Brands. It was founded in 1986 in the city of Houston, Texas. The restaurant is a family-style Italian spot that gained a lot of traction and produced many branches all across the country, with several hundred of them popping up.

Photo Courtesy: [Carrabba's Italian Grill/YouTube]

However, slowly but surely, the hype about the brand died down. Bloomin' Brands decided to slowly start closing down location after location based on performance, which included several Bonefish Grill and Outback Steakhouse locations as well. In 2020, another 43 of their locations will close. 


For 20 years now, Sbarro has been around. It once saw massive success, but over the last few years seen a steady and sharp decline in their revenue. The major reason for the decline, customers say, has to do with the quality of their pizza. In addition to the quality issue, the chain is indebted to the tune of millions of dollars.

Photo Courtesy: [Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group/Getty Images]

Sbarro also does not deliver and is usually located in food courts at malls. With shopping malls becoming a thing of the past as well, Sbarro is suffering. The chain has closed hundreds of their locations, including their iconic spot in Times Square. 

Ruby Tuesday

Ruby Tuesday has been around since 1972. The longtime restaurant chain was known for their unique cocktails and fresh food. Sadly, the chain has been losing a lot of their customers due to lowering standards. They are no longer known for their drinks and fresh ingredients.

Photo Courtesy: [@RubyTuesday/Twitter]

Over the last decade, the chain closed many of its locations, 76 of them between 2018 and 2020. They are owned by NRD Capital, who released a statement showing some hope and optimism when they stated that the chain can survive as long as it can "deliver on the basics." Unfortunately, it is not looking likely.


Krystal is a restaurant chain famous in the South. It has menu items that will remind you of White Castle. They have 360 locations across the country but have decided to close a great many of them over the last couple of years due to financial hardship.

Photo Courtesy: [Atlanta Eats/YouTube]

In January 2020, the chain filed for bankruptcy as a result of their $50 - $100 million debt. The chain has 182 company-owned locations and an additional 116 franchise ones. The chain looks like it will disappear within the next two years. 

Bar Louie

Bar Louie was a well known spot for happy hour drinks and food. However, the restaurant chain has seen better days as it has gone into substantial debt and has had to close several locations because they expanded too fast.

Photo Courtesy: [TODAY’S TMJ4/YouTube]

At the height of their success, there were 134 Bar Louie locations across 26 states. They filed for bankruptcy because their growth was too fast and sales took a dive. They are currently sitting on over $100 million debt. They now have 79 locations remaining, but are closing more and more of them every year.


Houlihan's was also a happy hour go-to spot. For years, the chain saw success amongst its loyal customers, but that declined eventually. They seemed to be unable to attract the younger demographics and therefore saw a massive deterioration.

Photo Courtesy: [@Houlihans/Twitter]

The former owner of Houlihan's, HRI Holding Corp, filed for bankruptcy in 2019. That same time, the company accepted an offer to be bought out by Landry's for nearly the amount of their debt ($40 million). Houlihan's used to have 84 locations, it now has just 47. It doesn't look like they will make it out of this one.


It is not a huge surprise that the chain has seen better days. In the age of female empowerment, the tiny outfits do nothing to help their cause. Hooters has experienced a slow and steady decline over the last decade. 

Photo Courtesy: [@Hooters/Twitter]

They have closed more than 7% of their locations and therefore lost millions of dollars in earnings. In an attempt to keep up with the times, the chain changed some of their locations to "Hoots" where the waitresses are more conservatively dressed. 

Boston Market

Boston Market hit its peak in the 90s with over 1,100 locations nationwide. These days, the chain has less than 400 locations left. They have not updated their menu in years, nor have they given much attention to their deteriorating locations. The younger demographic is not a fan.

Photo Courtesy: [Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]

Boston Market has filed for Chapter 11 and was forced to shut the doors on 700 of its locations. In an attempt to remain afloat, they signed a development deal to open many new locations in the Middle East. Sadly, their US market seems to be closing. 

Papa John's

Papa John's Pizza has suffered a big hit to its brand as a result of the controversy surrounding its founder, John Schattner. In 2018, Schattner blamed NFL players and their protesting of the national anthem as a reason for lower than usual pizza sales. As a result, the NFL and Papa John's went their separate ways, having the chain feel the pain of losing a major sponsorship.

