Buffet-style in trouble: Souplantation, Sweet Tomatoes will likely close, CEO says, citing coronavirus https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/05/08/buffet-style-souplantation-sweet-tomatoes-restaurants-will-likely-close-ceo-says-citing-coronavirus/ The bottomless soup and salad appears to have finally run out at the 42-year-old buffet-style restaurant chain Souplantation, known outside Southern California as Sweet Tomatoes. Its chief executive revealed Thursday that he and the chain’s owner are planning to permanently shut down all 97 locations across the country. The toll of covid-19 is the “sole reason” for the chain’s downfall, John Haywood, CEO of the restaurants’ parent company, Garden Fresh Restaurants, told The Washington Post Thursday. After federal health authorities recommended halting buffet-style service, Haywood said he and the owner, Perpetual Capital Partners, simply did not see a viable path forward for a restaurant built entirely around that concept. “We’ve exhausted everything,” he said. The only option left is to file for bankruptcy, he said — the “obvious outcome” of which will be that “the restaurants will not reopen." “We spent eight weeks modeling different options, and it just doesn’t work,” Haywood said. “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.” -------------------- Ugh. We frequent their restaurants in California (Souplantation) just about as often as we do here in Arizona (Sweet Tomatoes). Great healthy options. Serve yourself. I wonder if this is just the first domino to fall among buffet-style eateries as a result of Covid-19? Also hearing that the FDA wants to do away with any self-serve drinking stations in restaurants and other businesses.