These Buffet-Style Restaurants are Closing Permanently Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic
The economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic is like nothing we’ve ever seen before, and it has affected certain businesses within the retail and restaurant industries particularly hard. 😥 In fact, some restaurants are now planning to close permanently as a result of COVID-19.
The Washington Post is reporting that Sweet Tomatoes (and Souplantation, as it’s known in southern California) will now be closing all 97 of their locations permanently. According to John Haywood, chief executive of Garden Fresh Restaurants, the pandemic is the “sole reason” for the chain’s demise.
The FDA has recommended the discontinuation of self-service in restaurants like salad bars, buffets, and self-serve beverage stations. Haywood said that he does not see any way to operate a restaurant built entirely around a buffet concept within those guidelines. He went on to say,
“We spent eight weeks modeling different options, and it just doesn’t work. Part of the magic is enjoying the ability to build your own experience there. So you can think about different ways to do it, but it takes away the essence of the concept. Financially it’s just not feasible. We’ve exhausted everything.”
With the next step for these restaurants likely to be bankruptcy, this could be a bad sign for buffet-style dining in general. Haywood said that he fears for the future of other buffet-style restaurants, due to the FDA recommendations against the buffet service model.