Photo by Gerry Dincher via Flickr

Of all restaurant chains, it will likely face the most impact from the storm

Mike Pomranz
September 13, 2018

When it comes to restaurant chains in the South, few are as distinctly regional as Bojangles’ Famous Chicken ‘n Biscuits. First launched in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1977, the Cajun-seasoned fried chicken chain has expanded to over 750 U.S. locations, according to the brand’s website. The Carolinas are still where Bojangles calls home, with 312 restaurants in North Carolina and 135 restaurants in South Carolina.

For fans that live in the region, that’s great news: a Bojangles' is always right around the corner. But this week, with Hurricane Florence bearing down on the area, the brand faces a possible massive impact on its business. Bloomberg suggests that about 69 percent of Bojangles locations are in states that are likely to be affected by the hurricane, setting it up as the most significant restaurant chain to face such a large possible impact from the storm.

But what will that impact be? Apparently, all restaurants usually see a decrease in business leading up to a storm as potential customers instead choose to hunker down at home. But Bloomberg analyst Jennifer Bartashus says that some chains—especially pizza chains—can see a significant bump post-storm as people get antsy to return to a normal life. “You usually see a decline ahead and a little bit of a pick up after,” she said.

However, while those figures can somewhat balance each other out, the largest concern is what happens during the storm. “The bigger question is how long restaurants may be closed and how much damage that may occur if they're in the direct path of the storm,” Bartashus continued.

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Of course, Bojangles' isn’t the only restaurant chain that’s going to have to deal with Florence. Bloomberg also cites Zaxby’s and Bloomin’ Brands (best known for Outback, Carrabba’s, and Bonefish) as two companies with plenty of business in the region. Meanwhile, the site Restaurant Business tosses major Burger King franchiser Carrols Restaurant Group, Zoes Kitchen, and Cracker Barrel on that list as well. But let’s be honest: Though Hurricane Florence might throw a wrench in a few numbers shareholders care about, in general, all of these massive brands will probably be fine. The restaurants to really worry about are all of the small, independently-owned eateies where a natural disaster could put them out of business. So here’s wishing everyone in storm’s path the best as Florence makes landfall.