Photo Courtesy: [Joe Raedle/Getty Images]

The whole ordeal hurt the brand beyond repair, the result of which is seen in their store closures and loss in sales. The chain still has more than 3,000 locations nationwide, but it looks like that is going to change. 

Golden Corral

One of the oldest chains around, Golden Corral originally opened its doors in the early 1970s. The all-you-can-eat buffet style used to be a massive hit with consumers. However, times are changing and people no longer desire buffet as much as they used to. The rise of health awareness had the chain take a major hit.

Photo Courtesy: [John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images]

The chain has closed hundreds of locations, with 500 remaining in the country. They are working on rebranding and remodeling their restaurants to give one last effort.

Ponderosa Steakhouse

Ponderosa Steakhouse used to be the go-to steakhouse of the South. It offered people dishes with "the spirit of the Old West and honest-to-goodness value," as their website states. However, the economic recession that hit the United States in 2008, hurt the chain beyond repair.

Photo Courtesy: [Ponderosa Steakhouse U.A.E/YouTube]

That year, their parent company, Metromedia Steakhouses Co. filed for bankruptcy. They eventually made it out of bankruptcy and have been bought out by FAT Brands. Sadly, Ponderosa Steakhouse has been quietly shutting their doors, leaving only 100 of them around the world.

Steak 'n Shake

The oldest restaurant chain on here is without question Steak n' Shake. The chain has been around since 1934 and has maintained their 24/7 model ever since. They expanded from the United States to the Middle East and Europe as well. Unfortunately, over the last few years, they have been closing spots down in order to stay afloat.

Photo Courtesy: [Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images]

Steak n' Shake is in the middle of a complete rebranding in the hopes of raising their sales. They have closed more than 100 restaurants as they go through the rebranding and looking for new investors. 

Joe's Crab Shack

Just under a decade ago, Joe's Crab Shack had nearly 140 locations nationwide. Today, they have 60 locations left and are operating at a $16.6 million loss. In 2017, the chain filed for bankruptcy and shut down 41 locations without giving their employees any notice.

Photo Courtesy: [@Joes_Crab_Shack/Twitter]

The bankruptcy was meant to help the chain survive, but they angered the employees and disheartened the customers to a point of no return. The chain also went tip-free, increasing their employees wages, but in turn upsetting customers with higher prices. All in all they are just about done.

Noodles & Company

Noodles & Company have been in deep water for some time now. They have been slowly and quietly closing location after location that has not been profitable. In 2017, they closed 55 locations, and in 2018 they closed another 10.

Photo Courtesy: [@NoodlesCompany/Twitter]

They have been trying to turn things around, though. They introduced vegetable noodles to their menu as a healthified version, which did help them with sales. The zoodle craze has also come and gone, though, so it is unsure whether they will survive or not.

Old Country Buffet

Old Country Buffet opened its doors in 1983, and was an instant hit! In the 80s and 90s, buffet style restaurants were all the rage. They fed families well and on a relatively small budget. The chain is owned by Ovation Brands, and at one time had more than 700 locations across the country.

Photo Courtesy: [@OCBrestaurant/Twitter]

Over the last few years, the chain declined dramatically. They went through three bankruptcies, several health code violations and even more unannounced shuttering of locations. They have closed 400 locations over the lat 10 years. There are only 17 of these restaurants left. 

The Cheesecake Factory

The Cheesecake Factory launched in 1972. It was first a bakery, and then transitioned into a restaurant. In 1978, the move to being a fully functioning restaurant proved to be delicious and successful. 

Photo Courtesy: [George Rose/Getty Images]

The chain saw a lot of growth, until they got hit with problems like the rising cost of labor and the changing dining out habits of the public. Over the years, the chain has also seen quite a few legal woes come their way. Now, there are only 195 of these restaurants left in the country. 

TGI Friday’s

One of the most popular restaurant chains around, TGI Friday's is also not doing well. They saw major loss in revenue in 2019, and closed many of their locations across the country. They have also seen an 11.3% decrease in sales and a 9.1% decrease in patron traffic.

