Fresh Acqusitions LLC, the parent company of six restaurant chains with locations across 27 states, has just filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. While the filing will save two of its brands, most of them will likely close up shop for good.
According to court documents reviewed by Restaurant Business, the company entered the pandemic with as many as 90 restaurants under the brands Ryan's, Old Country Buffet, HomeTown Buffet, Fire Mountain, and Furr's, all of which are buffet chains, and Tahoe Joe's, a steakhouse chain in California. All but six locations of Tahoe Joe's are currently operational.
Through the bankruptcy process, the company plans to preserve two of its brands—Tahoe Joe's and a newer, redesigned version of Furr's, which was unveiled last year. It also plans a sale of Furr's intellectual property.
"We are looking forward to emerging from bankruptcy as a stronger operator with a focus on the Tahoe Joe's and Furr's AYCE Marketplace banners," Jason Kemp, CEO of VitaNova, a restaurant operator which is providing financing to Fresh Acquisitions to get it through the process, said in a statement. "These great brands serving great food will create a platform for future growth."
However, the future of its remaining four buffet-style chains is uncertain. One likely scenario is that they simply won't reopen any of the locations, and their fate further illustrates the pandemic struggles of buffet-type operators, in particular. Golden Corral's second-largest franchisee recently filed for bankruptcy, while the beloved healthy buffet Souplantation closed up shop only two months into the pandemic.
For more, check out America's Largest Fast-Food Chain Is on a Downward Spiral, Reports Say. And don't forget to sign up for our newsletter to get all of the latest restaurant news delivered straight to your inbox.