Restaurant Chain Reaction

What used to be some of America’s favorite restaurants are now beginning to disappear. The push for small business and the stereotypical millennial love for obscure and trendy independent restaurants are putting chain restaurants unfairly out of business.

Applebee’s parent company, Dine Equity, signaled its intent to permanently close between 40 to 60 Applebee’s restaurants during the first quarter. Fortune.com predicts the number to be even higher in 2017 with roughly 105 to 135 locations being closed.

Applebee’s is not alone. Friendly’s has removed multiple locations, including restaurants in the Capital District area. Chain restaurants on the whole are taking a hit as consumer preference shifts away from the recognizable favorites.

A restaurant should not be judged by how many of them there are. Rather than condemning chains for their success and multiple locations, consumers should appreciate that it offers them a greater chance of visiting a quality eatery no matter where they may be. The issue at hand is not only the increased support for independent restaurants but customer gravitation toward more quick-serve eateries, such as Panera Bread. According to a USA Today article, customers find the quick service and perceived “healthier options” to be more appealing than the once-popular casual, sit-down dining chain restaurants.

Chain restaurants not only offer good quality food, but are also able to offer a wide variety that will pacify even the pickiest eater in the group. At the end of the meal, it is more likely that the bill will be a little smaller at a chain restaurant.

Eateries like Applebee’s and IHOP have been the staple comfort food restaurants for many people. These shifts are causing them to decrease the number of locations they are able to offer. What used to be a simple tradition to drive to your favorite local chain now may turn into a fairly lengthy road trip of an hour or so due to these shutdowns.

You do not miss something until it is gone. As these locations close, people are soon going to realize they had taken some of America’s favorite chains for granted.

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