Photo Courtesy: [@TGIFridays/Twitter]

TGI Friday's merged with Allegro Merger Corp. in order to find a way to be more profitable. They have been purchasing underperforming franchises and redoing their menus to boost profits. As of now, the chain has 831 locations around the world, 385 are in the United States. 

Red Robin

The rising cost of labor and less customers has been the reason Red Robin is dangerously close to closing for good. In 2018, they ended the year with a loss of $10.6 million. They proceeded to close several locations, leaving 562 of them across the country.

Photo Courtesy: [@redrobinburgers/Twitter]

Health scares and poor customer service were other reasons for Red Robin's trouble. They are very high on the list of restaurants that could file for bankruptcy at any moment. The chain is 43% likely to file, according to a report by Macro Axis. 


Friendly's used to be the spot you go to with your family for a diner-style meal and delicious ice cream. At their prime, they had 500 locations across the country. However, over the last few years, the chain has lost many patrons as a result of the changes in the market, which had them close many of their restaurants.

Photo Courtesy: [NBC 10 WJAR/YouTube]

In 2011, they filed for bankruptcy, which was supposed to help them but only ended up damaging them more. They are working to revamp everything, but customers have already written them off. They have 167 locations left and they are most on the East Coast.


Mexican restaurant Qdoba is another chain looking like it is in trouble. They initially launched in 1995, and were in good standing for the first 10 years or so. Over the last few years, they have truly struggled to make a profit.

Photo Courtesy: [@Qdoba/Twitter]

They used to be owned by Jack in the Box, but were sold in 2017 to Apollo Global Management. Qdoba has also been on the receiving end of health scares and huge sales slumps. They have 700 locations across the country, but they are lowering that number every year. 

Buffalo Wild Wings

Buffalo Wild Wings has been the spot for sports and grub for years. But when the chain raised all of their prices by 10% as a result of the rising cost of labor and food, customers were not at all pleased. 

Photo Courtesy: [@BWWings/Twitter]

The company saw a loss of business from that point forward, which had them in turn selling some of their locations to franchisees. The chain currently has 1,200 or so locations, half of which are owned by franchisees. They are working hard to stay on the right track.

Checkers and Rally’s

The delicious fried at Checkers and Rally's has brought loyal customer back time and again. However, the chain has still been closing location after location every year. The shrinking locations has been going on as a result of lowering sales, something much of the restaurant industry has seen over the last few years.

Photo Courtesy: [@CheckersRallys/Twitter]

Another reason people stopped coming to Checkers, was their low standards of cleanliness. A few of their locations have gotten health code violations, which has given the whole chain a bad reputation. 

Jack in the Box

Jack in the Box is leagues behind its major competitors - Burger King and McDonald's. A report that was released by the company itself, shared that several hundred of their locations will be operating at a loss this year, and have been for several years back.

Photo Courtesy: [@JackBox/Twitter]

Jack in the Box has made it a priority to focus more on their customer service and experience, as well as the quality of their food. However, it is hard to tell if customers will be back through their doors the way they used to.

Roy Rogers

Actor and singer Roy Rogers, opened his namesake burger place in the late 60s. The restaurant turned into a massive success and by the 90s, had more than 600 locations nationwide. The chain was later sold to Imasco, their current parent company, the brand took a nosedive.

Photo Courtesy: [@RoysRestaurants/Twitter]

The main reason for the decline was due to the fact that many of the locations were renamed to what we know as Hardee's. Customers were not pleased with the change and decided not to go there. In 2019, Ray Rogers had only 48 locations left in the whole country. 

Baja Fresh

Baja Fresh Mexican Grill opened its doors in the 90s. It was considered the top of the line Mexican food and boasted over 300 locations nationwide. They used all fresh ingredients and put their 'Salsa Baja' on everything. They also had a salsa bar that appealed to many.

Photo Courtesy: [@BajaFresh/Twitter]

However, after Wendy's bought the chain in the beginning of the 2000s, sales began to decline. Wendy's decided to sell the Baja Fresh chain to cut their losses. Today, there are only 165 of the chain left, in the US, Singapore and Dubai.


