Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Beloved Restaurant Chains We Might Sadly Lose In 2020

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No, we can't say for certain that these restaurants will be gone for good in 2020.

After all, many of them are revamping their menus and business models in the hopes of

staying afloat.

But will they succeed?

Here are some chains that might be closing in 2020 unless things turn around.


Well, perhaps a pop into Perkins will do the trick.

"Hi, I'm Jenny, your server, and I believe this is yours."

"No, I ordered the omelette."

"Oh I'm sorry, I'll just..."

"Oh nuh nuh nuh nuh no.


That looks really good."

But good luck finding a Perkins restaurant.

As of November 2019, there are only 300 Perkins locations scattered throughout the United States.

While it's unlikely that every location will be boarded up by the end of 2020, the restaurant

chain has definitely seen better days.

Perkins is in financial trouble.

In August 2019, Perkins & Marie Callender's Inc., which merged in 2006, filed for bankruptcy

protection, and 10 underperforming Perkins restaurants were closed.

Business isn't exactly on the upswing, either.

In September 2019, the restaurant group split after 13 years of partnership, and now Perkins

is part of the Waffle House knockoff Huddle House.

The brand has blamed dwindling guest traffic, minimum wage hikes, and the labor market for

its struggling restaurants.

Those struggles, though, have been going on for years.

Filing for bankruptcy protection, closing multiple restaurants, and ending a once successful

business relationship?

None of this suggests good things are on the horizon, but perhaps it isn't all doom and gloom.

Huddle House is reporting pretty strong business, so maybe some of that energy can be transferred

over to Perkins.

We wish we could tell you Marie Callender's is in good shape, but unfortunately, that's

not the case.

In fact, it's safe to say Marie Callender's is seriously struggling right now, so gather

ye pot pies while ye may!

"The warm, home-cooked happiness of Marie Callender's pot pies.

So delicious because we start from scratch!"

There are only 28 Marie Callender's restaurants still operating, and it's worth noting that

there were nearly twice as many locations still open in 2017.

It doesn't take a mathematician to see that this spells bad news for a brand.

In August 2019, the brand lost 19 locations, but a Salt Lake City location did later reopen.

So there's that?

While Marie Callender's has been around since the 1940s, it was clearly the weaker link

in the partnership with Perkins.

Perkins was sold to Huddle House for $51.5 million, but Marie Callender's fetched a far

lower price, selling for just $1.75 million.

It wasn't picked up by another brand, but it was purchased by a new company that named

itself Marie Callender's Inc.

The brand is having a tough time competing with similar chains such as the Black Bear Diner.

Long story short, if you have a Marie Callender's in your town, enjoy it while you can.

Rotisserie chicken restaurants aren't exactly spreading like wildfire these days, and even

Boston Market is struggling to stay afloat.

In fact, numerous locations are on the chopping block, even though the chain offers slow-roasted

chicken that's free of antibiotics.

"In a world of fake, fried and frozen, Boston Market promises to make food good."

In July 2019, the company announced that 10 percent of its stores would be closing for good.

In a letter, CEO Frances Allen claimed these closures were necessary, writing that:

"We must take steps to ensure our operational structure will support long-term sustainability.

Part of that effort involves continuously analyzing our geographic footprint and real

estate portfolio to assess the ongoing viability of locations."

Unfortunately, sales were down in 2018, too.

In fact, Boston Market's financial troubles go back at least 20 years.

Before Boston Market was bought and subsequently sold by McDonald's, the chain filed for bankruptcy

in 1998.

The company is clearly hoping to turn things around, offering a new loyalty program, menu

additions, and a revised branding strategy to accompany mobile ordering.

Only time will tell if this bird is cooked for good.

In 2017, Food Business News declared a "burger boom," with growing chains like Habit Burger

Grill on the rise.

Surely a "burger boom" would be great news for an established gourmet burger chain like

Red Robin, right?


Better stock up on all your favorite breakout burgers while you still can!

