Augusta Business Daily

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

National restaurant chain closes CSRA restaurant location

O’Charley’s Restaurant and Bar was founded more than 50 years ago, but in recent years, the restaurant chain known for its classic American fare has closed many of its nationwide locations. The Augusta location at the corner of Wheeler Road and Robert C. Daniel Jr. Parkway has just been added to that list.

ABD spoke with a manager at the Aiken location to find out the reason for its closure.

The CSRA is home to multiple locations of similar chains to O’Charley’s including Rusy Tuesday and Applebee’s.

“They had struggled to get business for many years, so they decided to go ahead and shut it down,” the manager said.

Last month, Mashed, a worldwide food publication, ran a story about O’Charley’s declining popularity among diners. That story said the company has closed about 20 of its restaurants since 2016, and eight of those closures occurred in June 2019.

“Sales have been down with the brand for several years now, and if things don’t change, more restaurant closings are sure to follow,” it said. “O’Charley’s, like several of the similar chains, is struggling, and it could be because people have simply moved on from the generic bar and grill restaurant.”

The story said O’Charley’s has also struggled to differentiate itself from its competitors, which include Applebee’s and Ruby Tuesday. The CSRA is home to multiple locations of both of those chains.

“The menus could practically be switched out, and people probably wouldn’t notice,” it said. “Burgers, chicken tenders, a few steak and pasta dishes are all staples that might not always work as an advantage.”

O’Charley’s chicken tenders have always been one of the most popular menu items.

A recent Facebook announcement about the Augusta location’s closure garnered mixed reactions from local diners. Some said they enjoyed the food, while others said its quality had declined significantly in recent years.

In 1971, the original O’Charley’s restaurant opened across the street from Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

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