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Are Chain Restaurants an Idea Whose Time Has Passed?

Kaos

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Are Chain Restaurants an Idea Whose Time Has Passed?
« on: May 14, 2024, 10:35:12 AM »
Time was there was little better family outing than a trip that ended at one of America's major chain restaurants. 

O'Charley's. Chili's. Applebees. Red Lobster. TGIFridays. Shoney's. Ruby Tuesday. iHop (or Howard Johnson's) for breakfast. Later additions like Longhorn's, Texas Roadhouse, Logan's, Olive Garden, Wild Wings, Outback and others added to the mix.

Lately, though, more of those seem to be shuttering than thriving. iHop disappeared years ago from here. So, too, did Shoney's. O'Charley's in Mobile and Daphne abruptly closed with no notice to staff.  Yesterday the Red Lobster in Mobile closed. Again with no notice to staff, just "bye."  The Chili's in Mobile suffers from a dingy interior and indifferent staff. I haven't darkened the door of an Applebees for years because of the same.

I remember when buffet chains used to dot the landscape.  Ryan's/Quincy's. Piccadilly. Morrisons. Western Sizzlin'. Various Chinese buffets under a variety of localized names. Those have all but vanished now. Only Golden Corral hangs on and the last time I was in one of those it was DIS-GUS-TING.

Is it changing tastes? Is it a product of less patience in a digital world? Or is it just mis-management?  I'll admit that my last experience with all of these places -- Shoneys, Applebees, Chilis, Outback, TGIF, Red Lobster, iHop, Ruby Tuesday -- had the same "never go back" markers. Dirty interiors. Filthy carpet. Unappetizing food choices. Slovenly staff. Poor service. Unclean dishes. Poorly prepared microwave quality food. I've recently encountered the same with Outback, Logans, and Olive Garden. No intention of going back to those places.

Is the day of the restaurant chain over?  Will they, too, become dinosaurs like the buffets have?
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wesfau2

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Re: Are Chain Restaurants an Idea Whose Time Has Passed?
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2024, 10:53:08 AM »
It's hedge fund ownership.  They squeeze everything for max profit, quality falters and the business fades.
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Re: Are Chain Restaurants an Idea Whose Time Has Passed?
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2024, 11:38:51 AM »
Agree with Wes. Over time, quality has dropped. Back in the 90’s & early 2000’s? Those places were the bomb. These days, I prefer the locally owned eateries on the rare occasion that we go out to eat. Chains (dine in) are going the way of Blockbuster/Movie Gallery, pay phones, & old school arcades.

I would say movie theaters, but that might just be my little family. Last movie I went to see in theaters was Avengers: Infinity War when it came out as a special premier at a work function. I need to take my kiddo to one once she learns to sit still and quiet for a couple hours to see if it still carries the same magic… more so for her than for me.

I do miss those experiences, especially from my childhood. The sad truth? Even if I went to those places, it wouldn’t cure the itch because of how far they have all fallen.
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Snaggletiger

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Re: Are Chain Restaurants an Idea Whose Time Has Passed?
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2024, 03:01:56 PM »
I don’t think the chains are fazing out.  Here in little ole Dothan, we’ve had them all, from Applebee’s to Outback to Texas Longhorn etc.  We’ve had a few drop by the wayside, like O’Charley’s and TGIFridays.  For the most part, they’re still here. 

The problem is two-fold.  Here in the Wiregrass, we have waaayyy too many restaurants for it to be sustainable for everybody.  Some are just simply not going to make it from a numbers standpoint.  The other is overall service.  I don’t care who you are, whether it’s a national chain, or the mom and pop diner down the street.  If you don’t make it a good experience from a service and food perspective, you will lose business.  Way too much competition, and the prices are too high all around.  So, if you don’t keep your game stepped up, and up to date, you’re not going to make it. Doesn’t matter if you’re a chain.

There are some here,  like Outback, Logan’s, Cracker Barrell, Olive Garden, Texas Longhorn…if you don’t get there early, just grab a buzzer and enjoy a smoke or six, if that’s your thing. You’re going to be there a while.  Others, like O’Charley’s and TGIFridays closed their doors.  Never updated.  Never had anything special that made you want to come.  Too much competition, so they closed. 

Bottom line is, with the prices everybody is charging, you have to be on your game and make people want to come back.  If that’s not important to you, you won’t stay in business.
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GH2001

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Re: Are Chain Restaurants an Idea Whose Time Has Passed?
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2024, 03:35:50 PM »
Assuming you mean, full service rest chains, yes. Wes actually nailed it dead on. I hate when we agree. Wait, I like it. Wait....I don't know. QSRs will probably never die because it's relatively cheap and its fast/convenient. But for FSR, no one wants to pay for that anymore with the return you get now (crappy food, crappy service, bad interiors, high prices).

