Food - Drink
Whatever Happened To Restaurant Chain Steak And Ale?
Despite the anachronistic name and Tudor décor, the Steak and Ale restaurant chain was ahead of its time, an innovator of trends that persist to this day like the serve-yourself salad bar. Its DNA is evident in chains like Fridays, Chili's, and Applebee's, but what happened to drive Steak and Ale out of the market?
In 1966, serial restaurateur Norman Brinker launched Steak and Ale in Texas. By offering the quality food and atmosphere of a high-end steakhouse at a more approachable price point, Brinker successfully bridged the gulf between no-frills fast food and haute cuisine for America's growing middle class.
Brinker grew Steak and Ale to a total of 109 locations before he sold the business, but ultimately the chain became a victim of its own success. Through the years, its casual dining concept was often imitated, and its many competitors eventually forced the company that owned Steak and Ale to file for bankruptcy in 2008.