Fast food restaurants that have died off

What's America's Most Hated Fast-Food?
What's America's Most Hated Fast-Food?

Millennials are dining out more than other generations, according to TD Bank's Consumer Spending Index, so it's probably safe to say fast food will stay put for now. In fact, millennials grab coffee or food to go 11 times per month, more than Gen Xers (seven times) and Boomers (five times), spending almost $80 month.

But food trends come and go, and not every fast food chain is built to last. Just look at the crop of brands that emerged in the mid-20th century. Would anyone even recognize Burger Chef today? How about Minnie Pearl's Fried Chicken? (Okay, that one's a classic.)

Here's a look at some chains that are no longer with us — although it's probably for the best, considering the strain regularly eating out can put on your wallet. Plus, high levels of debt (and any missed payments related to them) can seriously damage your credit score. You can see where yours currently stands by viewing your two free credit scores, updated each month, on

1. Gino's Hamburgers

Date of birth: Unknown

Signature move: Fresh ground beef and secret sauce

Backstory: Founded by Baltimore Colts lineman Gino Marchetti, running back Alan Ameche and their friend Louis Fischer, the popular chain was known for its signature jingle, "Everybody Goes to Gino's."

Cause of death: Marriott bought out the brand, and it was discontinued in 1982, according to the Baltimore Post-Examiner.

2. Minnie Pearl's Fried Chicken

Date of birth: 1967

Signature move: Making TV star Sarah Colley Cannon's onstage character, Minnie Pearl, its spokesperson.

Backstory: Nashville attorney John Jay Hooker copied Kentucky Fried Chicken's winning franchise formula.

Cause of death: As Franchise Times explains, a lack of restaurant experience took its toll, leading some units to close and others to lose money. The stock price plummeted, and the chain went kaput in the early 1970s.

RELATED: A ranking of fast-food's best French fries

3. Top Hat Drive-In

Date of birth: 1953

Signature move: As Minyanville describes it, unveiling "a parking lot with speakers where customers could order from their cars and be served by car hops." Sound familiar?

Backstory: Troy Smith, a one-time milkman in Shawnee, Oklahoma, opened up Troy's Pan Full of Chicken after the war. His spin-off operation, Top Hat Drive-In, set the standard for other restaurants to come.

Cause of death: In 1959, Smith and Charles Pappe, a Top Hat customer who later became a partner, renamed the venture Sonic.

Date of birth: 1958

4. Burger Chef

Signature move: Launching "The Triple Threat," or what's know today as the burger-fries-and-drink combo meal.

Backstory: Meant to present a "more highbrow version of Burger King," as Time put it, the Indianapolis chain spread like wildfire. By December 1967, it was the second largest restaurant chain in the country, right after McDonald's.

Cause of death: In 1982, Burger Chef was sold to Hardee's.

You can see the full list of fast food restaurants that have died off here.

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