As more fast-casual chains crop up, some of the classic chain restaurants have been facing tough times amid the stiff competition. Many are shuttering underperforming locations every year to cut their losses — and it could just be a matter of time before there are no locations left.
GOBankingRates rounded up 24 restaurant chains that have closed locations in recent years — from 2017 through today — and that now have fewer than 1,000 locations remaining in the U.S. Find out if your favorite chain is on the verge of extinction.
Last updated: April 9, 2020
- 2019 closures: 4
PizzaRev closed all three of its Memphis, Tennessee, locations in 2019, Commerical Appeal reported, as well as one location in Boulder, Colorado, Eater Denver reported. The make-your-own pizza chain now has just 27 locations remaining in the U.S.
- 2019 closures: 4
A combination of bad customer reviews, poor health inspections and nosediving revenue led to the closure of four Michigan Tim Hortons in 2019, The Michigan Journal reported. The Canadian coffee chain still has 592 locations in the U.S., including 206 remaining locations in Michigan, according to ScrapeHero data.
- 2019 closures: 8
Pie Five closed eight locations in February 2019 following falling same-store sales, Restaurant Business reported. That left the chain with 65 locations, down from 100 two years prior.
- 2019 closures: 6
Eat ‘n Park closed five locations in Ohio and one in Pennsylvania in February 2019, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. The closures left the restaurant chain — known for its Smiley cookies and Superburgers — with 61 remaining locations.
McCormick & Schmick's
- 2019 closures: 6
McCormick & Schmick’s was purchased in 2012 by Landry’s, the parent company of Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, Rainforest Cafe, Morton’s The Steakhouse and others, and since then the chain has been on a steady decline. The upscale seafood and steak chain closed at least six locations in 2019, according to MoneyWise. There are now 28 remaining McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood & Steak locations listed on the company’s website.
- 2019 closures: 7
Seven Roy Rogers locations closed in 2019, according to MoneyWise. The Western-themed fast-food chain — which at one point had over 600 locations — now has just 48.
- 2019 closures: 10
Perkins & Marie Callender’s Holding LLC filed for bankruptcy protection in 2019 for the second time in eight years as its restaurants continued to suffer from lower customer traffic and rising food and labor costs, Reuters reported. The bankruptcy resulted in several rounds of restaurant closings, which included 10 Perkins in 2019, MoneyWise reported. There are now 317 Perkins locations across 32 states and Canada.
- 2019 closures: 10
In 2019, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers announced that it would be closing 10 underperforming restaurants — including seven in enclosed mall locations — as it worked on a turnaround at the brand, Nation’s Restaurant News reported. Its mall locations had been notoriously underperforming.
Currently, there are around 560 Red Robin restaurants across the United States and Canada.
- 2019 closures: 11
In July 2019, the Luby’s restaurant brand — which oversees Luby’s Cafeteria, Fuddruckers and Cheeseburger in Paradise — announced plans to establish new cost structures and grow traffic and sales while closing some of its existing stores, QSR reported. As part of this reorganization, it shuttered 11 Fuddruckers. There are now 40 remaining locations.
- 2019 closures: 12
O’Charley’s closed a dozen restaurant locations between July and September 2019, and a total of 24 since 2016, Nation’s Restaurant News reported. Although the Southern casual dining chain’s CEO did not give a reason for the closing, systemwide sales had dropped nearly $30 million between the 2017 and 2018 fiscal years. About 160 O’Charley’s locations remain throughout the Southeast and Midwest.
Other Problems: The Classic Brands You Love Are in Trouble
- 2018 closures: 14
At the end of 2018, Fiesta Restaurant Group, the parent company of Pollo Tropical and Taco Cabana, announced that it would be closing 14 Pollo Tropical restaurants in Florida and Georgia due to their lackluster earnings. The Pollo Tropical locations that were closed contributed about $4.6 million in pretax operating losses during the previous 11 months. There are no more Georgia locations remaining, though there are about 150 locations throughout Florida.
- 2019 closures: 15
Kona Grill filed for federal bankruptcy protection in May 2019. It announced that it was closing 15 unprofitable locations as it tried to find a buyer, Restaurant Business reported. The company — which had 46 locations at the end of 2017 — now has 24. It was purchased by the ONE Group Hospitality, Inc., in September 2019, MarketWatch reported.
- 2019 closures: 17
Amid increasing losses, Luby’s closed 17 underperforming restaurants during fiscal 2019, Restaurant Business reported. There are 78 remaining locations.
