5 Outdated Burger Chains Attempting to Make a Comeback

But can they really win us over again?

EAT THIS, NOT THAT! – These former burger barons have shown us that stagnation can happen to even the biggest chains if they fail to keep up. Fortunately for them, a comeback may still be on the horizon.

1. Friendly’s

Friendly’s was founded in 1935 in Springfield, Mass. Unfortunately, Friendly’s clung to a dated design without plans for improvement. After several challenging years, Friendly’s finally declared bankruptcy in 2020.

However, the company managed to keep the doors open at all 130 locations. In 2021, Friendly’s started plotting its comeback by revitalizing the menu with new burgers and trending salad options.

2. Krystal

Southern fast-food giant Krystal fell on hard times in 2020, causing it to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The company has since modernized its operations with a smaller, more efficient restaurant design and improved its drive-thru functionality.

3. Steak ‘n Shake

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Ninety-year-old Steak ‘n Shake has been struggling for decades. Customers cited a decline in the quality of service and food. Long wait times were also causing issues.

To fix these issues, the company recently started on a path of “radical transformation.”  The chain upgraded its restaurants to an advanced self-service model, doing away with servers and installing order kiosks.

While keeping its traditional menu staples cheap (an original double Steakburger with cheese and fries still costs $3.99 as it did in 1997) and paying employees more, Steak ‘n Shake hopes to refresh its image.

4. Fuddruckers

For a moment, it seemed like even the “World’s Greatest Hamburgers” weren’t enough to save Fuddruckers from extinction.

The chain has been focusing on revitalizing its footprint. This year it announced plans to expand in ten new shopping malls nationwide. While the chain is still working to get its legs under it, the comeback is underway.

5. A&W

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In the early 1970s, A&W had more locations than McDonald’s. The all-American fast-food chain was known for serving customers with frosty mugs of A&W Root Beer and possibly the first bacon cheeseburgers in the industry.

Coupled with some poor marketing decisions (including selling third-pound burgers to customers who may have been less mathematically savvy than expected) the brand began to struggle.

However, when Yum! Brands finally decided to sell off both A&W and Long John Silver’s in 2011 due to poor sales, the chain started to improve sales as franchisees took back control … READ MORE. 

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