Did Claim Jumper go out of business?

Claim Jumper is an American restaurant chain known for its large portions and American cuisine. The chain was founded in 1977 and grew to over 40 locations across several states at its peak. In recent years, Claim Jumper has closed some locations leading some to speculate that the restaurant is going out of business. This article will examine the facts around Claim Jumper’s closures and financial situation to determine if the iconic chain is truly going away for good.

Quick Answers

– Claim Jumper has closed some locations in recent years but still has over 20 restaurants open across the Western and Midwestern United States.

– The company filed for bankruptcy protection in 2010 but emerged and continued operating after being sold to a private equity firm.

– While the chain is smaller than its heyday in the 1990s and 2000s, there is no indication that Claim Jumper plans to fully shut down all remaining locations.

– Claim Jumper’s parent company continues to promote and market the chain giving no signs of completely going out of business in the near future.

– Some closures can be attributed to expired leases, rising rents, and shifting consumer preferences away from casual dining chains.

– Claim Jumper has adapted in recent years by downsizing some locations, opening more franchises, and diversifying menu options.

History of Claim Jumper Restaurants

Claim Jumper was founded in 1977 by David J. Russo in Los Alamitos, California. Russo wanted to create a restaurant that served large portions of American cuisine at affordable prices. The first location became popular for its hearty dishes like smoked ribs, rotisserie chicken, burgers, and salmon.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Claim Jumper grew rapidly by opening new restaurants across California. The chain emphasized large portions and pioneer-themed decor to differentiate itself from other casual dining competitors. Claim Jumper became known for huge menu items like the Grim Reaper pizza that weighed over 5 pounds.

At its peak in the early 2000s, Claim Jumper had over 40 locations primarily across California but also in a few other Western states like Nevada, Arizona, and Texas. The restaurants ranged from 12,000 to 20,000 square feet in size to accommodate hundreds of guests.

In 2010, SSP Group purchased Claim Jumper and attempted to grow the chain further. However, the company was hit hard by the recession and filed for bankruptcy protection that same year. Landry’s Inc. eventually purchased Claim Jumper out of bankruptcy in 2012.

Closures and Downsizing in Recent Years

Under Landry’s Inc. ownership, Claim Jumper began closing underperforming locations or allowing leases to expire. Between 2015-2018, nearly half of Claim Jumper’s locations were shut down reducing the number of restaurants from 40+ down to around 20.

Some of the closures can be attributed to routine factors like expired leases or lagging sales at older locations. Many casual dining chains trimmed locations during this period due to declining traffic and shifts in consumer preferences. Claim Jumper’s large restaurant footprints also made them vulnerable when rising rents made renewal cost-prohibitive.

Beyond just closing locations, Claim Jumper shrank some existing restaurants to reduce overhead costs. The chain is focusing on a smaller core of more profitable restaurants rather than rapid expansion.

Claim Jumper also began opening more franchised locations versus company-owned restaurants. Franchises shift some of the operating risk away from the parent company. Currently around one quarter of Claim Jumper restaurants are franchises.

Menu Changes and New Marketing

To adapt with the times, Claim Jumper has expanded its menu selection and enacted other changes:

– More seafood options and contemporary dishes have been added rather than just steakhouse classics. Claim Jumper is modernizing to keep up with food trends.

– Healthier and lower calorie meals were introduced as consumers became more health conscious.

– Menu prices were adjusted with the goal of providing value and retaining budget-conscious customers.

– Delivery, online ordering, and loyalty programs were added to drive traffic and increase convenience.

– Marketing shifted to highlight Claim Jumper’s core items like ribs and rotisserie chicken that differentiate it from competitors.

Despite rumors of going out of business, Landry’s continues to actively market and promote Claim Jumper. The chain frequently advertises holiday meal packages and features its signature dishes. Claim Jumper is still viewed as one of the company’s core brands.

Current Financial Health

As a private company, detailed financial information for Claim Jumper is limited. However, there are no signs that the chain is losing money or on the verge of bankruptcy again:

– In earning calls, Landry’s Inc. executives have stated they are pleased with Claim Jumper’s performance. The chain is described as stable with good cash flow.

– Franchisees continue investing in new Claim Jumper locations indicating the brand is still seen as financially viable. Nearly all stores are company-owned or franchised rather than leased.

– Menus and marketing are frequently refreshed showing an ongoing brand investment by corporate.

– Indeed job listings and Glassdoor reviews suggest many locations are maintaining normal staffing levels.

While Claim Jumper operates fewer locations today, the remaining business appears stable and profitable. The company is sustaining cash flow without taking on excessive debt.

Likelihood of Going Out of Business

Based on the available information, it seems unlikely Claim Jumper will completely go out of business anytime soon for a few reasons:

– The company emerged from bankruptcy over 10 years ago and has stabilized its finances and right-sized operations since then.

– Claim Jumper has negotiated lease extensions for core locations and focused closures on poorer performing restaurants.

– The brand still has strong customer awareness and loyalty especially in its Western U.S. markets.

– Traffic and sales are adequate to sustain current operations though growth has leveled off.

– Landry’s Inc. continues investing in marketing and menu innovation showing a commitment to Claim Jumper’s future.

Barring an unforeseen crisis or severe recession, Claim Jumper will likely maintain a smaller but steady presence, especially on the West Coast. However, large-scale expansion like the 1990s is unlikely given the shift in consumer preferences.

Potential Risks

There are a few risks that could threaten Claim Jumper but none appear imminent or severe enough to force full closure:

– If costs like wages, food prices, and rents rise faster than menu prices can be increased, profits would suffer. However, this impact would be gradual.

– A sustained decline in customer traffic as demographics shift could force additional closures over time. But core customer base remains solid.

– Private equity ownership brings risk of cost-cutting or selloff. However, Landry’s is focused on restaurants.

– Changing tastes, especially healthier lifestyles among younger generations, may lessen appeal. But Claim Jumper has added lighter options.

– Major recession could impact sales though brand loyalty helps retain customers.

Overall, while the risks to the restaurant industry are real, Claim Jumper’s smaller size and loyal customer base make it well-positioned to remain operating.


Claim Jumper has experienced significant contraction over the last decade, closing nearly half its locations at the brand’s peak. However, the chain does not appear to be on the verge of going out of business altogether.

Parent company Landry’s has right-sized operations to focus on a smaller core of profitable company-owned and franchised locations primarily out West. Menu innovation and brand marketing continue attracting customers to Claim Jumper’s signature hearty comfort food.

While large-scale expansion is unlikely in today’s climate, the remaining 20+ Claim Jumper locations generate adequate sales to stay open. The chain retains relatively strong brand awareness and loyalty in its markets.

Barring an unforeseen crisis, Claim Jumper will likely continue on as a smaller regional player rather than disappearing outright. The company has demonstrated a commitment to adapting the decades-old brand for today’s consumers. While not as dominant as its heyday in the 90s, Claim Jumper persists as a nostalgic and indulgent dining choice for special occasions.

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