Over the span of just the last few decades,restaurant franchises have become a significant source of revenue in prevalent consumer culture in the United States. Age-old chains and eateries dominate the highways and shopping centers, but it seems that for every success there is an equivalent failure. Hundreds of restaurants have gone belly up over the years,in some cases, after reaching fairly high levels of success and fame. The higher you are, the further you fall. The following is a useful article about some of these restaurants, which you might not even remember since they seemingly fell off the face of the planet.
1. Gino’s Hamburgers
Does anyone remember the football hall of fame member, Gino Marchetti? He opened the first Gino’s Hamburger of his namesake, way back in 1957. When the ’70s came around,Gino had opened over 300 more locations, and he eventually sold the chain to Marriott in the early 1980s. After the sale, Marriott swiftly converted all Gino’s Hamburger restaurants into Roy Rogers joints. In 2010, however, GinoMarchetti made his triumphant return, opening up a slew of brand new Gino’s Hamburger locations.
2. Burger Chef
Forget McDonald’s; At one point in America’s rich, restaurant history, Burger Chef rivaled old Ronald McDonald, with literally thousands of locations allover the nation. In fact, Burger Chef is responsible for a time-tested stape of American fast-food service, introducing the kids’ meal with a toy deal. Due to particularly bad business practices, Burger Chef eventually went under and was sold to Hardee’s back in 1981. Since then, Hardee’s keeps up with some of the traditions Burger Chef set in place during its heyday.
3. Bob’s Big Boy
Bob’s Big Boy was famous for its double-decker burgers and the classic Big Boy you still see on roadsides all over America, which has now been rebranded as Frisch’s Big Boy. The original Bob’s Big Boy is still gasping for life,however, in only about 100 locations across California and the Midwest.
As a pioneer of American casual dining and sports-bars, Bennigan’s was sold several times before filing for bankruptcy in 2008, in the wake of larger chains like TGI Friday’s, Apple bee’s, and Chilies. New ownership has maintained around 23 locations in the United States, which still serve customers even today.
5. Ponderosa and Bonanza Steakhouses
Owned by the same parent company now, Ponderosa and Bonanza Steakhouses were once operational in over a hundred locations nationwide. Today, however, the combined number of both reaches just below 20, as the chains flounder in the industry.
6. Charlie Brown’s Steakhouse
Charlie Brown’s expanded rather rapidly out of New Jersy during the 1980s and 1990s, but the corporation eventually went out of business. Some franchise owners keep the name alive, though their numbers are sparse and scattered.
Naugles ran from around 1970 to 1995, attaining prestige status in its 25-year lead as a Mexican fast-food eatery. With the motto, “prepare food fresh, serve customers fast, keep the place clean,” Naugles operated in hundreds of locations in the United States by the mid-1980s. The final establishment closed its doors in 1995, located in Carson City, Nevada. In 2015, an entrepreneur revived the chain, opening two locations in California, so there might still be hope for Naugles.
Named after Sam Battistone and Newell F. Bohnet, Sambo’s was started in 1957.Eventually, the name caused a bit of controversy, as a derogatory term for African Americans, which forced the company to shut its doors. The chain’s mascot, Lil’ Black Sambo, didn’t help the owners when denying any racist motivation, so Sambo’s ceased to exist after establishing around 1,000 locations across the nation. Some were sold to Denny’s while others were simply closed for good.
9. Kenny Rogers’ Roasters
The country music star’s restaurant imprint was launched in 1990 but closed down after failing to break into the market. Nathan’s bought the company in 1998, but the chain was immortalized in the popular television comedy,Seinfeld.
10. Minnie Pearl’s Chicken
Kenny Rogers wasn’t the only country musician interested in the food industry.In the 1960s, Minnie Peal’s started off without a hitch, becoming a success with almost 500 locations opened. The ambitious franchise disintegrated,however, due to not having cohesive menus or consistent recipes. Within a few short years, Minnie Pearl’s eventually dried up.
11. The All- American Burger
Featured in the classic ’80s film, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, The All-American Burger went from regional fast-food status to industry staple. The final location finally closed in 2010, giving it a fairly long life.
12. White Tower
Does White Tower sound familiar? Fans of slider burgers should instantly recognize the name. The first White Castle was opened in 1921 and become one ofthe first really popular fast-food chains in America. White Tower was born as an imitation of White Castle, copying its menu, style, advertisements, and architecture. There were around 230 locations in America, but the chain eventually suffered from legal action taken by the original White Castle chain.
Opened by the NFL superstar, Max McGee, and MArno McDermitt, Chi-Chi’s offer customers a variety of Mexican-style food. As other restaurants offered similar food, but with larger varieties and tastes, the chain eventually simmered to a close. In 2003, the final nail in the coffin came in the form of a hepatitis outbreak, which killed three customers. Yikes!
Lum’s was started in Florida in 1971 and became famous for beer-steamed hot dogs. The restaurant spanned over 400 locations at one point but was sold to Kentucky Fried Chicken for $4 million. The final Lum’s closed back in 2009.
15. Steak and Ale
This restaurant was truly ahead of its time, offering customers cheap steak and a salad bar. Eventually, the chain’s success caused its own demise, when other restaurants, like Steak and Shake, took their concept and innovated it,improving upon the model they invented. Steak and Ale lasted quite a long time,however, finally closing their last location in the early 2010’s.
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