Joe Biden’s economy is claiming more victims. I have been saying that restaurants don’t just compete against each other, they compete against home kitchens. When it becomes too expensive to dine out, people begin cooking more at home. That is what it looks like is happening.

Just in the last year, franchisees and chains under the umbrellas of Red Lobster, Chipotle, Taco Bell, Tijuana Flats, Burger King, Hardees, Popeye’s, Wendy’s, McDonald’s, and Denny’s have filed bankruptcy.

It’s getting worse.

Categories: economics


Bear Claw · April 21, 2024 at 12:01 pm

You can see a lot of it here,

It’s always worse than the msm reporting.

Jester · April 21, 2024 at 12:10 pm

And que all the idiots saying that now 20 bucks an hour to screw up my order stating they can’t afford anything anymore, still. Though the prices have gone up quite high they are not coming down even if the cost of food tapers, the energy costs out there are still stratospheric. I’m down to 50% of my heating and electrical use as I was in the BC (Before Covid) times. The bills are 200 percent where they were in the BC times still. It’s coming.

Dirty Dingus McGee · April 21, 2024 at 1:11 pm

The problem is compounded for folks who travel out of town for work. I’m co-owner of a small business that does a lot of out of town work. We recently had to raise our per diem rate to $55 per day per man. It’s nearly impossible to get a breakfast for less than $15, same for a decent lunch. That leaves you $20-$25 for dinner. Four years ago our per diem was $30 per day and the guys could eat well for that. If things keep going on the current rate, by the end of this year we likely have to go to $70-$75 per day.

Another side effect is the service and quality at many restaurant’s. While the crowds may be less, so is the amount of help. Wait time is longer, food is sometimes cold by the time it’s delivered due to one waitress having more tables. And I have noticed a decline in quality at the mid price restaurants. It’s easy to tell that some items have been sitting under a heat lamp for too long or that a different cut of meat is being used. They are doing what they feel they have to to remain competitive, but in the long run it will also fail. Lousy food/service=less customers.

    Sailorcurt · April 23, 2024 at 2:33 pm

    Yup. It seems to be universal. The quality of service in all the service industries seems to be going to crap. The higher the pay in these industries goes, the more entitled and surly the workers in them seem to get.

    I used to hate self-checkout lines, but it’s getting to the point that I prefer the personality of the machine over any human being running the cash registers these days.

    And quality of food service is absolutely abhorrent. I guess they’re overworked and exhausted, but knowing why the service sucks doesn’t make it suck any less, nor does it make me any more inclined to endure it.

nick flandrey · April 21, 2024 at 2:04 pm

Almost all of the Church’s Chicken stores in my area have closed. I thought it was all of them but recently saw one that was still open. Even Jack in the Box has closed stores, mostly in the crappier parts of town. And Jack only takes two people to run at night when they close the dining room, one cook, one cashier.

I’m seeing a lot more illegal dumping and graffiti tagging that doesn’t get cleaned up by the city either.

One place I am seeing growth is businesses catering to one particular flavor of invader or another. Columbian jeans stores. Guatamalan restaurants with no english on the sign. Other national restaurants with no english signs – not trying to bring in US customers, only fellow nationals. I’m seeing lawyers advertising on billboards that they can get you papers, even if you case is difficult because of multiple entries or criminal history.

I’m seeing what I suspect is trafficking with roadside sellers, and ladies working to pick thru the bins at the Goodwill Outlet for things to resell. Seriously tatted up gangsters keeping a close eye on them..

And joy of joy, there is apparently a MS-13 CHURCH on the I-45 frontage road near Hobby Airport.

The invasion and takeover is real.

nick flandrey · April 21, 2024 at 2:07 pm

In case anyone doubts that last bit, the google streetview shows it clearly and they have a freaking website.


Rockets On The Battlefield · April 21, 2024 at 3:08 pm

The impossible living conditions to bring about the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Never mind that we’re already there with Mob Rule cemented during the Orenthal James Simpson trial.
Everyone dependent on mommygov and their bankster EBT cards leading to CBDC is the plan.

anonymous coward · April 21, 2024 at 6:23 pm

For those of you, like me, that have become the newly poor, I recommend Aldi’s. You’ll need to change your menu a bit, because of different food/less choices, but your food budget will go back to ‘normal’ and the food stuff they carry are pretty high quality.

Big Ruckus D · April 21, 2024 at 7:05 pm

Absolutely. In my wider AO (including outlying areas I service for work), a substantial number of Hardee’s, Jack in the Box, Arby’s and even a couple more McDonalds have bowed out in the last several months. These usually stand out because they’ve been there so long prior to closing, and the buildings are architecturally distinctive enough that one knows exactly what they were when still open.

