4 Nearly Forgotten Restaurant Chains Make a Comeback – Eat This Not That
Sometimes in the heyday of a trendy restaurant chain, it’s easy to forget that nothing lasts forever. Times and tastes change and if it’s not flexible, a chain may look up and wonder where all the customers have gone.
While some things can be out of a restaurant’s control (like a global pandemic), other issues could be solved by paying a little attention to changing customer preferences. Whatever the problem, an empty dining room requires the same solution – a comeback strategy worthy of our attention.
While you may have forgotten about those once-popular chains, especially with all the new and awesome options vying for your hungry attention, these restaurants think they’ve got what it takes to win your heart back. Here’s what they have on their plates.
When COVID-19 hit, the last thing Americans wanted to do was share a buffet dinner with 50 strangers. At the time, queuing to give a ladle while collectively leaning over a steaming platter of pork in sauce seemed unimaginable.
Inevitably, Golden Corral was hit hard. Between 2020 and 2021, the chain closed 124 restaurants. Before that in 2018, the company had 489 locations, meaning it lost around a quarter of its footprint, according to FRS magazine.
Two years is a long time in restaurant years and buffets have started to feel like a thing of the past. It’s only now, post-pandemic, that the recent search for value after soaring inflation has given these cafeterias an unlikely revival, especially for Golden Corral.
“The emotions were so strong because after the past two years and what our company has been through, for us to be recognized was really a validation of all the hard work and effort and how our team showed up. rise to the occasion,” Lance Trenary, CEO of Golden Corral, said FRS magazine.
Trenary says the return is largely due to Golden Corral’s focus on value, despite inflationary pressures. Even though many other restaurants reduce portions or quality, “Golden Corral still mixes its meatloaf, chops the meat, cuts the steak, breads the chicken, and spends 12 hours cooking the roast,” he says.
Future plans include expanding the “GC Grill House”, which is a steakhouse spin-off based on entrees from the famous buffet. The chain also has tentative plans for a fast-casual version with drive-thru. While buffets may have made a comeback, Golden Corral has plans for the future that may or may not fit buffets.
No one was playing games during the pandemic. At least not in densely populated amusement and arcade establishments like Dave & Buster’s.
In 2020, after a tumultuous few years, the brand announced that it was considering bankruptcy. It had laid off 1,300 workers and reported an 87% drop in same-store sales in the second quarter of that year, according to FRS magazine.
Just when it looked like the ‘entertainment’ aspect might disappear from the map, the first vaccinations debuted just in time and helped lift restrictions later that year, saving the channel from a filing at the chapter 11.
When the economy opened up, many customers felt a renewed desire to socialize and Dave & Buster’s was the perfect place to do it. On the verge of collapse, the arcade restaurant turned around to see record sales.
This year, Dave & Buster’s revenue grew 24% to a record $451.1 million. That’s almost double last year’s revenue and well above 2019’s $363.6 million. Additionally, the company recorded new highs in net profit and 800,0000 downloads for its program. loyalty program in the first quarter, according to FSR.
In order to maintain the upward momentum on its return, the channel has a few things in store. He is “enhancing its late-night vibe” with DJ sets coupled with an economical menu, and the launch brand new arcade gamesincluding virtual reality entertainment based on popular films such as Transformers and Top Gun: Maverick.
The company is also seeking in sports betting— which should become more and more popular in the next few years.
When Hooters debuted his signature look in 1983, “breastaurants” weren’t exactly a thing, but would soon become an international sensation. Over the years, the brand has experienced many difficulties and controversies.
Whether Hooters has aged well is a matter of opinion, but the fact that he has survived this long is a testament to his resilience. When recession, pandemic, labor shortages and then rising chicken wing prices spelled disaster for Hooters, the chain thrived despite the odds. That doesn’t mean he didn’t feel the effects.
The chain peaked in profits before the recession when in 2007 its turnover was $960 million. In 2008 Hooters had 400 locations, but in 2016 it closed 15% of its footprint. When the pandemic hit, the restaurant saw sales drop by around 30%. While it has not yet returned to its 2007 levels, whether in 2019 Where 2022revenue this year has improved for the company.
Part of this may have to do with Hooters’ comeback strategy.
The channel unveiled a brand new fast casual spinoff Hoots– which was designed to appeal to wing fans rather than other aspects of the channel. Additionally, the restaurant began to focus on the sporting aspect of the restaurant, announcing that it was launch sports betting in the states where it was available.
Although the channel has a long way to go to regain its former position, it seems that it is working on rebranding itself.
Bennigan’s Restaurant is an Irish pub-themed American casual dining chain that was founded in 1976. In its heyday, there were more 300 Bennigan’s restaurants worldwide. Then, in 2008, a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy wipes out Bennigan’s 150 company restaurants. The remaining 138 franchises have been reduced to 70. There are 9 national sites today — with two “On The Fly” quick-service restaurants.
Although Bennigan’s hasn’t recouped its physical losses after bankruptcy, it doesn’t even seem to want to. In fact, the company has completely reoriented itself for the better. In some ways, it doesn’t even operate in the same field anymore.
While Bennigan’s is known for its iconic casual eateries, the brand changed course when it partnered with REEF Neighborhood Kitchens, a ghost kitchen empire, in 2021, according to FRS magazine.
Bennigan’s comeback strategy has so far been successful, as REEF itself has seen strong upward momentum. The business has grown from 50 pre-COVID kitchen centers to nearly 300 in July 2021.
Some once-struggling restaurants, like Bennigan’s, have taken refuge here as “New-stalgia” for delivery, according to Bennigan CEO Paul Mangiamele in an interview with FSR. He says he’s found success with a clientele that wants the chance to “recreate the intimacy of Bennigan’s product” and that ultimately, “retro is back.”