Fuddruckers started its burger run in the late 70s in Houston, Texas. The chain stated that they had "the world's greatest hamburgers." It seemed like people agree as the chain was incredibly popular. However, while their food was indeed wonderful, hard times hit and even they didn't stand a chance.

Photo Courtesy: [@Fuddruckers/Twitter]

The chain got badly hit during the 2008 financial crisis. They are now under the Luby's name, and only have 150 of their locations still in operation. It is hard to tell if they will survive.


O'Charley's is famous for its Southern cuisine and style and got its start in the Midwest and South. The restaurant chain's sales have been steadily declining along with the decline of the quality of their food. They have also not been able to compete with the other chains and their marketing and sales efforts.

Photo Courtesy: [@OCharleys/Twitter]

O'Charley's was also hit with more than a few large lawsuits because of both customer safety issues as well as employee wage payment defaults. The chain has 189 locations left in the country, with more shutting down every year.


The beloved sandwich chain has seen better days since opening up in 1981. It has been the rival of another sandwich giant, Subway, since the two have been around. While Quiznos had a loyal following, many of its stores have disappeared in the last few years. 

Photo Courtesy: [@Quiznos/Twitter]

The 2008 financial dip sent eh chain into a tailspin Of the 5,000 locations that they used to have, only 400 remain. Fans still want this chain to come out bigger and better than ever, but the sales of the chain are only lowering.


Bojangles' was once one of the most popular restaurant chains in the country. Today, they remain mostly in North and South Carolina as there is where chicken and biscuit love remains strong. The chain closed most of its locations in Virginia, Alabama, Tennessee, and Kentucky. 

Photo Courtesy: [@Bojangles/Twitter]

They are currently owned by the Jordan Company and Durational Capital Management, who are trying to implement changes to bring in new patrons. Sadly, even with the changes, it looks like they are going to be forced to shut the whole thing down.


Say it ain't so! The International House of Pancakes, where many have gone for a late night pick me up, has been opened since 1958. However, the change in market trends and the desire for healthier food has brought this chain to its knees.

Photo Courtesy: [@DailyHiveVan/Twitter]

In 2018, IHOP tried to rebrand themselves into more of a diner than an all day breakfast place. They even went as far as renaming themselves (comically) to IHOB, the International House of Burgers. The rebrand didn't work and the chain has closed between 30 and 40 locations in 2019 alone.


The Texas-born chain, Luby's always gave people a lot of food. They were known for their deep frying just about everything, and were very popular before the health revolution took over. You would find a Luby's on every corner, much like how you would find a Dunkin' around every corner today.

Photo Courtesy: [@lubys/Twitter]

The chain has experienced declines sales for years now, and much like IHOP, it was a result of people becoming more health conscious. Luby's closed 84 of its stores in 2019 and will continue to close more of them this year and more to come. 

Taco Bell

Taco Bell is suffering as a result of competition, global crisis, and over-extending their own finances. The chain needed to do some recalculating based on health trends, but kept seeing their loyal fan base come back to them. They are a pop culture symbol at this point, but that doesn't mean they are safe from disappearing.

Photo Courtesy: [@Matt_Prince/Twitter]

In 2019, Taco Bell closed six locations, and while that does not seem like much, the chain spent years only growing so this decline and shuttering of locations is a first for them and not a good sign. 


Subway has experienced ups and downs throughout their time in the market. They were considered one of the first healthy choice restaurant chains, with brilliant marketing surrounding their healthy options. However, Americans eventually realized that not everything on their menu is as healthy as they claim.

Photo Courtesy: [@SUBWAY/Twitter]

The chain began closing its locations back in 2014. They did so because they actually grew too fast and saw a sharp decline in profits as a result. In 2018, they closed around 1,100 location across the country. They still have around 24,000 in operation, but closing many of them as a plan for years to come.

Marie Callender's

We all know this name from the microwave pot pies that you can get at the store. What many people don't know is that Marie was real. In the 40s, Marie's pies were so popular among customers that she eventually opened up a restaurant. 