- 2019 closures: 19
Marie Callender’s started as a local pie shop in Orange County, California, back in the 1940s. The chain — which closed 19 locations in 2019, according to MoneyWise — has 28 restaurants remaining across the U.S.
- 2020 closures: 19
In January, Fiesta Restaurant Group announced that it would be shuttering 19 Taco Cabana locations as part of its margin improvement plan.
“These closures eliminate all stores with significant losses, which we expect will result in a highly viable portfolio of restaurants,” Fiesta president and CEO Richard Stockinger said in a press release.
There are now 38 locations across Texas and New Mexico.
Potbelly Sandwich Shop
- 2019 closures: Up to 22
Potbelly launched a recovery plan in 2019 that included a revamped menu, an expansion of in-house delivery with DoorDash and a focus on product innovation, Nation’s Restaurant News reported. Despite these shifts, the company still took a downturn. To get things back on track, the CEO announced in May of that year that Potbelly would be closing 15 to 22 stores, including eight that had already been closed earlier in 2019.
The Chicago-based sandwich chain now has about 400 company-owned shops and about 40 franchised shops in the United States.
- 2019 closures: 23
As part of a planned brand overhaul in 2019, Friendly’s closed 23 of its corporate-owned restaurants throughout the Northeast, National Restaurant News reported. After the closings, 174 locations remained.
Check It Out: Here’s How Much Restaurants Mark Up Your Food
- 2019 closures: 26
Ruby Tuesday shut down at least 26 of its restaurants in 2019 after closing 51 locations the previous year, MoneyWise reported. The home of the Endless Garden Bar now owns, operates and franchises 486 locations across the U.S. and the world.
- 2019 closures: 34
TGI Fridays closed 34 of its restaurants in 2019 following its merger with Allegro Merger Corp., a special purpose acquisition company, Today reported.
“These closures were a strategic decision based solely on business demands,” the company told Nation’s Restaurant News in a statement.
As of February, there were a total of 831 TGI Fridays restaurants around the globe, though less than half — 385 — are in the U.S.
Joe's Crab Shack
- 2017 closures: 41
Ignite Restaurant Group, the parent company of Joe’s Crab Shack and Brick House Tavern, filed for bankruptcy protection in early June 2017. Two months later, the company had closed 41 Joe’s Crab Shack locations, including all of its locations in Indiana and Michigan, FSR reported. At the time the company filed for bankruptcy there were 112 Joe’s Crab Shack locations — there are now 53.
- 2019 closures: 45
As part of a restructuring process, Boston Market closed 45 of its locations — 10% of its units — in 2019, Restaurant Business reported.
“We must take steps to ensure our operational structure will support long-term sustainability,” CEO Frances Allen said in a letter to employees obtained by Restaurant Business. “Part of that effort involves continuously analyzing our geographic footprint and real estate portfolio to assess the ongoing viability of locations.”
About 350 Boston Markets remain in the U.S.
Noodles & Company
- 2017 closures: 55
A disappointing 2016 led to closures of 55 Noodles & Company locations in 2017, Nation’s Restaurant News reported. However, the fast-casual chain announced that it would be opening 14 to 17 locations in established markets that same year.
There are about 450 Noodles & Company restaurants remaining.
- 2017 closures: Over 100
Quiznos had 4,700 U.S. locations in 2007 and fewer than 400 just 10 years later, Restaurant Business reported. The most recent batch of mass closures seems to have taken place in 2017 when the chain closed over 100 of its remaining locations, Nation’s Restaurant News reported. The closures came as the struggling sandwich brand was purchased by High Bluff Capital Partners.
As for how the chain lost 90% of its units in a single decade, Restaurant Business explains it as “a perfect storm of bad decisions and bad luck. Quiznos had a bad business model, a tough competitor [Subway], a devastating recession and a leveraged buyout.”
As of 2017, 374 locations remained.
Steak 'n Shake
- 2020 closures: 107
In February, Steak ‘n Shake “temporarily” closed 107 locations with plans to reopen “most of them” without waitstaff, according to Restaurant Business. According to the industry news site, “it is uncertain how many of the restaurants will be reopened and when.”
Financial troubles have been mounting for the chain, with same-store sales declining every year for the past three years and operating losses for 2019 reaching $18.6 million. Just 261 company-operated locations remain open, as well as 242 franchise locations.
More From GOBankingRates
- 24 Ways To Make This Week’s Paycheck Go Further
- Here’s How Much Cash You Need Stashed if an Emergency Happens
- 100 Ways To Make Money Without a 9-to-5
- 21 Smartest Ways To Invest Your Money Right Now