Dessert Restaurants Scheduled to Close in 2022

Joel Eisenberg

Baskin-Robbins, Dunkin’, Pinkberry, Dairy Queen, and Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt, among others, have suffered sharp business fluctuations in recent years.

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Baskin-RobbinsAdobe Stock

Author’s Note

This article is based on corporate postings and accredited media reports. All linked information within this article is fully-attributed to the following outlets: Google.com, BusinessInsider.com, RestaurantBusinessOnline.com, TasteCooking.com, RestaurantClicks.com, PennLive.com, The Los Angeles Times, Wikipedia.org, Nation’s Restaurant News, and PopularAsk.net.

Introduction

Dessert restaurant chains, of the likes that specialize in ice cream or yogurt-related product, have in recent years proven no different than most other food chains. During the pandemic, the business of each had fluctuated. Today, attempts to strategically return to previous profitability are paramount.

Many individual locations of various dessert restaurants have permanently closed in the last two years, as have those of chain restaurants proper. But are those past closings true indicators of future business challenges?

Rumors, as would likely be a surprise to very few, run rampant online. A targeted Google search, for example, would represent that each of the companies as listed in the above subtitle are in imminent danger of permanently shuttering. Many of those rumors appear to have begun on social media sites; most of them are not at all truthful.

However, on occasion a former or current employee will publicly share confidential information about a particular company that is indeed factual, and verified by an accredited media source.

This article will attempt to separate fact from fiction.

Let us explore.

The State of Dessert Restaurants, 2022

Baskin-Robbins and Dunkin’

It should be stated at the outset that the venerable ice cream chain is related to Dunkin’. See here for December, 2020 PennLive.com article, “Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins Now Owned By the Same Company That Owns Sonic and Buffalo Wild Wings.”

The company in question is Inspire Brands, which also owns Arby’s and Jimmy John’s.

Baskin-Robbins excelled during the pandemic. As reported by RestaurantBusinessOnline in August, 2021, in its article entitled “Baskin-Robbins Hopes Its New Owner and Prototype Keep Its Momentum Going,” the sale to Inspire Brands has been looked upon as a way to further the ice cream company’s recent success following several years of ongoing location closures.

As excerpted from the article: Baskin-Robbins was the smaller part of Dunkin’ Brands, which was sold last year to Inspire, the owner of Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings and Sonic, in the largest restaurant deal in at least six years. Baskin-Robbins is a 7,700-unit chain, with more than 5,300 of those locations outside the U.S.

For its part, Dunkin’ announced unwelcome news prior to the sale to Inspire Brands: the closure of hundreds of its signature locations. See here for BusinessInsider.com piece on the matter, “Dunkin’ is Closing 800 Stores Across America.”

At present, Inspire is working to return both entities to past prominence.

Pinkberry

Pinkberry suffered substantially during the pandemic, as have most other self-serve frozen yogurt-type entities.

As I had mentioned in a previous NewsBreak article on dessert restaurants, Pinkberry for a time could not list their options as “frozen yogurt” due to complaints and legal challenges to the label.

See here for Wikipedia entry on the company I shared in that article, which addresses the matter: Originally marketed as frozen yogurt, Pinkberry has faced complaints that its product is fraudulent as it does not meet the California Department of Food and Agriculture's definition of frozen yogurt because it does not contain the necessary amount of bacterial cultures per ounce. The Los Angeles Times sent samples of Pinkberry's product to a lab and revealed that Pinkberry did contain active yogurt cultures, but it does not contain the minimum amount of culture to call itself frozen yogurt, according to California state law. According to the Los Angeles Times, Pinkberry's product had 69,000 bacterial cultures per gram, compared to 200,000 for Baskin-Robbins.

TasteCooking.com published “The Life and Death of Tart Frozen Yogurt” in February, 2019, which detailed the early popularity of the Pinkberry chain when long lines were de rigueur in most locations.

And then came the fall.

As excerpted from the article: The final blow to the tart frozen-yogurt craze was likely the rise in vegan and dairy-free diets around 2015, and the plentiful cafés and cookbooks that followed, says Thorn. Almond milk became the new it beverage, and dairy-based desserts were no longer in vogue among the healthy set. Pinkberry stores were closing left and right, including the original West Hollywood location (it certainly didn’t help Pinkberry’s sales that in 2014 its cofounder Young Lee was sentenced to seven years in prison for assaulting a homeless man).

Today the company is still in business, though they are not nearly as trafficked as just a few years ago.

Dairy Queen

The entity known as DQ is in fine shape, and simply not closing. See here for RestaurantClicks.com article, “The Truth Behind Rumors of Dairy Queen’s Closing,” which directly addresses those rumors: You can breathe—the fast-food juggernaut will not be going out of business anytime soon. Dairy Queen seems to be doing just fine. According to Nation’s Restaurant News, Dairy Queen has seen growth since Covid-19 due to expanding its menu and opening new stores in other countries.

Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt

PopularAsk.net gets immediately to the heart of the matter in their article titled “Why Did Menchie’s Go Out of Business?” It has not; certain locations have closed but the company is still alive.

From the article, which is undated but appears to be from 2020 when the pandemic was at its height: Frozen yogurt fans are going to have fewer options these days as Menchie’s announced plans to close all Northeast Ohio and Erie, Pennsylvania, locations permanently. In a Facebook post, the company explained the hard decision was made due to effects from the coronavirus pandemic.

However, though these stores closed permanently, many others have remained open. During the pandemic, those locations still in business today temporarily paused its serve-yourself model. Today, that model has returned and Menchie’s has seen a certain uptick in business.

Conclusion

Regarding the above companies, though none are scheduled to permanently go out of business, of the group Pinkberry presently faces the biggest climb back to early profitability. For the present, the other companies are reported to be safe and in various stages of health, though certain location closures of each are expected to continue to be considered as a stop-gap against underperformance.

Thank you for reading.

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I am an award-winning author, screenwriter for film and television, and producer. My mission on News Break is to share socially important perspectives on both culture and pop-culture. Member of PEN America, and the WGA.

Northridge, CA
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