Some restaurants, like McDonald’s, have stood the test of time when it comes to sales. There was almost always be eating at the golden arches, which is how they’ve become internationally famous.
However, there are some restaurants from the 70s, 80s, and 90s that unfortunately didn’t stand the test of time, no matter how much we wish they had.
Lum’s started as a hot dog stand in 1956, and eventually opened into a family-style restaurant. In 1983, the last of all Lum’s closed down, but there’s still some Ollie’s Trolley locations where you can get the classic Ollieburger and spicy fries!
Think of it as the original Outback Steakhouse. Mountain Jack’s had individual salad bars which came to your table, and a prime rib which still makes our mouths water at the thought of it! The parent company of Mountain Jack’s filed for bankruptcy in 2002, and in 2008 the majority of all restaurants had been shut down.
According to franchise owner Bill Lapitsky, Red Barn was the first fast-food restaurant to offer a salad bar in 1961. The chain was famous for the fried chicken, as well as barn-themed foods, like “Big Barney” and “Barnbuster.” There were over 400 locations across Canada and the United States.
Good news! There are actually some Shakey’s left. Bad news: they’re only in California. The original pizza joint featured this, crispy, made-from-scratch pizza, draft beer, and soft drinks. You want something else? You’ll have to eat somewhere else. Every location featured live jazz and ragtime music. The chain was bought out in 1984, and by 1989 most locations had closed down.
Imagine a world where the biggest food chain was Burger Chef, not McDonald’s. That’s what it looked like was going to happen in 1971, as Burger Chef’s 1200 locations were poised to surpass the golden arches. The company arguably invented the Happy Meal, except it was a Fun Meal, which included a burger, fries, drink, dessert, and toy. In 1979, Burger Chef sued McDonald’s when they introduced their Happy Meal. In 1982, Burger Chef’s parent company was bought out, and most of the restaurants were turned in Hardee’s.
Chi-Chi’s Mexican food was “as ethnically authentic as Chef Boyardee’s canned pasta”, but damn did it taste good. In 2003, however, Chi-Chi’s infected over 600 Pittsburgh residents with hepatitis A, thanks to some scallions imported from Mexico. They paid out over $40 million in lawsuit setllements, and eventually closed down.