Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ten Vanishing American Restaurant Chains

There is not really much I can add to this story from MSNBC, other than to say that at one time or another I've dined at about seven of the ten restaurants on the list. It's true that all were in trouble even before the economic crisis hit, and not one is really any great loss...other than for those employed there, that is.
There is a school of thought that says the restaurant business is always a good business — people need to eat. A glance at the sales of many of America’s largest restaurant chains over the past decade quickly dispels this myth. Using data provided by food industry research firm Technomic, 24/7 Wall St. has looked at the ten restaurant chains with the greatest decline is sales from 2001 to 2010. In every case, sales have fallen 60 percent or more.

“Many prominent chain restaurant brands have lost ground with sales over the last decade. As many American consumers gravitate toward a more contemporary dining experience and more exciting menu options, traditional restaurant chains are losing relevance,” Darren Tristano, Executive Vice President of Technomic, told 24/7 Wall St. in an e-mail. “Today’s successful restaurant operator is challenged with keeping their menu fresh, their customers’ experience exciting and their concept contemporary.”
There is more detail at the link, but here are the unlucky ten:
1. Bennigan’s Grill & Tavern

2. Ground Round Grill & Bar

3. Bakers Square

4. Damon’s Grill & Sports Bar

5. Don Pablo’s

6. Gloria Jean’s Coffees

7. Big Boy

8. Tony Roma’s

9. Country Kitchen

10. Black Angus Steakhouse


  1. Big Boy. I remember growing up with that resturant as a boy in Michigan. Used to see them in every good-sized town with that familar statue outside. I am sorry to see them go. But not at all surprised. Recently I went thru a city here in Illinois and saw another resturant closed up that had been in business for years and was almost a landmark. All the buffet chain's had finally done them in.

  2. @defshepard - Big Boy is probably the one I have the most fond memories of as well. Early in my career I wasn't earning very much but was on the road quite a bit. Good ol' Big Boy never let me down as far as a filling meal at an affordable price. In fact, when I was still young and thin I used to love their cheesecake. :)

  3. As a kid I'd hang out at Big Boy in Palatine, IL. I also fondly remember when Baker's Square (also in Palatine) was Poppin' Fresh :-)

    P.S. - Bill, you've been posting a lot lately and I haven't kept up. Just wanted to express my gratitude for your 'must see video' post regarding globalization and Sir Goldsmith. Sadly, most people don't bother to watch the entire thing though it's well worth watching. I think it's an important vid historically so we can understand where we are today. Thank you!


  4. Yes, when I was young my parents used to treat us children to a Big Boy meal. Their food used to be very good and filling.

  5. Hello Bill, hope you're having a good rest.

    Not really relevant to this post, but I thought this would give you a kick: Canon of St Paul's Cathedral chases away police, not protestors:

    Mariette (London, UK)

  6. “Today’s successful restaurant operator is challenged with keeping their menu fresh, their customers’ experience exciting and their concept contemporary.” - BS, fact is it's only the wealthy who can afford to eat out now, these are mid-priced diners that working-class people used to eat in.

  7. @C0ZMIK_N0MAD - No problem, and that YOU for sending the video. It actually challenged my views Goldsmith, and I'm always up to having my views challenged.