"From the Red Robin kitchens, destined to be a breakout burger!

The El Ranchero, with candied bacon, onion straws, and a jalapeno ranch kick."

Sadly, Red Robin is currently struggling to stay afloat.

In fact, sales have been slipping at the chain for some time.

In early 2018, the chain announced it would be cutting overhead costs by getting rid of busboys.

John Gordon, an analyst at Pacific Management Consulting Group, was simply beside himself

over the move, telling Nation's Restaurant News:

"It was just atrocious.

We knew that was going to screw up the customer flow and...sure enough, it did."

In June 2019, Nation's Restaurant News reported that,

"Red Robins stock [is] trading at about $31 a share, down from $55 in early January 2018."

By November 2019, the chain had a net loss of $1.8 million, despite an uptick in same-store

sales at certain locations.

Traffic was down at restaurants, but the average customer's check was up.

That might count as a small win.

Nevertheless, execs at Red Robin suspended its refranchising program, claiming the idea

would be revisited when the numbers looked a bit better.

Although the company recently brought on a new CEO, Red Robin is still a long way away

from flying high.

Make no mistake: Tim Hortons is still doing well quite well in its native Canada.

In fact, Restaurant Business reports that 80 percent of Canadians visit a Tim Hortons

location at least once a month.

Unfortunately, its United States locations aren't doing quite so hot, despite, or perhaps

because of, special Mother's Day promotions like this:

"I think it's very important to recognize moms, because moms are the heart and soul

of communities."

And to think that almost half the chain's American locations are just a stone's throw

away from Canada.

Sadly, many U.S. locations are reportedly closing up shop due to a distinct decline

in sales.

Factors reportedly include regionalization and problems, plus intense competition from

other chains like Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts.

As of November 2019, Tim Hortons can be found in twelve states, but locations seem to be

closing left and right.

Half of its Minnesota stores closed in Spring 2019, followed by closings in Michigan and

Ohio later that year.

Tim Hortons has plans to expand to Europe, Mexico, and Asia, but its future success in

the U.S. remains murky at best.

In August 2019, research analyst Miranda Lambert told CNBC:

"Anywhere where Starbucks and/or Dunkin hasn't completely taken over, I think might actually

be a better fit for them."

Well, that pretty much cancels out the entire United States, doesn't it?


Why not head over to the nearest Steak 'n Shake and treat yourself to a fabulous feast?

"A Steak 'n Shake burger tastes different because it's fresh."

"There's a love that marinates in your mouth."

But if you're indeed craving Steak n' Shake, you may want to head over there as soon as possible.

After all, the closure of 100 restaurants is never a good thing for a chain, even if

those closures are supposedly "temporary."

By September 2019, Steak 'n Shake had closed over 106 restaurants, and the chain lost a

staggering $861,000 in the year's third financial quarter, according to QSR Magazine.

In 2019, the beloved diner, known for its shakes and steak burgers, cut a quarter of

its company-owned restaurants.

But at least Steak n' Shake lost less money in 2019 than it did in 2018.

Nevertheless, the chain is basically bleeding cash.

In fact, November 2019 marked the 12th straight period of floundering sales, according to

Indiana Business Journal.

Steak 'n Shake tried to shape up in 2018 by launching a plan to move every company-owned

restaurant to the franchise model.

Sadly, it seems this initiative barely got off the ground.

So far, only four of these 100-plus restaurants have reopened under franchise partnerships.

Who knows?

Perhaps your local Steak 'n Shake will reopen in 2020.

Perhaps not.

If you happen to live near a Steak 'n Shake that is still in business, we strongly urge

you to order your favorite steak burger while you still can.

It might be a good time to cue up Mick Jagger singing "Goodbye Ruby Tuesday."

Because the American chain of the same name has been seriously struggling lately.

"I say Ruby, you say…"

"Can I just eat?"

"And dessert to share!"


"Dinner for two at Ruby Tuesday!"

