The great thing about the fast food industry is that as soon as your go-to chain starts to fail, there’s another one right there to take its place. Huge Burger King fan but disappointed with its recent changes in the values menu? It might be time to take your things to Wendy’s. Or at Culver’s. Or at Hardee’s. Or Carl’s Jr. Really, take your pick.
Whether it’s declining food quality, rising prices, or poor customer service (or a combination of the three), there are many ways a restaurant chain can lose. the trust of his most unconditional fans.
Nowhere is this truer than in hamburger chains which, according to one Estimate 2020, represent 30% of the global fast food market. Here’s a look at four great burger restaurants struggling to retain their customers.
For more fast food news, see 8 worst fast food burgers to avoid right now.
Burger King has long had a reputation as McDonald’s second best, but in 2021 the chain officially lost that title to Wendy’s. The pigtailed chain has surpassed Burger King in systemwide sales, despite being only a fraction of its size in terms of total number of restaurants. And just a year ago, Burger King was ranked America’s “most hated” fast food chain. Heavy is the head that wears the crown.
A legacy brand struggling to find its footing in today’s fast food market, Steak ‘n Shake has had a roller coaster year in 2020. Mired in debt, the chain has gone on a spree of store closures during the pandemic , losing 13% of its total number of restaurants. Things got (somehow) worse in 2021, when creditors sued for $153 million. The chain hit the headlines when it had to be bailed out at the last minute by its parent company, Biglari Holdings.
In general, customers seem appalled by Steak ‘n Shake’s frustrating wait times and declining food quality.
Fraud and an incredibly convoluted menu are at the heart of this California-based “best burger” chain, which has been exhibited in 2020 like (more or less) a “pyramid scheme”. BurgerIM currently has to reimburse approximately $57 million to its hundreds of (defrauded) franchisees and is being sued by the United States Attorney General for violations of the Fair Trade Commission Act. And their burgers are nothing to write home about except that they take forever to do— causing frustrating wait times.
Similar to Steak ‘n Shake, Fuddruckers is another legacy burger chain struggling to find an audience in today’s fast food market. Since its inception in 1979, the chain has been passed from one parent company to another, about once every ten years, in fact. It narrowly avoided liquidation in 2021, when its indebted parent company, Luby’s, sold it to a holding company called Black Titan Franchises.