7 Fast-Food Chains Closing Restaurants in 2024 (Is Yours on the List?)

SAVING & SPENDING - SHOPPING
Is your go-to spot at risk of disappearing?
Updated March 27, 2024
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Fast food isn't immune to hard times. In 2023, many chains closed locations, and the trend is expected to continue.

Rising costs are squeezing profit margins, and inflation is making it hard to keep more cash in your wallet. Many familiar quick-serve chains are facing a tough year in 2024.

Here's a look at some fast-food chains that could be downsizing locations or even disappearing entirely in the coming months.

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Boston Market

jetcityimage/Adobe boston market fast casual restaurant

Boston Market has been plagued by lawsuits, unpaid bills, and closed restaurants for some time. The chain’s owner, Jay Pandya, has filed for personal bankruptcy twice.

Boston Market had 300 locations at the beginning of 2023. But last year, it closed many locations due to evictions for unpaid bills and government shutdowns for unpaid sales taxes. As of right now, there are just 27 operating Boston Market restaurants.

Unless this company experiences a serious turnaround, 2024 might be the end for Boston Market.

Hardee’s

wolterke/Adobe gigantic hardee's signboard outdoors

Summit Restaurant Holdings, a major franchisee of Hardee’s restaurants, filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy after closing 39 restaurants in 2023.

The spree of closures has continued into 2024, with several Illinois locations closing in January. We will find out whether this is the end of Hardee’s troubles.

Burger King

vulcanus/Adobe germany nuremberg burger king branch

Burger King closed hundreds of stores in 2023. The high number of closures was linked to three different franchisees filing for bankruptcy and many more shuttering unprofitable stores.

However, executives hope this sad chapter in the company's history is behind them. Burger King is reinvesting in more marketing and remodeling stores to the tune of $400 million.

Hopefully, the restaurant chain's rate of closures will slow in 2024, but only time will tell.

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Krystal

billtster/Adobe krystal burgers outlet from outside

Krystal has been in trouble for some time. The burger chain filed for bankruptcy in 2020. Fortress Investment Group then acquired Krystal and brought it under the SPB Hospitality umbrella.

By the end of 2022, the number of Krystal restaurants had decreased by 21% over the previous five years.

The plan now is to sell corporately owned stores to multi-unit franchise operators and expand Krystal’s footprint. Jack in the Box is using a similar strategy.

White Castle

wolterke/Adobe white castle restaurant from outside

As one of the oldest American burger chains, you might expect White Castle to avoid the woes of newer establishments. But when you get sued for biometric privacy law violations, you’re bound to run into trouble — no matter how good the food is.

White Castle faces a judgment of a staggering $17 billion for scanning employees’ fingerprints without consent. Media reports have speculated that a ruling of this magnitude could jeopardize the long-standing restaurant’s future.

Steak ‘n’ Shake

Kristina Blokhin/Adobe steak n shake sign port richey

In 2018, Steak ‘n’ Shake had 626 locations. That number dwindled to less than 500 as of 2023. This unnerving trend has continued despite increasing sales.

In 2021, Biglari Holdings stepped in just in time to prevent Steak ‘n’ Shake from filing for bankruptcy. The investment group overhauled the brand, switching it from family dining to a counter-serve and drive-thru restaurant.

However, the overhaul slowed down in 2023, with just two restaurants undergoing such a conversion.

That change has Steak ‘n’ Shake fans nervous about what the upcoming year will bring.

Bagger Dave’s

romaset/Adobe man eating saucy cheeseburger

Bagger Dave's Burger Tavern has been closing locations since 2015. This company doesn't have the presence of McDonald's or Wendy's, but at one time, it had 26 stores across Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio.

Now, that number is down to six.

In a press release, BT Brands — which owns a 40% stake in the company — announced it would convert the existing restaurants into new concepts later in 2024. The Bagger Dave's as we knew it may be gone for good.

Bottom line

Lumos sp/Adobe father preparing egg for breakfast

The COVID-19 pandemic was hard on restaurants, and many didn't emerge unscathed. While the majority of the threat may be over, many restaurants' financial troubles continue.

Reduced traffic and sales, higher prices, and customers decreasing what they spend on fast food all spell trouble for the fast-food industry in 2024.

The good news is that these closures might give you an excuse to eat at home and stretch your paycheck further. Still, nobody likes to see their favorite restaurant disappear.

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Author Details

Jenni Sisson Jenni Sisson is a freelance writer and editor who focuses on personal finance, real estate, and entrepreneurship. She has been published in Business Insider and The Ways to Wealth. In addition to writing, Jenni hosts the Mama's Money Map podcast to help fellow stay-at-home moms on their journey to financial freedom.

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