Ryan's Serves Its Last Buffet
One of 81 Buffets Inc. restaurants closed in a bankruptcy restructuring agreement, the Cartersville location employed 35 to 50 people.
Considered underperforming, Cartersville's Ryan's Steakhouse is among the restaurants shuttered in a Buffets Inc. bankruptcy reorganization.
Spokesman Nathan Riggs said the local restaurant, which closed last night with a bankruptcy court filing known as a lease rejection motion, employed 35 to 50 full- and part-time managers and staff.
Bartow's unemployment rate in November was 10.3 percent, topping the national December rate of 8.5 percent.
A total of about 3,000 Buffets employees lost their jobs as the company closed 81 of its restaurants. While workers can apply for open positions at Buffets' nearby restaurants, a severance program is in place for those affected by the layoff.
More closings may come to fruition, but Buffets locations immediately shut down represent about 16 percent of the company's nearly 500 restaurants across the country.
Other Georgia locations closed last night include restaurants in Canton, Calhoun, Stockbridge, Macon and Warner Robins.
“The decision to close these underperforming restaurants, though difficult, resulted from a comprehensive, store-by-store analysis of financial performance, occupancy costs, market conditions and the long-term strategy of our reorganized restaurant portfolio,” CEO Mike Andrews said in a press release.
Aiming to recapitalize Buffets, which employs 28,000 operating Old Country Buffet, HomeTown Buffet, Ryan’s and Fire Mountain restaurants, the agreement with senior lenders will eliminate about all of the company's $245 million in outstanding debt by converting it to stock, giving those lenders controlling equity stakes.
Buffets officials said the company will then invest in its reconcepting program as well as other restaurant and profitability improvement initiatives.
“Similar to eliminating an unsustainable debt burden, reducing our total restaurant footprint by closing unsustainable restaurants will allow the company to focus on improving operations, enhancing our guest experience and making targeted investments that ensure the long-term viability of Buffets," Andrews added. "While closing these under performing restaurants is a necessary part of our restructuring and improving our business, we deeply regret the impact on our dedicated associates in those restaurants that will be closed.
"The closings in no way reflect their hard work and efforts, and we thank all of our team members for their commitment to delivering the quality, service and value that have been trademarks of our Buffets brands for many years.”