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6 Beloved Restaurant Chains That Are in Major Trouble Right Now

The devastating hits just keep coming for the restaurant industry as pandemic problems drag on.

You might have fewer options for where you can go out to eat soon. That's because coronavirus lockdowns—and ongoing safety concerns about indoor dining—have threatened the very livelihood of the entire restaurant industry. Independent restaurant owners have been hit especially hard, but even some major fast-casual chains near you might not make it.

The sad reality is that sales at restaurants and bars fell 26 percent in June, compared to last year, according to a new report by Standard & Poors (S&P) Global Market Intelligence. S&P also released data on the chance of beloved chains defaulting in the next year—but with the impending challenges of winter and unemployment benefits running out, as USA Today points out, more restaurants may be going bankrupt than you may think.

Here are the largest 6 restaurant chains that face the rockiest waters ahead. (And, to keep yourself informed, make sure to sign up for our newsletter.)



dennys sign in las vegas
Jonathan Weiss/Shutterstock

According to S&P's report, the all-day breakfast joint Denny's faces an 11.9 percent chance of defaulting. That may seem low, but the previous S&P report said the percentage odds of defaulting were less than 10%. (Related: 27 Beloved Restaurants That Are Quietly Vanishing)


Dave & Buster's

Dave busters

Dave & Buster's may be better known as an arcade to some, seeing as it features so many video games and carnival-like activities. But it is a casual dining restaurant. According to S&P, it has the worst credit rating among the nation's largest restaurant companies, and a 16 percent chance of defaulting in the next year. (Related: The Secret Reason Many Fast Food Dining Rooms Won't Open Anytime Soon.)


Outback Steakhouse

outback steakhouse storefront

Outback Steakhouse's parent company Bloomin' Brands has over a 13% chance of defaulting, according to the recent S&P report. The Australian-themed steakhouse has adapted to challenges brought about by the pandemic, but it may not be enough. (Related: 11 Beloved Restaurant Meals That Quietly Disappeared.)


The Cheesecake Factory

The Cheesecake Factory made some major changes when they reopened after lockdown, but it still faces stiff financial headwinds. According to S&P, The Cheesecake Factory faces an 11.7 percent chance of defaulting on its debts. (Related: Restaurants In These 5 Major Cities Are Shutting Down—Again.)


Applebee's and IHOP


Applebee's and IHOP share the same corporate owner, Dine Brands Global (who knew?), but unfortunately for them, S&P says they have an 11.3 percent chance of defaulting. Turns out, IHOP has had a rougher go than its corporate sister, as sales this year fell over 37 percent compared to 18 percent at Applebee's. (Related: 50 Things Popular Restaurant Chains Don't Want You to Know.)



BJs brewery and restaurant
designs by Jack/Shutterstock

The most recent S&P report gives this pizza and beer chain a 9.3% chance of defaulting. The California-based restaurant saw same-store sales down 57.2 percent for the second quarter, according to Restaurant Business Online.

For more, check out These Major Changes You Can Expect at Restaurants in the Days Ahead.