Photo Courtesy: [EaterLA/Twitter]

That restaurant was so successful that it became a chain. Today, the chain is co-owned by Perkins and filed for bankruptcy as a result of massive debts. There used to be 50 Marie Callender's, now there are 24 of them. 

McCormick & Schmick's

McCormick & Schmick's is a steak and seafood restaurant that was bought out by the same company that owns Bubba Gump Shrimp Company in 2016. Every since the purchase, the chain saw plummeting sales. When they were bought out, they had 85 locations across the country. Today, there are only 36 locations left.

Photo Courtesy: [Mommyish/Shutterstock]

In 2019, six more locations were closed in Providence, St. Louis, and Denver. The future of this chain is bleak, it looks like they will be coming to an end in 2020 or 2021.


While the love for Chipotle is still very much out there, the chain is suffering greatly. Chipotle opened its doors in 1993, so they have been in the game for quite some time. That being said, health concerns have put this chain in the news where they do not want to be. 

Photo Courtesy: [Mommyish/Shutterstock]

As a result of health issues, less people have ventured to the chain for their meals. Sadly, 65 Chipotle locations have begun to close between 2019 and 2020.

Burger King

Not even the big names are safe these days. Burger King is one of the most well known names in the fast food game, and they are not doing too well. Burger King has closed over 100 of its locations over the last couple of years, with 2019 being the one with the most closures so far. 

Photo Courtesy: [Mommyish/Shutterstock]

250 locations were shuttered in 2019 in order to keep the finances from pushing them into bankruptcy. They are now looking to revamp their stores like their competitors. 

Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut was once a real restaurant. It would be the place for dates, birthday parties, and family nights out. Today, people prefer to spend their money on true Italian dishes from smaller restaurants. 

Photo Courtesy: [Mommyish/Shutterstock]

The chain used to be a sit down spot, but is now a takeout spot. As the chain becomes takeout only, they are closing 450 locations, vastly reducing their appearance in the market and doing so in hopes of staying relevant and afloat in the time of health and financial prudence. 

Carl's Jr. 

The original Carl's Jr. was called Carl's Drive-In Barbecue and was founded in 1945. Over time, it got a name change and slight menu alterations. Sadly, Carl's Jr. has also been one of those chains that has been hard hit by the health trend changes in the market. It is only sad because seeing places close is sad, but the health trends being what they are is a welcomed change. 

Photo Courtesy: [Mommyish/Shutterstock]

The parent company of the chain has also been in hot water, allegedly discriminating against older employees. The chain has been closing down its locations one by one until none are left soon enough. 

Kona Grill

Kona Grill was the proud chain who brought the United States Asian cuisine. It opened in the US in 1998 and spent many years in a very profitable place. However, in 2015, sales began to drop. 

Photo Courtesy: [Mommyish/Shutterstock]

The company started to cut costs on nearly everything, affecting the restaurant's food and service. People stopped coming in and by the end of 2019, they filed for bankruptcy. So far, 19 locations have been shuttered and the chain is looking for a new buyer to take over.


Perkins first launched in Cincinnati, Ohio, in the late 50s. It became an instant hit thanks to their incredible buttermilk pancakes, which is how it got the nickname of a pancake house. The chain hit a high note for a long time, but then sadly plummeted in recent years. 

Photo Courtesy: [Mommyish/Shutterstock]

In 2011, they filed for bankruptcy, and since then they have continued to close down locations. The worst of it is that they close down stores without any warning. 


There is still a Starbuck's on nearly every corner in many cities, but the chain has had a rough few years and has closed many of its stores as a result. In 2019, the chain closed 150 locations, which is not much of a dent when you think of the fact that it has 30,000 locations. 

Photo Courtesy: [Mommyish/Shutterstock]

However, the closing trend is not slowing down either. They have shared that the reason for the closures has been as a result of poor performance by those locations. 

Hometown Buffet 

Buffet style restaurants have long been on their way out. We are now much more health conscious people, so the public is not as inclined to go to a place where the food is greasy and you have no limit of it. 

Photo Courtesy: [Mommyish/Shutterstock]

Hometown Buffet, as a result, has gotten itself into quite a bit of trouble being a buffet style establishment. In 2016, they filed for bankruptcy for no less than the third time. They have since been closing their locations bit by bit, closing 92 of them in 2019 alone. 

