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Steak 'n Shake owner closed 51 locations in first quarter
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Steak 'n Shake owner closed 51 locations in first quarter

The first Steak ’n Shake

Gus Belt opened the first Steak ’n Shake at Main Street and Virginia Avenue in Normal (now home to Monical’s Pizza), after he added food to a Shell service station line-up of gasoline, tires and turtleburgers.

BLOOMINGTON — The corporate owner of Steak 'n Shake, which was founded in Normal, during the first quarter of the year closed 51 restaurants in its portfolio, the company said. 

"The COVID-19 pandemic had an adverse effect on our restaurant operations, thereby resulting in the evaluation of company-operated restaurants for recoverability," Biglari Holdings Inc. said in a regulatory filing.

Biglari Holdings Inc. is an American holding company headquartered in San Antonio, Texas

A portion of the Biglari Holdings Inc. quarterly report is shown.

A list of locations was not available. 

San Antonio-based Biglari reported a first-quarter loss of $137.9 million, after reporting a profit in the same period a year earlier. The investment firm's holdings also include Cracker Barrel restaurants, as well as Maxim magazine. 

"During the first quarter, we closed the dining rooms in all our restaurants. However, most of our restaurants remained open with limited operations such as takeout, drivethrough, and delivery," the company said in the filing. "However, the COVID-19 pandemic could cause disruptions to our supply chain. Moreover, we cannot predict how the outbreak of COVID-19 will alter the future demand of our products."

Steak ‘n Shake in February closed nearly a third of its company-owned restaurants, the trade publication Restaurant Business reported

"The closures follow a three-year period in which Steak ‘n Shake’s operations have deteriorated, sending the chain to significant losses. Same-store sales, which had increased every quarter for more than seven years, declined 6.9% in 2019, the third straight annual decline. Traffic, meanwhile, plunged 11.2%," Restaurant Business wrote.

Gus Belt opened the first Steak ’n Shake in February 1934 at Main Street and Virginia Avenue after he added food to a Shell service station line-up of gasoline, tires and turtleburgers. The site is now a Monical’s Pizza.

Dine-in restaurants across the country closed down in March because of the pandemic. A national meat shortage forced Wendy's to temporarily remove hamburgers from menus. 

Steak 'n Shake this spring began offering a free order of French fries as part of its “We’re All Essential” campaign. A 20% discount on any steakburger or fries also was offered to essential workers.

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