Here Are 16 Classic Fast Food Franchises That May Never Return

You Most Likely Have A Go-To Favorite Restaurant, Whether It’s A Chain Or Just A Local Diner In Your Town. This Restaurant Could Be A Chain Or It Could Be A Local Eatery.

However, Many People Who Enjoy Eating Do Know The Anguish That Comes Along With Their Favorite Restaurant Going Out Of Business Permanently.

And If You Were A Child Of The 1970s, You May Have Been Forced To Say Goodbye To A Lot Of The Chain Restaurants That You Frequented As An Adult.

We Have Compiled A List Of Eateries That Formerly Held A Special Place In Our Hearts But Have Since Closed Their Doors Permanently Or Significantly Scaled Up Their Offerings.

Consider Yourself Fortunate If You Were Able To Eat At Any Of These Eateries From The 1970s Before They Closed.

Want Even More Content That Takes You Back In Time? Make Sure You Don’t Miss Out On These 15 Sodas That Have Been Taken Off The Market Forever.

Henry’s Hamburgers

Because Bressler’s Ice Cream Was Such A Successful Business In Chicago During The 1930s And 1940s,

It Was Only Inevitable That The Company Would Eventually Branch Out Into The Fast Food Industry And Open Its Own Restaurants.

In The 1950s, Henry’s Hamburgers Held Its Grand Opening For The Very First Time.

And In Less Than A Decade, More Than 200 Restaurants Across The United States Were Selling 10 Burgers For The Price Of One.

But Just Like Many Other Burger Shops, Henry’s Was Unable To Keep Up With The Competition, And In The Late 1970s, Outlets Began Closing Down At An Alarming Rate.

There Is Still One Location Here In Michigan Today. Therefore, If You Are “Hungry For A Henry’s,” You Should Head On Over To That Location.

These Restaurants Are No Longer In Business Today (Or If They Do, They Exist In A Very Reduced Form).

On The Other Hand, If You Were A Child In The 1970s, You Might Associate Them With Feelings Of Nostalgia.

Fast Food Joints Like Burger King Or Druthers

In 1956, Florida Was The Location Of The First Burger Queen Restaurant. The Restaurant Offered Burgers And Shakes, And Its Menu Was Comparable To That Of Dairy Queen And Burger King.

But In 1981, All Of The Locations Changed Their Name To Druther’s, Which Was More Inclusive Of The Fried Chicken And Self-Serve Salad Bar That Were Already On The Menu.

This Change Took Effect In All Of The Locations.

At That Time, The United States Was Home To Approximately 170 Restaurants; However, Within The Next Decade, Dairy Queen Would Acquire All Of Those Locations. Eternal Life To The Queen!

Happy Chef

The Happy Chef Restaurant Business In Minnesota Set Out To Achieve This Goal By Providing Customers With Breakfast Options Throughout The Day. In 1963, Three Brothers Established The First Location Of The Business.

And The Chain Of Restaurants, Which Now Has Over 60 Sites Across The Midwest And Has A Gigantic Smiling Chef Who Greets Visitors At The Entrance, Continued To Expand.

However, Interest In The Chain Had Wanned By The 1980s, Similar To That Of Many Of These Other Businesses, In Part Because The Chain Did Not Sell Alcoholic Beverages.

The Only Happy Chef Restaurant That Is Still Operational Today Is The One That First Opened Its Doors.

Arthur Treacher’s Fish & Chips

In 1969, The Restaurant Franchise That Had The Goal Of Making Fish And Chips More Well-Known In The United States Had Its Start.

In The Late 1970s, Arthur Treacher’s Reached Its Zenith With More Than 800 Shops, During Which Time It Was Known For Serving Fried Chicken, Fish, And Chips.

But Today, Just A Select Few Of Arthur Treacher’s Establishments Are Still Operational, As A Result Of A Series Of Sales And Bankruptcies.

Pup ‘N’ Taco

Pup ‘n’ Taco Might Not Be A Name That Is Familiar To Every Youngster Who Grew Up In The ’70s. But If You Were Born And Raised In California, You Will Be Familiar With It.