Pie Five

Pie Five closed 8 of its locations in 2019. They have been seeing a drop in sales and needed to get a leg up on their finances. The pizza joint is now down to 65 locations from the 100 that they had in 2017. 

Photo Courtesy: [irvingtexas]

As more people focus on health, even pizza lovers are going towards the more mom and pop Italian spots that make their own wood fired versions of the fast food dish. Soon enough they will not be seen at all.

Eat'n Park

Eat'n Park closed 6 of their locations in 2019, much to the dismay of fans everywhere. They are primarily located in Ohio and Pennsylvania, and have a bit of a cult following. While the name suggests that you take the food and eat in your car, that is not indeed the case. 

Photo Courtesy: [laurelhighlands]

The chain is known for its Superburgers and Smiley cookies. They still have 61 locations left, but if this trend continues then we may be seeing even less. 

Pollo Tropical

Pollo Tropical is owned by the Fiesta Restaurant Group. In 2018, it announced to the public that it will be shutting down 14 Pollo Tropical locations in Georgia and Florida due to low earnings. 

Photo Courtesy: [thefood-e]

There are still 150 locations of the chain in Florida, but all of the Georgia ones have been officially closed down. For Floridians, Pollo Tropical is a staple and has a loyal following. However, with times being what they are, we may be seeing the last of Pollo Tropical. 

Taco Cabana

Taco Cabana is also owned by Fiesta Restaurant Group, and they are also not doing well! In January 2020, the owners announced that they will be closing 19 Taco Cabana stores of the chain, in an effort to improve their financial margins.

Photo Courtesy: [YouTube]

The CEO of Fiesta Restaurant Group, Richard Stockinger, stated, "These closures eliminate all stores with significant losses, which we expect will result in a highly viable portfolio of restaurants." There are 38 Taco Cabana locations left in New Mexico and Texas.  

Potbelly Sandwich Shop

2019 was not a good year for Potbelly Sandwich Shop. That was the year they launched a plan to attempt and recover from their financial woes. They closed the doors of 22 locations and expanded their delivery services, partnering with DoorDash. 

Photo Courtesy: [Potbelly]

However, despite their efforts, the Chicago-based chain has had to close more locations. They still have 400 company-owned locations, as well as around 40 franchised ones across the country. Time will tell if this chain will see better days.


Denny's initially operated as a coffee shop under the name, Danny's Donuts, in 1953. It then transformed into a restaurant chain of table service diner-style and started franchising in other countries. 

Photo Courtesy: [Marketing Land]

More than 1,500 locations of Denny's still operate nationwide, but it's worth noting that 15 Denny's locations permanently closed in upstate New York. Feast American Diners, one of the diner chain's franchisees, is actually the one responsible for this minor setback. Denny's may weather the storm as long as they don't get involved in more discrimination lawsuits.

Tad’s Steaks 

Tad's Steaks is an affordable steak chain that first opened its doors off Times Square in 1960. By January 2020, it has sadly become a thing of the past in the Big Apple. The cut-rate meat slinger stated in a government filing that they were closing due to economic troubles. 

Photo Courtesy: [New York Post]

Now that it has only one location standing, which is in San Francisco, Tad's Steaks might be facing extinction in the near future. During its fame, the steak chain had eight locations in New York and 28 locations all over the country.


Pieology is a fast-casual pizza chain that offers a create-your-own pizza feature, making it look like a Chipotle or a Subway instead of a local pizzeria. The California-based chain, which operates in 21 states, used to have more than 135 locations.

Photo Courtesy: [Feast Magazine]

Recently, four out of the five Pieology closed shops in Michigan. There was a sign on the door of the Ann Arbor branch stating it was shut down due to "unfortunate circumstances beyond our control." Perhaps it might be because of the COVID-19 too.

Eat'n Park

Eat 'n Park may not be looking like "the place for smiles" lately as it just closed 6 stores in 2019. Five locations in Ohio and one in Pennsylvania have served their final customers in their respective spots. The restaurant chain has been offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner to guests since 1949.

