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25 Photos Of Fast Food Restaurants In The US That Were Left Behind

Back in the 80s and 90s, the fast food industry was booming. McDonald’s was selling millions of Beanie Babies with their Happy Meals while locations like Burger King also enjoyed lots of success. However, as time went on, the population started to shift their mindset. All of a sudden, places like Subway became that much more desirable. Places like McDonald’s wisely adapted to the changing times by creating healthy alternatives to their meals. In fact, the likes of Disney were so impressed by this that they decided to rejoin the massive fast food chain. We can expect some great Happy Meal toys in the future thanks to this new partnership.

The sad reality is, not every fast food establishment holds the same amount of global power in comparison to McDonald’s. In fact, most of the abandoned locations on the list don’t have much of a global reach and instead have the majority of their success in the US. However, for one reason or another, these places around the US were forced to close. In some cases, it might have been due to relocation but in others, a lot of it had to do with a lack of interest from the consumer. From Missouri to New York, we feature locations from around the US that are no longer running. We feature the likes of Burger King, White Castle, Sonic, Arby’s and so many more.

Enjoy the article folks and like always be sure to share it with a friend. Let’s get started!

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25 Unrecognizable DQ In Minnesota

via Flickr

For travelers wanting some fast food desserts, Dairy Queen is a option particularly in the US. The establishment hit the ground running way back in the summer of 1940. These days, it continues on with 6,800 locations worldwide. However, it is key to note that more than half of those come in the US, with 4,455 locations.

Typically, they don’t take up that much room which is a good thing. However, thanks to the likes of McDonald’s and other competition, various DQ establishments have closed down over the years. This one in Minnesota is an example of that looking unrecognizable today.

24 First Taco Bell In Downey, California

via MTV

Especially for travelers, this location is definitely photo worthy as it was the first Taco Bell that ever opened long before its popularity. Established in Downey, California, the restaurant although abandoned still stands today – it is truly surreal to see how different it was back in the day.

That was only the beginning as these days Taco Bell generates over $1 billion in sales per year. Starting up with one location back in 1963, the fast-food restaurant has grown to 7,000 worldwide with most of the restaurants in the US today.

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23 The Green Pizza Hut In Beverly Hills

via Flickr

When it comes to pizza locations nobody can compete with Pizza Hut. Founded in 1958, the restaurant still holds its own today with a near 17,000 locations around the world. When it comes to a quick pizza, the restaurant continues to get the job done.

However, perhaps because of the health craze, we’ve seen lots of locations close down in the past. This US location is a clear example. Not only is it completely abandoned but maintenance definitely eludes this spot. Heck, the paint off the establishment seems to be completely off turning green. That just looks wrong on a Pizza Hut.

22 A Forgotten White Castle In Northern Ohio

via Flickr

White Castle provides a unique fast food service handing out small burger sliders. In fact, back in its earlier days the fast food restaurant sold its burgers for just five cents. That was back in the 1920s, it would double the rate to ten cents in the late 1940s.

It became a force, especially in the Midwest. It isn’t all that common to find a White Castle worldwide with locations predominantly in the US. However, Mexico, Canada, Hong Kong, Thailand, and Singapore do have a couple of White Castle spots, though nothing compared to the US. Sadly, this spot in Northern Ohio just couldn’t compete with the other locations causing its complete abandonment.

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21 Dunkin Donuts Ruined On The Inside

via Flickr

Partly because of the health craze and partly because of the competition from the likes of Tim Horton’s, Dunkin is no longer the juggernaut it once was especially globally. These days, Dunkin has 11,000 shops with more than 9,000 located in the US.

Sadly, despite its popularity, several locations have been forced to either move to a smaller location or completely shut down. This establishment in the US is an example of that not only abandoned but in terrible shape on the inside - such a shame to see this location in this kind of condition.

20 Totally Abandoned Burger King Looking Unrecognizable

via Pinterest

Although it doesn’t have the same popularity in comparison to the 90s, don’t be fooled, Burger King is still a billion-dollar business not to mention it employees over 34,000. Worldwide, Burger King has over 15,000 locations - now that doesn’t come close to McDonald’s but still admirable nonetheless especially given the new health craze.

Yes, the photo above shows a spot that was once a Burger King. It looks totally unrecognizable, very few would be able to recognize the abandoned area as a former Burger King. That’s a place we wouldn’t want to be at day or night.

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19 Arizona KFC With Tunnel To Mexico Left Abandoned

via Flickr

This is stuff that you see in the movies or in an episode of Breaking Bad. However, this actually took place in a KFC. Perhaps because of the reduced interest in the fast food chain, the owner thought it might be okay to create a tunnel in the basement. The real kicker, the tunnel went from Arizona to a residence in Mexico. Of course, illegal activity was the cause for the tunnel.