The Menu At Pup ‘n’ Taco Featured Not Only A Selection Of Hot Dogs But Also Tacos, Tostadas, And Pastrami Sandwiches In Addition To The Hot Dogs. It’s An Unusual Pairing, But It Turned Out To Be Successful.

Following The Opening Of The First Site In 1956, There Were 102 Locations By The Beginning Of The 1980s.

Another Brand, Taco Bell, Which Purchased All Of The Pup ‘n Taco Outlets In 1984, Was Ultimately Responsible For The Death Of The Pup ‘n Taco Chain.

Red Barn

Red Barn Restaurant Chains Were Easy To Recognize Because They Were Designed To Resemble Genuine Barns.

In The 1960s, Ohio Was The Birthplace Of A Popular Chain Of Quick-Service Restaurants Known For Its “Big Barney” And “Barnbuster” Burgers As Well As Their Self-Service Salad Bars.

It Is Claimed That Red Barn Had 400 Stores Throughout 22 States At Its Peak, Despite The Fact That The Chain Was Never As Successful As Mcdonald’s Or Burger King.

The Chain Had Been Sold Several Times By The Late 1970s, And All Of The Locations Had Shut Down By The Late 1980s.


In The Pacific Northwest, Vip’s Was A Well-Known Chain That Offered Some Of The Best Casual Dining Options. In 1968, Vip’s First Restaurant Opened In Oregon, And By 1971, The Chain Had Expanded To Include 15 Locations.

It Maintained Its Rapid Expansion Throughout The Decade Of The 1970s Before Selling More Than Half Of Its 57 Restaurants To Denny’s (Which Had A Similar Dining Style).

As The 1980s Progressed, More Locations Were Sold, And The Business Eventually Died Out.


Did You Know That Walgreens Used To Own Its Own Network Of Restaurants? If That’s The Case, You Most Likely Weren’t A Youngster In The 1970s Or The 1980s.

The Family Restaurant Was Open Around The Clock, Much Like Denny’s Or Shoney’s; In Fact, Some Of Them Were Even Constructed Inside Pharmacies.

When The Chain Was Sold To The Marriott Corporation In The Year 1988, There Were A Total Of 91 Freestanding Facilities.

And When Marriott Made The Decision To Sell Off Its Restaurant Business, Wag’s Was Unable To Find A Buyer, And In 1991, The Establishments Ceased Operations Altogether.

Steak and Ale

When It First Opened Its Doors In 1966, Steak And Ale Offered A Unique Concept: Steak That Was Reasonably Priced But Yet Delicious, As Well As An Infinite Salad Bar.

As A Result Of Delicacies Such As Herb-Roasted Prime Rib And Hawaiian Chicken, The Restaurant Chain Rose To Prominence As A Fan Favorite In The United States.

In 1976, When It Became A Part Of A Larger Restaurant Chain, There Were More Than One Hundred Outlets Throughout The Country.

During The Decade Of The 1980s, There Was A Significant Amount Of Turnover In The Company’s Ownership, And It Ultimately Failed.

However, The Bennigan’s Website Claims That A Steak And Ale Can Still Be Independently Owned And Operated, Suggesting That Franchise Prospects Are Still On The Table.


What Was Once A Modest Hot Dog Business In Florida Has Grown Into A Multi-State Corporation That Now Encompasses More Than 400 Locations Across The United States, Including Hawaii.

The First Location Opened Its Doors In The 1950s, And The Brand Quickly Expanded Thanks To The Success Of Its Beer-Steamed Hot Dogs, Frosted Glass Beers, And Fried Seafood Dishes.

However, By The Late 1970s, The Company Had Already Been Bought Out. Every Other Lum’s Restaurant Had Shut Down By 1983, With The Exception Of One In Nebraska, Which Remained Open Until 2017.


Children Who Grew Up In The 1970s Will Not Remember The Restaurant Chain Sambo’s For The Quality Of Its Food, But Rather For The Contentious Name That Was Eventually Responsible For The Chain’s Downfall.

The Name “Sambo’s” Is Said To Be A Portmanteau Of The Founders’ Names, But The Owners Ultimately Decided To Lean Into This Association To The Novel The Story Of Little Black Sambo.

The Name “Sambo’s” Was Purportedly Utilized As A Portmanteau Of The Founders’ Names.

