Life before the pandemic. You could take your family out to eat - at a reasonable price. Since the COVID-19 shutdown, the cost of a meal went up - and so did minimum wage.

My wife and I made a conscious effort to eat more meals at home.

It seemed like we went out to eat a handful of times a week - now it's a handful of times per year.

We're not alone.

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The good people at Eat This & Not That have noted the national chains, found in Washington - are struggling to hold up.

Here are once bulletproof chains in Washington that are now struggling in 2024. 


Starbucks Introduces Coffee Drinks Infused With Olive Oil
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The bad: They recorded a rare drop in same-store sales (down 3%) and transactions (down 7%) in the US and Canada. The Seattle-based chain is also enduring boycotts in connection to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The hope: Starbucks wants to get back in the black by improving its performance by continuing to launch unique, exciting new drink products like Oleato, and lavender beverages.  They are also focused on luring customers into their locations with new in-app value offers.


International Fast Food Chains In Asia
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The bad: In the past year - KFC has been flourishing in China. Here in America? Not so well. Yum Brands, the parent company has cited a 7% drop in sales in the US.

The hope: A plan to use lessons from its booming international business for here in America. impro "boldly reset" the KFC brand in the United States and improve its performance using what it has learned from its successful international business.


International Fast Food Chains In Asia
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The bad: While the fast food leader isn’t seeing big sales dips like others  - McD’s has seen a decline in its low-income consumers (making less than $45,000 per year.)

The hope: Expect McDonald’s to roll out more value meal bundles, breakfast deals, and "entry-level" menu items at more affordable prices.

Red Lobster

Red Lobster Files For Bankruptcy Protection
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The bad: It’s well known that the “All You Can Eat Shrimp” campaign helped send the national seafood into bankruptcy. 50 restaurants closed its doors in the past year. 

The hope: Red Lobster’s decision to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy allowed their investors to “address several financial and operational challenges and emerge stronger and re-focused on our growth." They also upped the price of the Ultimate Endless Shrimp Deal to $25.


Denny's Offers Free Breakfast In Effort To Aggressively Promote Sales
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The bad: Inflation caused the chain to close 57 locations in 2023.

The hope: As of early Spring 2024, Denny’s operated 1,553 locations. Hoping to weather the fallout of the pandemic, they are optimistically planning to open 30 new restaurants later this year.


Applebee's Restaurants
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The bad: 300 locations have closed in the past 7 years. Up to 35 more restaurants could shutter their doors before the end of the year.

The hope: Parent company, Dine Brands Global says in addition to the recent closures, they’ve also opened 10 new restaurants in the past year. Their plan to succeed going forward is the strategy of dual-branded restaurants with IHOP. In a statement to the NBC Today show, Dine Brands said that we’ll begin to see the hybrid restaurants roll out in the coming 9 to 21 months - starting in early 2025. 

Outback Steakhouse

Business Signage
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The bad: The Bloomin’ Onions brand recently closed 41 locations.

The hope:  Outback opened six locations in the United States in 2023 and intends to nearly triple that number this year. They plan to open fresh new locations with an improved look and renovate and improve its older restaurants.

The Burger Police: A Look at 2024 Prices of Burgers at 10 Yakima Fast Food Restaurants

How much is the cheapest fast-food burger in Yakima?

Gallery Credit: Reesha Cosby

Sticky Fingers: Texas Folks Confess What They've STOLEN From Restaurants

Of course, you would never steal from a restaurant, but apparently, some Texans are downright kleptomaniacs. These answers to "What have you stolen from a restaurant" went from relatable to surprising, and from harmless to eyebrow-raising.

Gallery Credit: Renee Raven



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