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These Beloved Restaurant Chains Have Permanently Closed More Than 600 Locations

COVID-19 has hit restaurants hard, but these national chains have arguably been hurt the most.
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The stay-at-home and quarantine guidelines designed to abate the coronavirus outbreak have hit most industries very hard. On the list of businesses decimated by the cratered U.S. economy, restaurants are near the top. While there are outlier examples of eating establishments making a successful pivot to takeout and delivery service, some estimates have only three in four eateries bouncing back from COVID-19.

It's not just independently owned and local eateries that have been financially crushed by the coronavirus; national chains have been hit hard as well. In fact, only four national chains posted a profit in the first quarter of 2020, which ended on March 31. So, it should be no surprise that a number of dining chains have shuttered outposts, but it is no less tragic. Here is a list of some of the biggest restaurant chains that are forever closing a number of locations.

1

IHOP

IHOP storefront
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According to an update from franchisor Dine Brands Global on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, roughly 340 IHOP restaurant units have closed since Dec. 31, 2019. CFRA Holdings, an IHOP franchisee that runs 49 restaurants across Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee, filed for bankruptcy on May 6. (Related: Check out The Best and Worst Menu Items at IHOP.)

2

Applebee's

Dine Brands Global also announced that 264 Applebee's Neighborhood Grill franchises have closed since the beginning of the year as well. (Related: Check out our list of 10 Best & Worst Dishes At Applebee's.)

3

T.G.I. Friday's

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TGI Fridays CEO Ray Blanchette told Bloomberg last week that the chain could permanently close up to 20% of its 386 restaurants around the country. (Related: Check out The Best & Worst Menu Items at TGI Friday's.)

4

Denny's

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The iconic American breakfast chain recently announced they would permanently close 15 locations. These closed Denny's locations were all operated by one franchisee: Feast American Diners. (Related: Check out The #1 Worst Menu Option at 76 Popular Restaurants.)

5

Steak 'N Shake

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The burger chain announced in early May that the chain would close 51 more restaurants. (Related: Check out The Best & Worst Menu Items at Steak 'n Shake.)

6

Ruby Tuesday

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Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday? Since the beginning of the year, the corporate restaurant chain has quietly closed nearly 150 restaurant locations. (Related: Check out The Best & Worst Menu Items at Ruby Tuesday.)

7

Le Pain Quotidien

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Last week, Le Pain Quotidien filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The chain will likely close all 98 of its stores. However, Le Pain negotiated a buyout with Aurify Brands, which has said it plans to reopen at least 35 locations.

8

Brio Italian Mediterranean and Bravo Italian Cucina

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The parent company of Italian bistros Brio and Bravo filed for bankruptcy in April, announcing it would close 71 of its 92 restaurant locations. Restaurant Business magazine reported that the company had already been struggling with declining sales and closed 10 locations in January 2020. For more, check out the 6 restaurants going bankrupt because of COVID-19 and what you can do to help.

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