As you might expect, the establishment was completely closed down for good and left in a state of abandonment. The reopening of this KFC seems highly unlikely.

18 Forgotten Wendy’s In New Jersey

via Youtube

Wendy’s continues to hold its own in various locations around the world. Although its success is most evident in the US and Canada, it also has locations in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, India, New Zealand, and various other spots. In total, Wendy’s has over 6,500 locations worldwide with most of those located in the US.

It continues to hang with the big fast food chains like McDonald’s and Burger King. However, Wendy’s has taken some subtle hits in the past with a couple of locations closing down such as this spot in New Jersey. You’ll have to get a “Baconator” elsewhere.

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17 One Of The Earliest McDonald’s In Illinois

via Flickr

Rarely does McDonald’s close down because of failed success. Instead, a lot of the closures have to do with moving to a larger space or leaving an outdated facility behind. That was the case with this spot in Illinois, one of the first McDonald’s spots built in the US.

Don’t worry though, there’s another 37,241 locations to choose from worldwide. McDonald’s definitely stands alone in that regard as the most dominant fast food restaurant around the world, especially in the US. For those that travel, McDonald’s tends to a reliable place to eat thanks to its storied history.

16 Another Forgotten McDonald’s In Missouri

via Flickr

If you plan on taking a trip to Missouri, get ready to see several abandoned fast food restaurants. For whatever reason, given the research, several fast food locations closed down in the area including this McDonald’s spot that looks heavily outdated. Perhaps the costs of tearing it down and reconstructing one were far too high. Thus, it was just left there in the cold completely abandoned while in all likelihood, it opened up in a location nearby.

Despite the closure, it isn’t hard to find a McDonald’s anywhere in Missouri with numerous locations still intact.

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15 A&W Forgotten About In The US

via Flickr

Surreal to think that this establishment first started in the early 1900s. The combination of root beer and a hamburger made this fast food restaurant a popular choice back in the day. It would later transition into a franchise by 1926.

It is pretty remarkable that various locations still exist today with over 1,000 spots. Most of the chains can be found in both Canada and the US. However, the popularity seems to be dwindling in the States with various locations shutting down including this spot.

14 Arby’s Left Behind In Charlotte

via Flickr

Although Arby’s has most of its locations in the US, the fast food establishment is also trying to expand internationally with stores in Canada, Turkey, Qatar and United Arab Emirates.

Out of its 3,342 locations, a huge portion of those come in the US. However these days, it is a little rarer to find an Arby’s standing alone. Don’t get us wrong, various locations as such still exist however a big portion of those are located in malls and even airports - especially in countries outside of the US. This Charlotte location was one of the many that was forced to close its doors. It wasn’t the first time nor will it be the last.

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13 Closed Drive-Thru Area

via Flickr

When the abandoned area doesn’t get proper care, this is what it leads to. Grass and vegetation starts to grow everywhere and before you know it, the location is untreatable and the only alternative is to completely break it down and start from scratch. That might be the case with this former McDonald’s location, clearly nature has taken over but man does it make for a great picture.

On a totally unrelated topic, maybe someone should tell that person that the drive-thru isn’t open and won’t be for quite some time.

12 Sonic Drive-In Left Behind In Virginia

via Flickr

Founded back in 1953, Sonic seems to be making a resurgence in the last couple of years becoming a popular fast food chain once again. Sonic has over 3,500 locations all across the US. At the moment, travelers can easily find a Sonic in most states. 45 US states have a Sonic currently.

They’ve come a long way since. However, so many other locations have been left behind including this iconic drive-thru location that remains in existence despite its complete abandonment. Despite the closure, it is still a visual to behold these days.

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11 Jack-in-the-Box Left Behind In California

via Flickr

Chicken tenders and lots of burgers, Jack in the Box has various locations in the US. Especially if you plan on travelling along the West Coast, there’s a good chance you’ll encounter one of their fast food chains. Overall, the establishment has over 2,200 locations.

They planned on growing nationally and that’s exactly what they did. However, they aren’t a name worldwide, only in the US. As we discussed, most locations exist in the West Coast. Sadly, this one was left behind in the California area.

10 Subway Closes In Missouri

via Flickr

Thanks to catching the health craze on time, Subway became one of the fast growing franchises in the entire and US and as a matter of fact, the entire world. Subway is a brand across the globe these days with over 42,000 locations and that spans in 112 countries.

Perhaps because of the location, some Subways have closed down across the US. We’re not entirely sure what’s going in Missouri but this is another fast food restaurant that was forced to close its doors for good.