Mid range casual and bar and grill type places are clearly getting pressed as well (business is visibly off) and I expect a slew of closures to start happening in the back half of the year. A few have already succumbed, like O’Charley’s which has left the state entirely after shuttering their last suburban location here. What few places I see opening up new are things like Jimmy Johns and Jersey Mike’s sandwich shops that have fairly easy buildouts in smaller square footage within a strip mall. There is a new Chipotle(-coli) that took over a freestanding location of a local sandwich chain that closed it’s newest location, which has been open about 3 years, and was not a cheap build, but never really took off and became profitable. Freddy’s burgers has converted a couple of newer (~10 years old) Arby’s locations that closed, will see if they can make a go of things where Arby’s failed. I will say they spent a fortune remodeling and refitting both buildings.

In a general sense, places I used to enjoy going for years that haven’t already closed up shop, have slid enough in service and food quality that I’ve either cut way back, or stopped going altogether. I’d still go to those places (though admittedly less frequently due just to cost) if the food was decent, even with it being more expensive. However, with the decontented food quality and service often being marginal at best, I’ve simply given up on them because it isn’t worth it now. I eat a lot more meals at home these days, that’s for sure.

Heck, a couple of two topping medium pizzas, an individual dinner salad and an order of cheese garlic bread, plus three soft drinks at a local eat in pizza joint recently (for 3 people) ran us $77 with tax and tip. And this place has always been the quasi-bargain pizza joint that was substantially better than typical low tier stuff like Little Caesars. Their major competitor – and overall bigger outfit – that is much more revered as a local institution and has dozens of locations around the metro, is even more expensive than that. I stopped going there years ago when they got a little too full of themselves as regards pricing.

As it stands, I see lots of pain coming in the food service sector. Far worse than they suffered from COVID, although that arguably was the first part of a one-two punch that has been killing these eateries off in the last 18 months.

Steve S6 · April 21, 2024 at 7:30 pm

We see more people in the baking isle lately.

KurtP · April 21, 2024 at 8:19 pm

AND- just like the diversions about low fuel cost under Trump wasn’t his policies… it was COVID and lack of driving (not that we saw any less cars on the road in TX).

Soon, when people are cooking most of their meals at home, it’s not going to be Bidenomics- food inflation is going to be because of more home cooking and the more people buying food from the stores.

Jonathan · April 21, 2024 at 9:49 pm

My area has high salaries and normally lots of money flows easily – used things sell second hand for almost used prices. Right now many, if not most, people are cutting back and complaining about money being tighter than they can remember.
They’ve cut back on buying or are selling trucks, snow mobiles, 4 wheelers, etc.
I’ve also heard companies complain about labor shortages no matter the salary offered and spare parts are not only expensive but hard to find and slow to arrive.
And this is an area doing comparatively well; I don’t want to see an area that isn’t…

Sarin · April 22, 2024 at 12:07 pm

Late to the party…

I work adjacent/in the restaurant world, and can confirm most of the above.

I can say this: my client base consists of four large customers. Three are Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) and one defies categorization.

Specifically, Customer 1 is privately held and has 770 restaurants and is opening 130 this year. Customer 2 was acquired by an equity firm and has a small number of franchisees. They crossed the 1000 restaurant mark recently. They’re continuing to open stores and have plans for around 50 this year. Customer 3 has about 500 stores and are holding steady; they’re not a QSR or Fast Casual restaurant and are heavily franchised. The scamdemic nearly ruined them. Customer 4 is in massive decline. Since 2020, they’ve shuttered around 300 stores, effectively halving their outlets. Most are franchises. Their CEO is weird and thinks that they’ll experience a resurgence of the brand. They’re literally trying to cut their spend (ingredients, cost of goods, labor, etc.) to achieve prosperity. That’s impacted choices and really has negatively impacted the customer experience.

In the case of the fourth customer, there are at least 50 outlets in the past year where the franchisees locked the door and straight walked away. We are just now finding out about these. Some have been closed for 2+ years.

What I see from my vantage point is that the customers that are heavily franchised are seemingly the ones having issues. Each Franchisor is a bit different in how they administer/manage their Franchisees. The royalty costs are pretty high for a franchisee. Some even go the route of mandating the prices on the menu and/or have a distribution arm and all product must be purchased through their distributor, at a significant mark up. This is all to ensure Franchisor control and profit to Corporate. The heavily franchised customers that are successful have few onerous requirements on their franchisees.

Aesop · April 24, 2024 at 12:55 pm

Worse = better.

Bring the pain.
Everyone knows who’s to blame.
Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, polarize it.” – Saul Alinsky, Rules For Radicals

I won that competition. – Gun Free Zone · April 21, 2024 at 1:31 pm

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