Casual restaurants are at a critical breaking point. Consumers—hello, millennials and Gen Z—are increasingly fleeing legacy chains, from Applebee’s to Olive Garden, in favor of trendier, tech-savvy, more health-conscious options. Applebee’s announced plans to close between 60 and 80 eateries in 2018, citing a millennial-driven decline in foot traffic as a major factor. Sister brand IHOP announced plans to shutter 30 to 40 locations this year, too.
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