Last time I went to Red Lobster was just atrocious. I didn't want to go but had a nice gift card. I think Thai Union Group  owns them and a few others. All equally plastic cookie cutter. Darden Group may be the worst of them all.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2024, 03:38:45 PM by GH2001 »
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Re: Are Chain Restaurants an Idea Whose Time Has Passed?
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2024, 03:49:14 PM »
Assuming you mean, full service rest chains, yes. Wes actually nailed it dead on. I hate when we agree. Wait, I like it. Wait....I don't know. QSRs will probably never die because it's relatively cheap and its fast/convenient. But for FSR, no one wants to pay for that anymore with the return you get now (crappy food, crappy service, bad interiors, high prices).

Last time I went to Red Lobster was just atrocious. I didn't want to go but had a nice gift card. I think Thai Union Group  owns them and a few others. All equally plastic cookie cutter. Darden Group may be the worst of them all.

This guy knows. He’s stayed at a Holiday Inn a time or 2.

Let’s all have a moment of silence for how wrong Snags was.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2024, 03:55:19 PM by Snakebite »
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GH2001

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Re: Are Chain Restaurants an Idea Whose Time Has Passed?
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2024, 04:13:14 PM »
This guy knows. He’s stayed at a Holiday Inn a time or 2.

Let’s all have a moment of silence for how wrong Snags was.

Not that there is anything wrong with profit but these groups that buy these restaurants put it first and foremost, above everything. Quality, Service matters secondary. When you put profit up there solo as your driving factor for everything and get that linear with that aspect, there is the irony that it will be the biggest thing that suffers. Thats what has happened here.
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WiregrassTiger

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Re: Are Chain Restaurants an Idea Whose Time Has Passed?
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2024, 04:16:33 PM »
This guy knows. He’s stayed at a Holiday Inn a time or 2.

Let’s all have a moment of silence for how wrong Snags was.
The first problem is that he doesn’t know what in the fuck he’s talking about, no matter what the subject is.

He tries to act like he’s an authority on Dothan. I was born in Dothan and by God still pay taxes in Dothan. I know a lot of people in Dothan and all kidding aside, they have no idea who he is.

Other than the cable acces advertisements that air at 3 a.m. for people inside the circle, he is relatively unknown outside of his immediate family.

I recommend going to Carey and Hamner Google reviews and stating just how fucked up someone’s representation will be if they hook up with them. Just because they are cheap is not a good reason to sign up with these motherfuckers. I recommend stating this very clearly. But maybe leave the motherfuckers off of the end.
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Snaggletiger

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Re: Are Chain Restaurants an Idea Whose Time Has Passed?
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2024, 04:21:10 PM »
The first problem is that he doesn’t know what in the fuck he’s talking about, no matter what the subject is.

He tries to act like he’s an authority on Dothan. I was born in Dothan and by God still pay taxes in Dothan. I know a lot of people in Dothan and all kidding aside, they have no idea who he is.

Other than the cable acces advertisements that air at 3 a.m. for people inside the circle, he is relatively unknown outside of his immediate family.

I recommend going to Carey and Hamner Google reviews and stating just how fucked up someone’s representation will be if they hook up with them. Just because they are cheap is not a good reason to sign up with these motherfuckers. I recommend stating this very clearly. But maybe leave the motherfuckers off of the end.

Do you ever post anything of substance, or is it the same old constant stream of trying to be funny bullshit? Let me answer that for you.
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GH2001

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Re: Are Chain Restaurants an Idea Whose Time Has Passed?
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2024, 04:29:55 PM »
The first problem is that he doesn’t know what in the fuck he’s talking about, no matter what the subject is.

He tries to act like he’s an authority on Dothan. I was born in Dothan and by God still pay taxes in Dothan. I know a lot of people in Dothan and all kidding aside, they have no idea who he is.

Other than the cable acces advertisements that air at 3 a.m. for people inside the circle, he is relatively unknown outside of his immediate family.

I recommend going to Carey and Hamner Google reviews and stating just how fucked up someone’s representation will be if they hook up with them. Just because they are cheap is not a good reason to sign up with these motherfuckers. I recommend stating this very clearly. But maybe leave the motherfuckers off of the end.

well......damn

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WiregrassTiger

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Re: Are Chain Restaurants an Idea Whose Time Has Passed?
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2024, 04:32:58 PM »
Do you ever post anything of substance, or is it the same old constant stream of trying to be funny bullshit? Let me answer that for you.
I have posted both. Have you posted either? Let me answer that for you.
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Snaggletiger

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Re: Are Chain Restaurants an Idea Whose Time Has Passed?
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2024, 04:40:40 PM »
A piece from an article in 2023.  Not Fox News.

DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - O’Charley’s closed its Dothan location Sunday, a sign on its door confirms.

The message gave no reason, but the Nashville-based restaurant chain has scaled back dozens of locations in the past few years.

Those closures come as experts point to decreased casual restaurant traffic, increased competition, and labor issues.

O’Charley’s is not the only restaurant of its kind to close in Dothan, so have TGI Fridays and Ruby Tuesday in recent years and, before, Hooter’s failed to make it.

Decreased casual restaurant traffic.  Can be due to a lot of things. You could point to pricing, but that's not limited in any way to the sit down dining chains.  It costs too much at Wendy's, Five Guys and just about anywhere you want to eat.

Increased competition.  See my post above.  We have well over 300 restaurants in Dothan, which is about 100 too many.  Many restaurants, including big chains, will close because the population here simply won't support it.

Labor issues.  Has anybody been paying attention lately? We've gotten to the point where just filling out a staff has become a near impossibility.  And the work ethic of those willing, or having to work, has deteriorated so much, it's sometimes better to not even have them

Here at our firm, we've been going through years of constant turnover.  Don't get me started with the lack of character and work ethic of those that have come and gone.

The article above mentioned Hooters closing here.  Sad day, but that place has been gone so long, the building is falling in.  There are still numerous big chain restaurants here that seem to be thriving.  I still maintain that if you bust ass to make the dining experience enjoyable, you'll succeed.   
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WiregrassTiger

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Re: Are Chain Restaurants an Idea Whose Time Has Passed?
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2024, 05:06:52 PM »
The “not Fox News” was a somewhat humorous touch which is virtually non existent from you. But I would imagine that the reason for that was not so much to attempt humor but more likely to save Wes from beating the fuck out of you.
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GH2001

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Re: Are Chain Restaurants an Idea Whose Time Has Passed?
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2024, 06:26:22 PM »
A piece from an article in 2023.  Not Fox News.

DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - O’Charley’s closed its Dothan location Sunday, a sign on its door confirms.

The message gave no reason, but the Nashville-based restaurant chain has scaled back dozens of locations in the past few years.

Those closures come as experts point to decreased casual restaurant traffic, increased competition, and labor issues.

O’Charley’s is not the only restaurant of its kind to close in Dothan, so have TGI Fridays and Ruby Tuesday in recent years and, before, Hooter’s failed to make it.

Decreased casual restaurant traffic.  Can be due to a lot of things. You could point to pricing, but that's not limited in any way to the sit down dining chains.  It costs too much at Wendy's, Five Guys and just about anywhere you want to eat.

Increased competition.  See my post above.  We have well over 300 restaurants in Dothan, which is about 100 too many.  Many restaurants, including big chains, will close because the population here simply won't support it.

Labor issues.  Has anybody been paying attention lately? We've gotten to the point where just filling out a staff has become a near impossibility.  And the work ethic of those willing, or having to work, has deteriorated so much, it's sometimes better to not even have them

Here at our firm, we've been going through years of constant turnover.  Don't get me started with the lack of character and work ethic of those that have come and gone.

The article above mentioned Hooters closing here.  Sad day, but that place has been gone so long, the building is falling in.  There are still numerous big chain restaurants here that seem to be thriving.  I still maintain that if you bust ass to make the dining experience enjoyable, you'll succeed.

It's a value thing. No one wants to wait, spend that amount of time and pay for that return from a full service place. Food is average, overpriced, service is awful, and it sounds like a small thing but im with K - the insides are dingy as shit now.

Quick Service is a different animal because it's gonna be quicker, cheaper and more convenient. Even at their worst, it's not much time or money lost. Low risk low reward. I am just not going to waste 50-70 mins of my life shaking my head at Applebees or TGIF wishing I had not walked in the door. I think that is where everyone is.

FSRs got way too saturated into cities when economic booms happened, mostly driven by their owners as Wes mentioned. Thats great as long as the labor market is good and people want to spend money like there is no tomorrow. But eventually people get tired of that, especially when economic times get more uncertain. You're seeing that perfect storm right now - bad economy/spending power, crappy restaurants, oversaturation, poor mgt form the top.
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Kaos

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Re: Are Chain Restaurants an Idea Whose Time Has Passed?
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2024, 09:18:11 PM »
Agree with Wes. Over time, quality has dropped. Back in the 90’s & early 2000’s? Those places were the bomb. These days, I prefer the locally owned eateries on the rare occasion that we go out to eat. Chains (dine in) are going the way of Blockbuster/Movie Gallery, pay phones, & old school arcades.

