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7 Popular Restaurant Chains Struggling to Survive

Time will tell to see how the pandemic affects these well-known eateries, long-term.

It's no secret that the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted many aspects of life, and that includes restaurants. While many are doing their best to stay in business, offering up curbside pickups and delivery services that customers are happily ordering, there are just some beloved eateries that won't make it out of this time still standing. And that goes for popular restaurant chains, too.

So which are having the hardest time coping right now? Here is a breakdown of seven restaurant chains that are struggling. And to make sure you're staying in-the-know, be sure to sign up for our newsletter to get the latest coronavirus foods news delivered straight to your inbox.


Friendlys restaurant

The restaurant chain is best known for ice cream sundaes to indulge in alongside a burger and fries. And while the food may bring on a wave of nostalgia for customers, it has actually been dealing with financial difficulties for quite some time. In 2019, 23 locations were closed, which made for a 25 percent decline in locations since 2018. The pandemic isn't helping, as the remaining locations in various states such as Massachusetts and Connecticut have had to lay off workers during this time.


IHOP storefront

While the breakfast chain is known for dishing up stacks of pancakes you typically can stop in at any time for, adjusting to life during the pandemic hasn't been easy for IHOP. The chain has seen multiple locations shutter their doors the last few months, with some locations citing curbside pickups as unfortunately not doing much to improve business.

Ruby Tuesday

ruby tuesdays storefront
Jaimieandkyleshootstock / Shutterstock

Sadly, Ruby Tuesday is one casual-dining chain that has been struggling for some time now. So it's easy to see why the pandemic has just made things harder with declining sales and more locations permanently closing.



Houlihan's is another chain that had already been dealing with tough times, with its parent company filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Landry's bid $40 million to acquire the chain, but time will tell if they limited amount of locations now will keep all their doors open.

Joe's Crab Shack

Joes crab shack

Joe's Crab Shack is currently offering up takeout and delivery, but more of their locations have been closing up. One location recently closed after falling behind to pay $10,000 in rent because of the pandemic and another location in Delaware that had been open for 17 years closed its doors at the end of April. Things aren't looking up for the family-friendly, casual seafood chain.

Dave & Buster's

Dave busters

Dave & Buster's is the chain perfect for guests looking for some fun alongside their meals, as it serves as an arcade and a restaurant. But all their 137 locations had to close their doors, furloughing more than 15,000 during this time. Hopefully, these closures will just be temporary.

Hard Rock Cafe

Hard rock café
Hard Rock Cafe Nice/Facebook

The Hard Rock Cafe has locations all throughout the U.S. in major cities, as it's often a dining experience tourists like to take part in when they're on vacation. The chain has seen better days; it's been reported that these restaurants—along with their hotels and casinos—are going to take a year to possibly get business back to how it once was. The Foxwoods Hard Rock Cafe alone furloughed 68 employees because of the pandemic.

Eat This, Not That! is constantly monitoring the latest food news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed (and answer your most urgent questions). Here are the precautions you should be taking at the grocery store, the foods you should have on hand, the meal delivery services and restaurant chains offering takeout you need to know about, and ways you can help support those in need. We will continue to update these as new information develops. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date.
Eat This, Not That!
Inspired by The New York Times best-selling book series, Eat This, Not That! is a brand that's comprised of an award-winning team of journalists and board-certified experts, doctors, nutritionists, chefs, personal trainers, and dietitians who work together to bring you accurate, timely, informative, and actionable content on food, nutrition, dieting, weight loss, health, wellness, and more. Read more about Eat This