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A buffet giant closes 74 restaurants

old country buffet

The new owner of Old Country Buffet, Homestyle Buffet, Ryan’s, Fire Mountain and Country Buffet has closed 74 branches of the five chains in locations across the United States.

The brands are owned by Food Management Partners, whose portfolio also includes the Don Pablo’s, Furr’s and Zio’s chains. FMP bought the buffet concepts’ prior parent, Ovation Brands, in August.

“While we cannot predict future market conditions, the plan is to continue operating the remaining Ovation Brands’ restaurants as they are financially viable,” FMP said in a statement released to the media.

The statement indicated that some staffers whose restaurants closed would be reassigned to other locations.

The closings were the latest controversial development for FMP since buying Ovation, which had filed for bankruptcy protection. A federal judge has ordered the company to pay $11.4 million in damages to a former customer of an Old Country Buffet in Cheyenne, Wyo., who was sickened from salmonella-tainted food served from the restaurant. The company is arguing that the liability was wiped out by Ovation’s bankruptcy filing, and has asked the judge to set aside his decision.

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