National Buffet Chain To Close All Outlets Permanently

The San Diego Tribune reports:

Souplantation, the popular buffet-style dining brand founded in San Diego 42 years ago, is closing all of its restaurants permanently, a casualty of the coronavirus pandemic that is likely to be the death knell for all self-serve eateries.

The permanent shuttering of the 97 restaurants, including 44 in California, was announced Thursday following weeks of efforts to salvage San Diego-based Garden Fresh Restaurants, the parent company of Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes, which operates outside of Southern California.

Click Orlando reports:

“The FDA had previously put out recommendations that included discontinuing self-serve stations, like self-serve beverages in fast food, but they specifically talked about salad bars and buffets,” said John Haywood, CEO of Garden Fresh, said.

“The regulations are understandable, but unfortunately, it makes it very difficult to reopen. And I’m not sure the health departments are ever going to allow it.” Sweet Tomatoes opened its first store in Florida in 1990 in Palm Harbor.