EIFA Lists #3 Chains that might disappear

This article discusses chain restaurants that may not make it to 2020. These chains have been struggling for a while. Today I’m going to talk about four of these. Keep reading to see if I think they can turn things around or if they just need to pack it up.


Steak and Shake-
According to a letter to the shareholders, the blame is being put on “poor kitchen design” and “outdated equipment”. I have not been to steak and shake. When I was browsing the site, there are two that would be about an hour and a half away from me. Unless it’s a really nice place like a Brazilian steakhouse, I’m not traveling that far. The only reason I know what this is is because of the Doughboys podcast. The menu has absolutely nothing unique. Every chain that has burgers has their plain classics, something BBQ, something spicy and a breakfast version. I kept thinking about other restaurants I could go to get something like this. Red Robin, Ted Montana’s, Chilis, TGI Fridays, Yarhouse, Boardwalk and that was just off the top of my head. The burger market, at least in my opinion is oversaturated. You can get burgers at almost any restaurant whether it’s fast food or a sit-down. I noticed a large number of shakes but nothing I couldn’t get at Johnny Rockets, Baskin robbins, Coldstone, etc. I sense a diner-type theme but again, you can get that at other places that have more to offer. I asked google “what is wrong with steak and shake” and timing issues popped up. Must be related to the notes that the shareholder got. Burgers and shake shouldn’t take that long to make. I think this might not make it. There needs to be another direction. Maybe some family meals like KFC or Boston Market has.

I have only been here once. I got some drink flights and cannot remember what I got to eat. The test kitchen menu might be the only thing that can save them because otherwise there is nothing unique. I’m not sure how long the test items are in place, but I saw one thing on the entrĂ©e menu I would order. The chicken piccata over risotto is an interesting twist that I have not seen before. Every other option is unique as well, but just not my personal taste. The test kitchen dessert menu has really interesting looking options such as the apple croustade and the butter cake which I don’t think I have seen in a chain restaurant before. This menu is way more interesting. Hopefully, if a dish does well on this menu, it needs to go on the permanent menu. The prices are on the same lines as a Maggianos or a somewhat “upscale” chain restaurant. A bit pricy but nothing outrageous. You can find the standard apps and entrees at other restaurants. I do like chips and salsa as aside. There just isn’t enough uniqueness to keep people coming here consistently. Burgers, flatbreads, fish and chips and pasta can be found in so many places! I can think of at least 5 other places related to this I would go to first, chain or otherwise. The lunch specials do not stand out. You can find better combos in variety and value at pretty much any other chain restaurant. I think they could maybe turn things around. Like I mentioned, focus more on the test stuff. Also offer more specials or just something else. This place doesn’t stand out.

Baja Fresh-
They can get it together. I really think they have a place in fast-casual. I love the salsa bar. Not a lot of places have that. I really think there needs to be more attention placed on that. I don’t know many places if any that have that option. I like Baja and Verde in particular. The chips always taste fresh and they aren’t too salty. I haven’t had their actual entrees though. I just recent became aware of them over the summer because one of my best friends really likes the quesadillas. Looking at the menu, I think there need to be a build your own burrito and taco options. The pre-made burritos are not unique enough. They all have similar builds besides maybe one or two items. The prices are good too, I just wouldn’t order any of these (bean allergy) If I could make my own and make it a combo so I can get some of that salsa I really like, I definitely would. I like that they have seafood tacos, I would order a few of those and some chips as well. Fajitas are interesting to see at that type of concept. I know chipotle is a bit more expensive but I tend to go there more because I can customize it and I know I’m going to be full. Add custom options, focus on the quesadillas and tacos and I think they could survive.

I went here 12 years ago and was not impressed. I had a quesadilla but there was barely anything in it. When I looked at the menu recently, I can see why over 20 locations closed this year. The food menu is not offering anything unique. Similar to the issues steak and shake are having. You can get burgers and pasta and more old school items at other restaurants. I also don’t find the theme somewhere I want to be. It is very childish; I’d rather sit down inside a fast-food chain. The colors are so extreme and unsettling. The last time I heard about them is when they had that grilled cheeseburger that had over 2000 calories or something. I think the only thing that could maybe help them is to just stick to desserts mainly. Have maybe 5 food options such as chicken tenders, a sandwich, mac n cheese, etc and that’s it. They have way too many options you can find at Denny’s, TGI Fridays, IHOP, etc. The dessert menu is where they have interesting and relevant options. They could easily take on at least Baskin robbins and dairy queen. They have milkshakes, cones, bowls as well. You can even create your own sundae. The sundaes have a lot of variety and there were 2 or 3 that I would order.  They should go to the format like a dairy queen instead.


  1. I love your blog and this post. It’s great that you can review these fast food chains and save people the time of being disappointed!


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