Images From The Novel, Which Included A Young Boy Of Color As The Main Character, Were Used As Decorations In The Shop.

To Everyone’s Surprise, The Restaurant Kept Expanding, And By 1979 There Were More Than One Thousand Available Tables.

However, As The Number Of People Who Objected To The Name Increased, Other Businesses Decided To Change Their Names, And By 1981, The Corporation Had Filed For Bankruptcy.

However, Despite The Controversy, There Is Still One Sambo’s Restaurant Site In Santa Barbara That Is Open For Business. To Our Great Fortune, The Restaurant Made The News Public In June That It Will Be Changing Its Name.

White Tower

White Tower Was Established In 1926, And For A Long Time, People Believed That It Was An Imitation Of White Castle, Which Had Been Established Five Years Earlier.

However, This Did Not Prevent It From Being A Dominant Force In The Early Stages Of The Fast Food Industry.

Even Though Its Popularity Was At Its Lowest Point In The 1970s, White Tower Reached Its Heyday In The 1950s.

The Eatery Specialized In Hamburgers, And The Waitresses And Hostesses Were Affectionately Referred To As “Towerettes.” The White Tower Brand Restaurant Is Still In Operation In Toledo, Ohio.

Bob’s Big Boy

Another Interesting Tale From Marriott: In 1967, The Well-Known Fast Food Restaurant Chain Bob’s Big Boy Became A Part Of The Company (The Chain Had First Opened In 1936 In Burbank, California).

During The 1970s, The Business Consisted Of A Network Of Hundreds Of Separate Facilities Spread Across The United States.

Through The 1980s, Marriott Aggressively Expanded Its Franchise Under A Variety Of Different Brand Names.

However, Over The Course Of The Last Few Decades, The Big Boy Chain Has Become Significantly Smaller As A Result Of A Variety Of Sales And Franchising.

The Bob’s Big Boy Chain Has Never Been Able To Recover From Its Heyday In The 1970s, Despite The Fact That The Restaurant With The Longest Continuous Operation Can Be Found In Burbank And That Several Other Restaurants Are Still In Business.

Gino’s Hamburgers

In The 1980s, Marriott Purchased A Few Different Franchises, One Of Which Being Gino’s Hamburgers, Which Had Been Established In Baltimore In 1957 By Two Nfl Players.

The Sirloiner Hamburger, Which Was Fashioned With Sirloin Steak, Became The Chain’s Namesake Product.

By The Middle Of The 1970s, The Chain Had Expanded To Include The Entirety Of The East Coast And Was Making Efforts To Enter The Market In The Midwest.

It Was Sold To Marriott In 1982, And After That, The Majority Of The Outlets Were Rebranded As Roy Rogers Restaurants. Today, The State Of Maryland Is Home To Two Different Sites Of Gino’s Burgers And Chicken.

Howard Johnson’s

Even While Mad Men May Have Introduced Younger Generations To Howard Johnson’s, Children Of The 1970s Will Recall Actually Dining At The Restaurant Franchise Known For Its Orange-Roofed Buildings.

During Its Height, The Chain Had More Than 1,000 Stores And Offered A Mind-Boggling 28 Different Varieties Of Ice Cream. They Were Known For Its Fried Clams.

Soon After Marriott’s Acquisition Of The Company In 1979 And Subsequent Closure Of All Company-Owned Locations, The Franchised Establishments Also Went Out Of Business.

Burger Chef

At One Point In Time, Burger Chef Was The Second Most Popular Quick-Service Restaurant Brand In The United States, Trailing Only Mcdonald’s In Terms Of The Number Of Outlets It Held Across The Country.

Children Who Were Raised In The 1970s Have A Vivid Memory Of That Era.

The Franchise Restaurant, Which Was Founded In Indiana, Was Known For Serving Flame-Broiled Burgers Including The Big Shef, Which Was A Double Cheeseburger Topped With Special Sauce.

The 1980s Were The Beginning Of The Chain’s Decline, And The Final Location Did Not Open Its Doors Until 1996.

Before It Went Out Of Business, Burger Chef Was Sold To The Same Corporation That Owns Hardee’s, Which Is Where The Big Shef Could Be Purchased In Limited Quantities Over The Course Of The Previous Years.

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