5 restaurant chains making the biggest comeback right now – Eat This Not That

Everyone loves a good comeback story, and for the restaurant industry, it’s no different. Whether it’s a major national franchise returning to its roots or a small regional chain collapsing and realizing its full potential, “comeback story” is the top-selling menu item , without exception.

The fall/return cycle is a common phenomenon in the US restaurant industry and shows no signs of abating. Here’s a look at five top restaurant chains that are making the biggest comebacks right now.

And don’t miss 4 big burger chains that are falling out of favor with customers.

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Applebee’s has been around since 1980 and in its more than forty years in business has seen more than its fair share of ups and downs. As broken down by The Company Man, Applebee’s was in a slump for much of the 2010s, with little to no footprint growth, an acquisition by IHOP, and a failed rebranding effort in 2016 (remember those wood-fired and hand grills). Cutting steaks?). But “Eatin’ Good in the Neighborhood” has made a comeback in recent years, following the success of drink offerings like Dollarita and Dollar LIT, the consolidation of the chain’s U.S. footprint, and the expanding off-site sales.

“The brand is extremely well positioned right now to thrive, thrive – use whatever term you want,” said chairman John Cywinski. FRS magazine. “Our franchisees are more excited than they have ever been. I have a great set of 30 franchise partners, so we are poised for continued growth and better positioned than at any point in my last term. five years here.

I jump

Like countless other sit-down family restaurants, IHOP has been hit hard by the pandemic. Slumping sales forced the chain to close nearly 100 restaurants in the United States, and S&P Global Market Intelligence ranked IHOP’s parent company, Dine Brands Global, among the top five restaurant companies most likely to default. on their loans.

IHOP has held firm, however, and over the past year has made great strides in adapting its business to an offsite dining model: About a quarter of the chain’s sales in the last quarter were takeout. and to deliver, on par with its performance. at the height of the pandemic. IHOP also plans to launch a duo of new virtual brands: Thrilled Cheese and Super Mega Dilla.


The Chicago-based sandwich chain has struggled in recent years. Sales have been declining for about five years and hit new lows in mid-2021. Just a month ago, NASDAQ warned investors against buying Potbelly stock, which has lost 57% in value since 2017.

But recently, business is picking up. In its most recent quarter, Potbelly recorded an increase in sales of more than 30%. Share prices rose, with investors receiving a 21% return over a twelve-month period. And the chain expects growth to continue as it plans to expand its franchising operations and expand its footprint to 2,000 restaurants over the next ten years.

golden corral
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One of the biggest comeback stories of the pandemic, Golden Corral single-handedly proved that buffets have a future in the restaurant industry in the United States. But it wasn’t easy – the chain saw its number of stores drop from a peak of 483 in 2019 to just 250 buffets in operation last year (some locations have been converted into cafeterias instead). Golden Corral has had to bail out its own franchisees with deferred royalty payments, and the CEO is still hoping for a second round of restaurant relief funding.

But all told, “America’s #1 buffet” is now, in 2022, back on track. The footprint is currently back up to around 360 units and off-site sales are up, thanks to investment in third-party delivery providers. There are even plans to launch a new casual sister brand, Golden Corral Steakhouse.

jack in the box

The California-based burger chain has thrived during the pandemic, attracting higher-income customers, increasing sales and even gaining new customers in the process. A recent growth spurt has helped Jack in the Box’s footprint expand by 201 restaurants. With a project of more than 6,000 restaurants by 2030, the regional brand has every intention of becoming a major national player in less than ten years.

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