Photo Courtesy: [Volley Park]

Prior to the 6 Eat ‘n Park's closure, the company has also closed its Cleveland and Delaware branches. Customers can still get their Smiley cookies fix from 61 remaining locations.

Brio Tuscan Grille and Bravo! Cucina Italiana

As parent company FoodFirst Global Restaurants filed for Chapter 11 in April 2020, sister chains Brio Tuscan Grille and Bravo! Cucina Italiana found themselves losing their spice. For Brio alone, 71 of its 92 locations have already closed permanently. The remaining 21 are also on the verge of saying goodbye.

Photo Courtesy: [Asbury Park Press]

However, there still might be a chance for Brio and Bravo to survive the pandemic. In June of the same year, restaurant company Earl Enterprises announced that they have acquired the two Italian restaurant chains.


The pandemic has also taken its toll on burger joint Zinburger. This 2020, it has shut down majority of their 24 locations permanently. Fifteen of the 18 restaurants on the East Coast went out of business. Thankfully in Arizona, their six branches are still in operation. 

Photo Courtesy: [Eater Atlanta]

In their website, Zinburger addressed their current predicament. "The covid-19 pandemic has had a significant financial impact on the restaurant industry. Sadly, Zinburger is not able to reopen all locations as a result of the shut-down caused by the pandemic," the management said.


TooJay’s Original Gourmet Deli started operating its first restaurant in Palm Beach in 1981. For almost four decades, the Florida deli chain served their loyal customers traditional gourmet deli items, handcrafted sandwiches, dinner entree, and other catering menu. 

Photo Courtesy: [TooJay's]

Unfortunately, TooJay's declared bankruptcy in April 2020 as a result of the impacts of the coronavirus. The shutdown has clearly affected the once-profitable company. They will be using the $6.4 million Paycheck Protection Loan they received for payroll and expenses.


Benihana is a restaurant company that centers around Japanese cuisine restaurants. Steve and Devon Aoki's father, Hiroaki Aoki, founded it in 1964 in New York City. This 2020, even before the coronavirus, it has been bidding goodbye to some of its branches all over the world.

Photo Courtesy: [Benihana]

The company's one and only Sacramento location shut down in February while its Glasgow location closed its doors less than a year it was opened. Currently, there are about 76 locations remaining in the United States, Caribbean, and Central and South America.


Dubbed as "America’s favorite drive-in," Sonic may not be the apple of the eye of of customers lately. In 2018, their quarterly reports have already plummeted. CEO Cliff Hudson related this to the "unfavorable weather" and "continued aggressive discounting by the competition."

Photo Courtesy: [Business Insider]

Sonic is still trying to find their way out of the woods by appealing to younger diners. The drive-in fast-food restaurant chain now offers an order-ahead smartphone app and half-price drinks and shakes during certain times of the day. 

Papa Murphy's

Papa Murphy's started out in 1995 as a merger of two local take-and-bake pizza companies, Papa Aldo's Pizza, and Murphy's Pizza. From there it, rose through the ranks and became the largest take-and-bake pizza chain. This meant that the customers could pick up a cold pizza at the restaurant then cook it the comforts of their oven. 

Photo Courtesy: [Restaurant Business Magazine]

Apparently, the customers preferred ready-to-eat pies. Papa Murphy's sales have been declining for the past few years and franchisees have been closing their weaker stores.

Hard Rock Cafe

For almost 50 years now, Hard Rock Cafe has been operating as a chain of theme restaurants. It's hard to imagine not seeing the rock and roll resto, but some locations in the United States have been shutting down. In May 2020, the downtown Houston location was permanently closed. 

Photo Courtesy: [Hard Rock Cafes]

Two Hard Rock Cafe locations in Phoenix and in California also put up the shutter earlier that year. In case, more stores lose customers in the United States, there are other branches to visit in more than 70 countries. 

Pappas Restaurants

Pappas Restaurants was named the best steakhouse in Texas in the December 2007 issue of Texas Monthly. At the time, it was certainly enjoying the fruits of brothers Chris and Harris Pappas' labor. The family-run business counted over a hundred restaurants since 1976. 

