While major dining chains, like Olive Garden, IHOP and Chili’s, are better equipped to weather the COVID-19-related storm than mom-and-pop type dining restaurants, they still are being hit hard.
Darden Restaurants, which owns Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse and other casual dining chains, shared bleak news when it reported recent financial results. In the first half of last week, sales at some restaurants open at least 16 months fell as much as 60% compared to the same period in 2019. The company pulled its full-year guidance and told shareholders it was suspending its quarterly dividend.
Darden is hardly alone other large companies are also scrambling to adjust.
Popular breakfast joint Waffle House announced on Tuesday the closure of hundreds of its 1,627 locations across the United States.
Starbucks has closed it cafes in the United States and Canada while McDonald’s has completely shut down (including take-outs) their franchises in both the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Msny dining chains don’t have drive-thrus. They market themselves as spots for families or friends to visit together, to socialize in person and to be waited on by staff.
That business model is now a liability. These days, those chains must quickly figure out ways to ramp up off-premise orders while keeping their companies afloat.