At first glance, some businesses seem completely bulletproof. They've been super successful just short of forever and have made enough money to gas up the average SUV at least twice, so it's ridiculous to think their fate is anything but "keep making money until Galactus turns our planet into poop."
But the truth is, every business eventually is sent to live at the sunny Business Farm upstate, with the cows and the chickens and all your childhood pets. This includes companies that millions upon millions of people still pay attention to. And just because they seem healthy on the outside doesn't mean they aren't decaying into an atrophied, gangrenous lump on the inside ...
6Fast Food And Casual Dining Is Grasping At Straws
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Many of our favorite restaurants -- both casual dining and fast food -- are in grave danger of being forced onto an all-liquidation diet. Their crimes: being too expensive, too unhealthy, or too uncool. The worst offenders are all three.
Take Red Lobster, sold by their owner last year after sales dropped nearly 9 percent and visits dropped 19 percent, in a single quarter. Or Olive Garden, whose recent drops are less severe (5.5 percent sales drop with 13 percent less traffic) but equally alarming. In a world where nobody has money, fewer and fewer want to plunk down $15 to $20 on a plate of spaghetti or trout they could easily prepare themselves without a gaggle of stoned teenagers as the middleman.
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And thanks to Pinterest, you can totally make your own stupid lobster hat.
Furthermore, these restaurants boast slow service (a crime akin to murder in today's fast-paced world) and suffer the stink of looking exactly as they did 20 or 30 years ago. They're out-of-touch, old eateries for out-of-touch, old eaters. Not even sandwiches made out of breadsticks can save a company that, fair or not, the hip kids of modernity have officially dubbed "neither the cat's pajamas nor the bee's knees."
It's part of their "Unlimited Soup And Eyeball Rolls" menu.
Then there's Quiznos and Sbarro. Both are hundreds of millions of dollars in debt, thanks largely to a growing reputation of not being nearly as healthy as ostensibly figure-friendly eateries like Panera Bread and Chipotle. Both have filed for bankruptcy -- in fact, this is Sbarro's second filing this decade alone. On the bright side, this gives Sbarro two punches on their Bankruptcy Court VIP card. Eight more and they get one filing absolutely free.
Finally, there's good ol' McDonald's. This January, they decided what they really needed was to take a giant shit all over health food. So they filmed a commercial where they insisted they would never sell out with disgusting, hipster swill like soy, Greek yogurt, or, Grimace forbid, kale.
Just like it's never been actual lettuce, cheese, or meat.
Four months later, McDonald's introduced kale. Of course they did -- misguided principles are the first to go when your business is fucking dying. Sales have dropped significantly over the past couple years, leading to the closing of over 350 stores, in addition to that sheepish attempt to win back millennials with devil-kale. Unfortunately, the rest of their menu is still some of the worst food possible health-wise, and when combined with the brick-and-mortar manifestation of a cheesy uncle who thinks he's "with it" because he knows what hashtags are, you can see why Ronald might be grilling up flatbreads at Panera sooner rather than later.
5Hip Clothing Stores Are Ass Now
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As our fireside restaurant chat proved, it's good business to consider the wants and needs of young people. And now for the shitstorm that occurs when that's all you think about.
There's a clothing massacre going on at your local mall. All those hip, trendy fashion shops that were the places to be for young, gorgeous people dumb enough to wear a shirt featuring the name of the store they bought it from like a good little billboard -- are in gigantic trouble. Very soon, there'll be a lot of empty space at that mall you haven't visited in 10 years. It'll look good next to the empty space that's already there.
American Eagle Outfitters, for one, plans to close down 150 stores over the next three years. After years of declining sales, it's nice of them to leave a window open in case customers suddenly change their minds. Aeropostale, meanwhile, isn't nearly as patient. They've thrown in the towel so hard they shut down stores during the holiday season -- the one time people actually pay attention to the mall, and they can't even make money then.
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Even the models have given up.
American Apparel, meanwhile, lost $19 million in one quarter last year, due to both poor sales and spending mountains of money to oust CEO Dov Charney, who just couldn't quit masturbating in front of women and taking his pants off during meetings long enough to actually run his company. Shit sales and batshit leaders are rarely a winning combination, it turns out.
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"I've put my blood, sweat, and ... actually, it'd be quicker to list the
body fluids I haven't inserted in this company."
And what of the big one, Abercrombie & Fitch? Apparently being name-checked by one putrid song only drives sales for about a decade, because their bottom line is bottoming out. Stocks are half of what they were a year ago, and at least 60 stores are on the chopping block. It certainly doesn't help that longtime CEO Mike Jeffries, who retired just a few months ago, once publicly stated he wanted to market only to "cool, good-looking people."
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"And inform the shareholders 'cool, good-looking people' look like
an Easter Island sculpture of Gary Busey."
Each of these companies, even the ones with sane management, suffered the same problem: They catered to a young, trendy audience but didn't grow with the times. They assumed that, just because Generation Y enjoyed advertising "A&F" or "AM Eagle" all over their hoodies, Generation Z would as well. That simply isn't the case, as Generation Z has their own trendy stores -- Forever 21, Zara, H&M, and others that just "get it." But this'll last only until Generation Now-I-Know-My-ABCs comes of age and starts shopping at Zorbo's and Doodledong's and Crazy Ezekiel's Tunic Outlet.