I would say movie theaters, but that might just be my little family. Last movie I went to see in theaters was Avengers: Infinity War when it came out as a special premier at a work function. I need to take my kiddo to one once she learns to sit still and quiet for a couple hours to see if it still carries the same magic… more so for her than for me.

I do miss those experiences, especially from my childhood. The sad truth? Even if I went to those places, it wouldn’t cure the itch because of how far they have all fallen.
[/quote

I've seen a few arcades making their way back, but as bars for adults. 

Speaking of, Dave and Busters (which I thought was over) is about to build a huge place in Mobile.  Why?   Badly overpriced menu, bland food,  ambivalent service. 
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GH2001

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Re: Are Chain Restaurants an Idea Whose Time Has Passed?
« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2024, 09:33:55 PM »
Dave and busters is fun, has great marketing, sports on TVs and a bar. And they always seem to be changing up things inside. Overpriced as shit though. But it’s enough to survive.

Also, quote function 1, k 0
« Last Edit: May 14, 2024, 10:11:42 PM by GH2001 »
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Re: Are Chain Restaurants an Idea Whose Time Has Passed?
« Reply #16 on: May 14, 2024, 10:32:27 PM »
Quote
I've seen a few arcades making their way back, but as bars for adults. 

Speaking of, Dave and Busters (which I thought was over) is about to build a huge place in Mobile.  Why?   Badly overpriced menu, bland food,  ambivalent service.


On that subject, Auburn has up’d its entertainment. Good Times, Bunkers, Axe Marks the Spot (Opelika), etc.

The next X gate should start at one of those spots. I think we are going to remember what it feels like to win again a bit more in 2024.
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CCTAU

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Re: Are Chain Restaurants an Idea Whose Time Has Passed?
« Reply #17 on: May 14, 2024, 11:17:41 PM »
The only determining factor today is cleanliness. The food at most places, if they are managed halfway decently, is usually good. But too many places let their restaurants get older and a bit dingy looking. I’m usually forgiving because I like tasty food and don’t really worry about if the carpet is not as vibrant as it used to be. Applebees is the worst at this. My wife? Won’t go back. She’s not alone. And Darden is not universally the worst. It depends on local management. When I lived in Woodstock GA, all of the Darden places were spotless and always full. The only chain casualties there were Ruby Tuesday and OCharley. And they let those places get rundown thinking people would come anyway. They didn’t. Keep it clean and fresh, and people will continue to come. I’m not sure why it’s so hard for some places to figure out.
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4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.
5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friends, is the beginning of the end of any nation.

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Re: Are Chain Restaurants an Idea Whose Time Has Passed?
« Reply #18 on: May 15, 2024, 12:51:13 AM »
i can't believe any of y'all would remotely think the food was good back then...service surely was better and the carpet was new back then.  it's a date night, bourbon steak,  oreo shake with two straw kind of place.

and to anyone that went to red lobster thinking of let's go have a seafood dinner should be ashamed.  the all you can eat shrimp and snow-crab didn't help the cause either.  good for the lard asses not so
much for the bank.

and it's all about food trucks now. 
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wesfau2

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Re: Are Chain Restaurants an Idea Whose Time Has Passed?
« Reply #19 on: May 20, 2024, 01:02:03 PM »

Last time I went to Red Lobster was just atrocious. I didn't want to go but had a nice gift card. I think Thai Union Group  owns them and a few others. All equally plastic cookie cutter. Darden Group may be the worst of them all.

Relevant in light of RL's bankruptcy filing:

Details from Red Lobster’s bankruptcy filing are wild and so much mismanagement:

▫️$1B in debt, $30m in cash
▫️Previous PE owner sold land and leased it back to Red Lobster at “above market rates”
▫️$20 Endless Shrimp cost it $11m but the interesting part is that one of the chain’s owners is Thai seafood firm Thai Union (which also owns Chicken By The Sea) and it may have used Endless shrimp to dump its own shrimp supply through the 578 restaurants in North America
▫️Thai Union became the only Red Lobster shrimp vendor, overcharging for shrimp and skipping quality reviews (Thai Union has written off its $500m+ investment)
▫️Red Lobster has had 5 CEO in the last 5 years (!!!)
▫️Sales down 30% since 2019

https://x.com/TrungTPhan/status/1792580920106467425
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You can keep a wooden stake in your trunk
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And Imma keep a bottle of that funk
To get motel parking lot, balcony crunk.