Check, Please! 10 Big Restaurant Chains That Are Falling Off the Menu

In the past 10 years, some of America's biggest food chains have seen their sales cut by more than half.

Former American staples such as Big Boy, Ponderosa and Bennigan's have been unable to keep luring in customers, and they've closed hundreds of locations nationwide.

Blame stale brands or menus that desperately need updating. Blame a focus on cuisines that have lost their luster. (Sorry Damon's and Tony Roma's, barbecue just isn't hot anymore.) Blame disruptive newcomers bringing more excitement to old ideas. (Goodbye, TCBY; hello Pinkberry!)

Of the 10 large restaurant chains that suffered the biggest declines between 2001 and 2011, eight have filed for bankruptcy. Those chains were then either purchased or resumed operations only once they had emerged from bankruptcy. But reinvigorating any of these brands will be an uphill battle.

Here they are: America's 10 biggest disappearing restaurant chains.

Methodology: Based on sales data provided by Technomic, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 10 restaurant chains that had 60% or greater declines in the number of actual store locations operating from 2001 to 2011. In order to identify the chains that were once the biggest, restaurants had to have sales of at least $225 million in 2001 and experience 50% or greater declines in sales over the same period.

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Spend your money and time making dinner for your family (share in the work) and get back to the family dinner each night where you ALL get a chance to talk about the day. This CORNERSTONE of "Family" has been passed over for way too long. BE A FAMILY!! Enjoy the privacy of your home and TALK.... COMMUNICATE!!

December 21 2012 at 11:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

ho ho ho merry christmas it's gonna get worse thanks to the liberals.

December 17 2012 at 11:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You forgot Marie Callenders.
Yes, the poor economy plays a role since eating out requires some discretionary income. Our family shifted from frequent casual dining to an occasional take-out order once the prices at restaurants escalated, due to increased food and commodity prices and an increased expectation in tipping (15% tip was standard 20 years ago and now there is some expectation that 20-25% is standard).
On the plus side, I can truly say that my family has never eaten better since we returned to home cooking!

December 17 2012 at 9:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
The Wise One

I suppost that you can get a true picture of these restaurants' tenuous hold on economic survival when you do not even notice that they have disappeared from the landscape and closed. Restaurants today must be EXTREMELY nimble and adaptible to the changing tastes of American diners and the gyrating ups and downs of this Obama failing economy. When they are hide bound and restricted by corporate red tape, branding and a complete lack of flexibility, that is an extremely difficult job to pull off. I very rarely frequent ANY restaurant anymore as I am more than content to fix my own delightful and tasty meals at my home, where I am assured of their quailiy, fresh ingredients, lower salt and fat content and the wonderful adventure of researching the cuisine and preparing it myself. There is no unnecessary waiting, no bad attitude or service, no unearned tipping and no fighting to get in or out of the parking lot at peak service times. The biggest thing happening in contemporary food today appears to be street food prepared and served out of food trucks and trailers. Overhead is low, labor costs are manageable and menu flexibility is the order of the day in order to capture that niche market and clientele. I would like to see more of that in my home town. I might just be tempted to take a bite.

December 17 2012 at 8:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I can definetly live without chain restaurants.They're all pretty much the same with their overpriced,mediocre food.When I do go out to eat,it's at local places. By far,much better than any chain out there.

December 17 2012 at 5:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wow I thought ponderosa left in the 80's

December 17 2012 at 1:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Bad food, bad service, bad managment. The three biggest reasons for restaurant failure, and all of these places had at least two out of three.

December 16 2012 at 11:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's obvious that Blimpie has not been run right for years. As I grew up(I'm soon to be 58) Blimpie was the popular sandwich. Never heard of Subway. Blimpie drifted away allowing it's competition to take over the market. If it were not for baseball commercials most people probably wouldn't even know that Blimpie even existed. It's a real shame. I always felt that Blimpie was a much better sandwich by far. They probably can't afford to run TV commercials every five minutes like Subway.

December 16 2012 at 10:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Oh Great One!

Ground Round - oh boy that's a name from the past. I didn't think any of them were still open. We had a Damon's in town that closed without notice just before Christmas a few years ago, leaving many people out of work just before the holidays. What about Friendly's? Another one bites the dust. Kind of sad.

December 16 2012 at 9:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Im copeing with this economy by enjoying my kitchen.

December 16 2012 at 8:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply