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January 18, 2012

Old Country Buffet to close 81 restaurants, files bankruptcy

The corporate parent of Old Country Buffet announced today that it is going into bankruptcy for a second time and it will close 81 restaurants.

No word on what locations will be axed and pack up their sneeze guards.

Of course, Rochester has an OCB in the TJ Maxx Plaza & More Plaza. It lived through the last bankruptcy round of closings four years ago, so it probably has good odds this time.

Other media sources are reporting that the list of Buffets to close will possibly be released Thursday. So I'll keep an eye on that.

Here's a little from today's press release:

Buffets, Inc. announced today a restructuring agreement that it has reached with senior lenders holding 83% of its senior debt, which will recapitalize the Company while eliminating virtually all of the Company's approximately $245 million of outstanding debt. The recapitalization will provide the Company with resources to invest in its proven reconcepting program, as well as other restaurant and profitability improvement initiatives.

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Under the proposed plan, the Company will eliminate its outstanding debt of approximately $245 million, as well as annual interest payments of more than $30 million. The pre-negotiated plan of reorganization anticipates the Company's existing lenders will receive 100 percent of the Company's new common stock upon emergence.

As part of the restructuring plan, the Company expects to promptly close 81 underperforming restaurants, representing approximately 16 percent of its nearly 500 restaurants nationally. "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," commented Mike Andrews, Buffets CEO. In addition to the immediate restaurant closings, the Company is seeking more favorable lease arrangements with its landlords at other restaurant locations. To the extent those leases cannot be modified on acceptable terms, additional restaurant closings may be required.

Comments

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As reported in the Star Tribune, none of the OCB restaurants in Minnesota will be closing. Good news for the Rochester OCB and the others in Minnesota.

I heard elsewhere that the OCB in st cloud was on the chopping block... or going off the buffet, if you will. I want to say CCO, but I'm not sure.

Ok, apparently it was KARE that reported it, but now the list says it won't.

We haven't been there in years. It should close. Jeff you should check out Bob's Smokestack Ribs Elgin store. Think it closed. Had a good meal at the Rochester store Saturday. That man cooks some mean soul food!

Wow, Bubba. Conceited much? Just because you haven't been there for years, doesn't mean it should close. That place is always busy. And as the only non ethnic oriented buffet in Rochester, it makes sense to keep it open for the corporation.

Not conceited in the least. ... I try to stay away from buffets for the same reason people don't like to touch door knobs. I made a supreme sacrifice for Bob's soul Food buffet.

Bubba, on Bob's facebook page it said "For the time being yes Elgin is Closed. we are trying to work it out to re-open. Right now things are tight."

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