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9 No More Donuts

via Flickr

“I believe this location closed since Tim Horton's has a big presence in the Columbus area and Dunkin Donuts has a small one.” (Source Flickr)

Those were the comments from Flickr user Nicholas Eckhart who posted this photo of the abandoned Dunkin location out in Ohio. He makes a great point that Tim Horton’s might have a big hand in the closure, the brand is starting to expand across the US. Given its popularity in Canada it caused to closure for lots of Dunkin locations. Surely, Dunkin hopes the same thing doesn’t happen in the US.

8 When Nature Takes Over A Pizza Hut

via Fiveprime

Travelers outside the US might be inclined to enter a Pizza Hut when visiting the country. That wouldn’t be a bad idea given its storied history as a popular brand. However, as we stated earlier perhaps because of the health craze, various locations have been forced to close down such as the one you can see in the photo above.

Maintenance is clearly an issue with this location. Not only is their forms of vandalism on the walls but the grass has reached knee high levels. This is the sad reality for so many abandoned locations. They just sit there while Mother Nature does its thing.

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7 Demolished DQ in Beaver Falls, PA

via Youtube

It is quite clear that this Beaver Falls location is passed the point of repairs. All boarded up, the foundation clearly isn’t strong enough and it looks as though the roof is completely falling off. Usually, the next step is demolishing the entire location altogether, that appears to be the case with this DQ.

For those that are outside of the US, it should be noted that DQ fast food restaurants are usually a lot smaller on the inside compared to the likes of McDonald’s and Burger King. However, it should also be noted that the menu is more than just dessert with burger items also available.

6 Forgotten KFC In Turnersville, New Jersey

via Flickr

No, this KFC didn’t shut because of a tunnel in the basement. Instead, perhaps those in New Jersey got tired of that delicious fried chicken goodness. Whatever the case might be, KFC still does pretty darn well especially globally. The fast food restaurant is considered second behind only McDonald’s for the largest restaurant chain.

KFC has a near 21,000 locations. They’ve made quite the impact globally currently in 123 countries. Founded almost 90 years ago, KFC continues to be a juggernaut worldwide. Despite the closure of various shops across the US, they’re still doing quite well worldwide.

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5 80s Style Burger King Left Behind

via Rebrn

We go back in time with this Burger King that was left behind quite some time ago. The decor on the inside is reminiscent to the 80s. The location of this dusty and abandoned area is in Governors Island, New York. Although it is left behind today, it is still so fascinating to see the condition on the inside especially with that outdated decor.

It isn’t the first BK to close down. Burger King typically takes up lots of room which must boost up the rent cost dramatically. For that reason, various Burger Kings have been forced to close down.

4 Another Missouri Fast Food Restaurant Left Behind

via Flickr

One thing most of us can’t help but to notice is how small something looks once everything is taken out. Let’s say you decide to move and empty out the house, doesn’t everything look so small once you’re done?

That appears to be the case with this Wendy’s particularly on the outside as the location doesn’t have any signs or lighting any longer. It is just completely grim with nothing but its foundation holding it together. Travelers would be disappointed to see this spot’s current state. Keep driving though, you’ll likely find another spot nearby.

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3 Arby’s Location Forgotten About In Utah

via Flickr

The sign is completely faded while rust is starting to take over. That’s a clear sign that the location has been out of commission for quite some time. At the very least, unlike some of the other examples, this Utah abandoned location does a fine job in maintaining the landscape – the grass isn’t growing uncontrollably but instead it seems to be perfectly cut.

The inside still looks pretty full with noticeable appliances on the inside. That’s usually the case with abandoned locations as the essentials are taken while most of the other stuff just stays there ready to be thrown out.

2 Forgotten Taco Bell In Des Moines, Iowa

via Flickr

Taco Bell has a strong contingency over in the US. However, the same cannot be applied globally. Take Canada for example, Taco Bell opened in eight of the provinces though it saw several closures especially in Ontario which isn’t the greatest sign given that it’s one of the most booming locations in all of Canada. If it doesn’t work there, chances are it won’t work anywhere.

Nonetheless, it continues to succeed in the US, though closures have also taken place. For the most part, Taco Bell moved to smaller locations, typically in malls or strip style malls.

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1 Forgotten 90s Burger King In Hampton, Virginia

via Flickr

Another retro looking Burger King reduced to dust on the inside. As we discussed earlier, Burger King tends to take up lots of room and that’s the case with this location, as you can tell, there are so many seats on the inside. Although it’s great and all, that makes the pressure to deliver that much more crucial.

Unfortunately, this Hampton location did not deliver as expected. The outcome is an abandoned area and one that clearly hasn’t been maintained in quite some time. That’s the sad reality for the establishments on the list.

References: Rebrn & Flickr

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