Take the rollercoaster ride that was Shoney's

Restaurant Rewind: Once a dominant player in its segment, the family-dining chain sported some of the more memorable CEOs the restaurant industry has ever seen. Come see what we mean.

Few full-service restaurant chains have seen the steep ups and downs of Shoney’s, a brand that once dominated family dining. It also sported one of the most ill-fitting management teams ever to occupy a C-suite. No wonder it was one of the most talked-about chains of the 1980s and '90s, only to fly out of mind before you can say "breakfast bar." What humbled a brand that appeared to have so much momentum?

On the occasion of Shoney’s 75th anniversary, Restaurant Rewind is strapping into the rollercoaster to relive those climbs and plummets. Host and Editor At Large goes all the way back to the chain’s beginnings with an entrepreneurial college football star who was once headed for the Brooklyn Dodgers—the NFL team, not the better-known baseball squad that followed. It’s a story of amazingly bad behavior and considerable hubris, with good intensions ultimately prevailing. And, as Romeo notes, the story is still being written.

Download it and every edition of the historical podcast from wherever you get your stories.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content


At Papa Johns, delivery shifts from its own apps to aggregators

The Bottom Line: The pizza delivery chain’s business with companies like Uber Eats and DoorDash is thriving while its own delivery is slowing. But this isn’t the beginning of the end of self-delivery, CEO Rob Lynch says.


How the shift to counter service has changed Steak n Shake's profitability

The Bottom Line: Sardar Biglari, chairman of the chain’s owner Biglari Holdings, details how the addition of kiosks and counter service has transformed restaurants.


Grand Geneva Resort & Spa's 'Ouisconsin' croissants reflect the state's French legacy

Behind the Menu: Hyper-local Wisconsin ingredients and a three-day baking process turn out pastries that are in high demand by hotel guests.


More from our partners