Between August 2017 and January 2018, Ruby Tuesday closed over 100 locations due to a

significant decline in dine-in traffic.

We wish we could report that this famous bar and grill has once again become a bustling

suburban hotspot, but no.

There were even more closures in 2019, and now, there are only 460 locations left.

That's quite a drop from the 950 Ruby Tuesday restaurants that existed a decade ago.

The powers that be at Ruby Tuesday have certainly tried turning things around: They've brought

in numerous CEOs and revamped the chain's menu several times.

So far, nothing has worked.

While it's unlikely that the remaining 460 Ruby Tuesday locations will all close in 2020,

we do expect that number to keep dwindling.

Friendly's went through some tough times in 2019, and 2020 isn't looking much brighter.

In April 2019, the chain closed 23 of its restaurants in the Northeast.

Higher-ups at the company blamed the closures on slow sales, claiming that people were reaching

for healthier options instead of scarfing down endless ice cream sundaes.

Hard to say whether or not there's any truth to that assertion.

But for whatever reason, several more restaurants closed in Massachusetts and New York in November

and December 2019, leaving staffers in the dust.

"Former Friendly employees now demanding answers after a shutdown shocker."

In a statement, a spokesperson for Friendly's said that,

"As shifting consumer demographics and market dynamics present challenges across the industry,

it is incumbent on us to regularly evaluate our restaurant footprint with a focus on long-term

viability...Unfortunately, in some cases, this process results in the difficult decision

to close underperforming locations that can no longer be sustained by the local market.”

Sadly, we strongly suspect 2020 will be another tough year for this American diner and ice

cream parlor.

In this day and age, delivery apps and fast-casual seem to be the dominating trends in the food

industry, and cafeterias are quickly going the way of the video store.

Chain cafeterias like Luby's are starting to become a forgotten relic of the past, and

the Texas-based eatery has recently fallen upon tough times.

"Luby's is an institution.

It kind of feels like home to me?

I know what to expect at Luby's, and it's always a warm environment."

Well, even though Luby's has been a Texas tradition for over 65 years, its sales have

been declining, and several locations have closed up shop.

In July 2019, the brand shuttered several restaurants in an attempt to pay off a hefty

amount of debt.

Yes, it turns out the company is financially in the hole, to the tune of $35.9 million.

That's an awful lot of money, and Luby's declining sales can't be helping.

CEO Chris Pappas admitted in November 2019,

"We are not pleased with our shareholder value, same-store sales, guest traffic results, or

corporate overhead."

According to Restaurant Business, the company started to explore what they called "strategic

alternatives" back in September 2019.

And what would such strategies entail?

Hard to say, but we suspect that means they're trying to sell the brand.

If so, even more locations could close as a result.

According to the Small Business Trends website, pizzerias are one of the most profitable restaurant

formats today.

Sadly, that doesn't seem to be helping the pizza chain Pie Five.

The company has only been around since 2011, and it might not last long into the new decade.

The Dallas-based chain has shrunk by about 40 percent: Two years ago, there were 100 locations.

As of December 2019, there are only 58 locations that are still open.

Meanwhile, sales at the pizzeria continue to slip each fiscal quarter.

In September 2019, Pie Five's parent company Rave Restaurant Group brought in former Noodles

& Company executive Scott Black.

In an announcement, the company said:

"Scott is assisting us in sharpening our distinctive service model to create a guest experience

that capitalizes on the customization, approachability, and speed of dining with Pie Five."

The company also landed new CEO Brandon Solano in October, who believes the restaurant's

trouble boils down to the fact that nobody really knows all that much about it.

"Pie Five went wrong from the beginning.

Consumers dont know what Pie Five stands forIf all you stand for is, 'Hey, we sell

pizza,' you are in deep weeds."

Solano and a research firm are reportedly trying to figure out how to make Pie Five

more appetizing to potential customers.

Perhaps they should start by adding the word "Pizza" into the name somewhere.

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The Description of Beloved Restaurant Chains We Might Sadly Lose In 2020