ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- One-by-one, more Steak 'n Shake locations are closing in the St. Louis area.
One of the most recent locations to shutter is in Eureka on 1567 W. Fifth Street.
Like others, a note on the door explains the restaurant will be closed until a new franchise owner comes along.
These closures are very disappointing to loyal customers like Paul Pohlers.
"Either the four for $4 or the $3.99 special [are my favorite]. I get the triple steak burger with fries," said Pohlers.
His lunch routine was abruptly interrupted when his go-to restaurant in Ellisville closed, along with at least 20 others in the St. Louis area, nearly half of the 43 locations here.
Many of the signs posted on the closed-restaurants' doors say they are also remodeling with new equipment to improve speed and customer service.
"If you're going to try to convert these, you don't do these all at once. That's absolutely ludicrous. Why are you building brand loyalty but not maintaining it?" said Pohlers.
It's happening across the country.
According to the most recent quarterly report by Steak 'n Shake's parent company, Biglari Holdings, in just the first three months of 2019, they temporarily closed 44 of the 413 company-operated restaurants. There was no change for the 213 locations already franchised.
Now, radio ads and billboards are trying to catch the attention of potential franchise owners.
The restaurant website says they plan to franchise the 400 locations currently company operated.
A company spokesperson declined an interview but confirmed they plan to re-open all of the temporarily closed locations in the St. Louis area after they find new franchise owners, but she said they have no timeline for how long that may take.
According to its website, Steak 'n Shake says for a total investment of $10,000, selected franchise owner are granted the rights to operate one of the restaurants.