Owner Of Old Country, HomeTown Buffets Closes Restaurants, Files For Bankruptcy

Image courtesy of WREG

Last month, we shared the news that Ovation Brands abruptly closed 74 restaurants, including the brands Hometown Buffet, Ryan’s Buffet, Fire Mountain, and Old Country Buffet. Yesterday, the chain closed the remainder of their restaurants during peak brunch buffet time, again without giving any advance notice to employees. Today, the chain filed for bankruptcy.

Customers and employees gathered in the parking lot when they couldn't enter the restaurant. (WREG)

Customers and employees gathered in the parking lot when they couldn’t enter the restaurant. (WREG)

The person who answered the phone at one restaurant in Pennsylvania said that the establishment would close for three days to take inventory. Employees at a restaurant in Memphis, TN showed up to work and learned that they weren’t needed. Then local police showed up to remove them from the property in the presence of a local TV news crew.

Signs say that the restaurants are closed until Tuesday for inventory.

Signs say that the restaurants are closed until Tuesday for inventory. (WREG)

The locations could re-open, or not. Yesterday, angry employees at the Memphis restaurant said that they had no idea what to do. “[The company] won’t give us no answers,” one employee told TV station WREG. “They won’t tell us nothing.”

Ovation Brands was born when Buffets Inc. and Ryan Brands merged 10 years ago. In the last eight years, the company has filed for bankruptcy three times. They claim to have $100 million in debts and $50 million in assets.

This sign is probably no longer accurate.

This sign is probably no longer accurate. (WREG)

One restaurant business expert credited an overall trend toward healthier eating –– or at least not eating two days’ worth of calories in one sitting –– for the downturn in the buffet business.

HomeTown Buffet, affiliate dining chains file for bankruptcy [Reuters]
Unexpected Ryan’s Buffet closure leaves many jobless [WREG]
Old Country Buffets close in NEPA [Times Tribune]
Report: Ovation Brands files for bankruptcy [Nation’s Restaurant News]