The 15 Biggest Failed Restaurant Chains


The 15 Biggest Failed Restaurant Chains

Horn & Hardart Times Square New York circa 1939
Photo from Wikipedia Commons.

Horn & Hardart

Before the inevitable rise of the fast-food restaurants, the Horn & Hardart restaurants had the right idea. The concept of the automat restaurant was perfect for those on the go. Salads, pies, cakes, and individual sandwiches were available behind closed, glass doors. After paying a few nickels through a slot, diners could reach in for their select meals.

Sounds like something that would have been all the rage in the 80s and 90s, right? Well, Horn and Hardart was actually founded in 1888 in Philadelphia and absolutely dominated the automat during the 1920s and 1950s.

As many as 150 locations opened in Philadelphia, with 50 in New York. Sadly, the 60s and 70s weren’t so kind to the automat. Fast food restaurants started sweeping the nation and, little by little, the restaurants closed down.

In 1991, the final location on 42nd Street and Third Avenue in New York shut its doors for the final time.

Gino’s Hamburgers

Who doesn’t love a good, juicy hamburger? And who doesn’t love watching their favorite sports while munching on said juicy hamburger It’s a match made in heaven…

The owners of Gino’s Hamburgers thought so too. This was the first restaurant chain that combined sports with fast food, opening up in 1957.

Let me tell you, only a serious sports fan could have come up with this and make it work. What’s special about Gino’s Hamburgers, however, is the fact that it wasn’t just founded by an avid sports watcher. In fact, NFL Hall of Famer Gino Marchetti was the man behind this genius idea. It was such a big hit that it even featured Dom DeLuise in its commercials.

With 330 locations open around the country by 1972, it’s kind of crazy to think that such a chain could have failed. In 1982, however, the chain merged with Roy Rogers.

Our next chain thought they had steaked their claim on New York…..

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