Chain Restaurants are Quickly Multiplying in Athens

Athens, Ohio is known for their many small town businesses, but recently multiple popular chain restaurants have made their way to the area. The newest additions include Steak and Shake and iHop.

iHop, the 24-hour pancake restaurant opened on East State Street earlier this fall. Steak and Shake is the newest to the party, opening earlier this month. According to an interview with the Post, the owner Jim Stricklin states that this location will not start out being open 24 hours, but is something that the restaurant eventually hopes to work up to.

Stricklin believes Steak and Shake will be good late night food for college students because it is a “prime location” being about 50 yards from the bike path. Will students be willing to ditch their regular Court Street fast food options and go the extra distance to Steak and Shake like Stricklin plans? Only time will tell.

But what does this mean for the small businesses that thrive on the business of the Ohio University students? Last year, many residents and business owners were upset by the news of Starbucks being the newest coffee shop addition to Athens. Many expressed that they thought there was simply no need for the Starbucks because there are already plenty of coffee shop options. Chain restaurant QDoba also opened on East State Street last year.

Where is the trend of adding chain restaurants to Athens heading? Will the chains have a negative impact on the existing small businesses, or are these new chains doing no harm and simply exciting additions for the city?

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