Fast food restaurants have been around for about 100 years now. In that time many establishments have came and went. The fast food business is highly competitive and only the very best survive. Here’s a bunch of old fast food chains that didn’t make it.
Many of the fast food chains listed on this graphic were smaller, with only a handful of restaurants, but some achieved great scale before succumbing to the competition. We’ll take a look at the fast food chains that gained national prominence and then disappeared.
Chi’Chi’s was a Mexican restaurant that grew to a whopping 210 locations nationwide by 1995. By 2004 it had filed for bankruptcy and subsequently had the largest Hepatitis A outbreak in United States history. A sad ending to a family favorite dinner spot.
Yes, Walgreen’s used to have a chain of casual dining restaurants called Wags. It was a 24 hour diner, similar to waffle house and IHOP. These diners operated from 1970-1991. There is no reason given for why Walgreen’s began selling their restaurants, but it is likely because they were not as profitable as their pharmacy business and the corporation wanted to focus on growing their pharmacies. Many of the former Wags locations are now IHOP’s.
Steak and Ale was world famous for their extremely cheap steaks. You could get a steakhouse filet for just $1.95! This might explain why they filed for bankruptcy in 2008. At it’s height Steak and Ale had 280 locations which they opened between 1966 and 2008.
The fast food industry as a whole as started to reform itself and offer some healthier options. Americans are able to find keto fast food options, healthier low calorie options, and even vegan options at just about every fast food establishment these days. It will be interesting to see who continues to innovate and who falls behind and eventually has to close its doors.