USA Outdated Burger Chains to Make a Comeback

USA Outdated Burger Chains to Make a Comeback

USA Outdated Burger Chains to Make a Comeback

While the burger has been relatively stable throughout its history, the companies that sell it have had to innovate in order to keep customers satisfied. Innovation and change are never easy, and the pandemic has taught restaurants that if they want to survive, they must roll with the punches.

Even the largest businesses can become stagnant if they fail to keep up with changing customer attitudes and circumstances, as these former burger lords have demonstrated. Fortunately, they may still be able to make a comeback.

Will these previous fast-food behemoths, however, be able to shake off their current mediocrity? Here are some of the once-popular burger joints that have struggled to stay up with the ever-changing burger landscape.


Friendly's was founded in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1935. The chain celebrated the pre-war local diner ambiance and was a beloved nostalgia-inducing American institution, specializing largely in burgers and shakes.

Unfortunately, Friendly's stuck on an out-of-date design with no plans to update it. Without delivery or curbside options, it struggled throughout the pandemic. It has previously suffered difficulties due to the economic downturn, high ice cream pricing, and customer concerns about food consistency.

Friendly's declared bankruptcy in 2020, after several difficult years. However, thanks to an acquisition by Amici Partners Group, which owns Red Mango, Smoothie Factory, and several other chains, the company was able to keep all 130 stores operating.


Krystal, a Southern fast-food behemoth, ran into financial difficulties in 2020, filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The slider chain's sales have dropped 11% since 2019 because of the epidemic.

The company said about the bankruptcy, "The actions we are taking are aimed to enable Krystal to develop a stronger business for the future and to achieve a restructuring in a rapid and effective manner."

Since the depression, the chain had been serving the same little square hamburgers, and it was evident that it needed to be revitalized. Krystal has been trying to enhance its image by introducing new menu items such as chicken sandwich upgrades, new breakfast dishes, and better fries.

steak-n-shake storefront

Steak 'n Shake, which is ninety years old, has been battling fierce burger competition for decades. Last year, the restaurant was on the verge of going bankrupt when it unexpectedly paid off a loan just weeks before it was due. Following that, the chain filed a lawsuit against its lender, Fortress Investment Group, alleging that the business plotted to seize control of its assets at that time.

Prior to its legal troubles, Steak 'n Shake's prospects were poor. "There are no certainties that Steak 'n Shake will be able to return profitability," CEO Sardar Biglari stated in a 2019 annual shareholder letter, according to Restaurant Dive.

As bleak as the burger chain's future appeared to be at the time, there were several issues accumulating outside of its unpaid loans.


For a brief moment, it appeared like even the "World's Greatest Hamburgers" wouldn't be enough to salvage Fuddruckers.

During the pandemic, the chain's parent firm, Luby's, was heavily damaged. When Black Titan Franchise Systems came in and bought Fuddruckers just before the ship went down, the Texas-based cafeteria business was in the midst of its liquidation proceedings. Fuddruckers was able to live another day thanks to the buyout.

The chain has been concentrating on reviving its physical presence. It revealed plans to open ten new retail malls around the country this year, including one in Fresno, with a ghost kitchen to collect more delivery and to-go orders.


A&W had more locations than McDonald's in the early 1970s. Customers may have cold mugs of A&W Root Beer and probably the first bacon cheeseburgers in the industry at the all-American fast-food establishment.

Over the years, the company has had numerous different identities. From a beverage stand to a family restaurant, Yum! Brands eventually bought the company in 2002. It was co-branded with KFC, Long John Silver's, and Taco Bell fast-food establishments during its time with Yum!, which, combined with increased competition in the burger market, caused it to lose its uniqueness.

The brand began to falter as a result of certain poor marketing moves (such as selling third-pound burgers to customers who may have been less mathematically knowledgeable than planned).

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