On Sunday, O'Charley's closed 18 failing locations, capping its 91-unit casual-dining chain's hard recovery from the pandemic.
“We likened it a little bit to pruning the vines at a winery,” CEO Craig Barber said. “They do that annually. Better grapes, increased growth
The second quarter saw 33 more restaurant closures, bringing the year's total to 51.
The closed stores have long-term and short-term issues. The area around them transformed over 50 years.
Large retailers and malls quit, taking customers with them. Online purchasing during the pandemic intensified that trend. Meanwhile, rent rose.
O'Charley's commodity costs rose 19% last year. It hiked menu pricing, but not enough to counteract rising inflation.
“For our industry in general, and for our brands, it was very challenging to understand how to best maneuver that,” Barber added.
This year has seen many chain restaurant closures, including O'Charley's. Boston Market has lost at least two dozen stores, Applebee's
plans dozens, Qdoba plans to downsize by 1.5% annually, and Veggie Grill has closed 40% of its sites in recent months.