Photo Courtesy: [Pappas Restaurant Glen Burnie/Faceook]

In 2020, the remaining 90 Pappas restaurants nationwide cut down to 85 due to the pandemic. They permanently closed five of their 49 branches in Houston, which is the restaurant's hometown. That is roughly 10% of the company's holdings within its hometown.

Rubio's Coastal Grill

Rubio's Coastal Grill is a fast-casual Mexican chain that specializes in fish tacos. It was founded by Ralph Rubio, who was inspired to open a restaurant during a spring break with friends.The restaurant chain is not currently on the brink of closing down entirely, but they have shut down all 12 of their Colorado and Florida locations permanently because of the pandemic.

Photo Courtesy: [The San Diego Union-Tribune]

The company still has 170 restaurants in California, Arizona, and Nevada. They have stated that they will be shifting focus back to those core markets. 

Le Pain Quotidien

Famous for their long, wooden communal tables, international chain of bakery restaurants Le Pain Quotidien made its way to the United States in 1997. Since then, it has been offering freshly baked goods, salads, and sandwiches. Due to the coronavirus, LPQ has shut down more than half of its branches.

Photo Courtesy: [Wikimedia Commons]

By May 2020, the company filed for bankruptcy. Although with a signed agreement with the New York-based operator Aurify Brands LLC. it can now reopen 35 of its 98 locations.

Del Frisco’s Grille

Del Frisco's Grille is a popular steakhouse that has several awards and major metropolitan locations under its belt. Back in 2016, the company was still profitable and free of any serious debt. Come 2018, a whopping $325 million restaurant group purchase affected them for the worst. 

Photo Courtesy: [TheStreet]

A private-equity firm then bought Del Frisco's Restaurant Group in June 2019, then passed it over to Landry's restaurant group. This resulted to shutting down underperforming restaurants in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Massachusetts.

Tim Hortons

Before anything else, there is nothing to worry about quick service restaurant chain in Canada. It is only the Tim Hortons branches in the United States that might be on the brink of completely vanishing. As of 2019, they have been closing locations faster than opening them.

Photo Courtesy: [Pinterest]

Several Tim Hortons stores all over the 12 states they are operating in are seeing declining sales because of many factors. Some are closing up shop because of coffee competition with Starbucks and Dunkin', while some are having regionalization and franchisee problems.


PizzaRev is a Southern California-based chain that used to be a growing fast-casual pizza concept. According to reports, there was already a trouble in paradise even before the pandemic in 2020. There were 44 restaurants in 2016 but fell to 32 locations by 2019. 

Photo Courtesy: [Jonathan DeClaro]

The pizza chain has since then permanently closed down more than half of their locations, which were located in Los Angeles County and Las Vegas. PizzaRev is currently operating only 13 stores in the country.

Specialty's Cafe & Bakery

For 33 years, Specialty's Cafe & Bakery served as a soup, salad, cookie, and sandwich chain in California, Washington, and Illinois. Unfortunately, the bakery-cafe restaurant announced in May 2020 that it will close all 40 of their locations permanently. 

Photo Courtesy: [The Business Journal]

In their website, Specialty's Cafe & Bakery explained why they were disappearing entirely. “Current market conditions attributed to COVID-19 and shelter-in-place policies have decimated company revenues. We sincerely thank you for your business and support over the years," they said.

Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes

The first location of Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes opened its doors in 1978 in San Diego, California. With two different names, the self-service bar operated as a salad chain of all-you-can-eat buffet-style. In March 2020, all 97 locations temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Photo Courtesy: [Shutterstock]

Two months after, Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes has gone out of business. The chain succumbed to the challenge it was facing as they struggled to come up with a solution to their operational model. 

Dave & Buster's

The future of Dave & Buster's is not looking as bright as its video arcade machines. It is reportedly at a high risk of facing permanent closure. Unlike other restaurant chains, it does not offer delivery and takeout— an important factor in 2020's current pandemic situation. 

Photo Courtesy: [NWA Food]

Dave & Buster's also makes money from the games inside the restaurant so the temporary closure has greatly affected the company's revenue. With the company furloughing employees and considering selling stakes, it's not impossible that that they may go out of business. 

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