Old Country Buffet Abruptly Closes in Pittsfield
PITTSFIELD, Mass.— Old Country Buffet employees were surprised Thursday morning find a sign posted on the door saying the restaurant was closing for good.
The closure is part of 74 Ovation Brands restaurants throughout the nation to close on Thursday.
A sign posted on the restaurant's front door reads:
"To team members at this location, we regret to inform you that this location has been closed permanently. Please see the visiting manager for exit paperwork, along with monies due to you. We do encourage and invite you to reapply at one of the nearby Ovation Brands restaurants. Thank you for your time and for your understanding. If you have any questions, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you."
Handwritten on the post is information on an employee meeting to be held Thursday afternoon. Employees posting on iBerkshires' Facebook page say they were given no notification of the closure; it was apparently open Wednesday night. It is unclear how many employees will be impacted by the company's decision.
The restaurant has operated for years in the Berkshire Crossings shopping center on Hubbard Avenue.
Old Country Buffet restaurants are part of Ovation Brands, formerly Buffets Inc., out of Greer, S.C. The company has gone through several bankruptcies in recent years and shuttered some 80 restaurants in 2012. It still operates more than 300 restaurants, including Fire Mountain and HomeTown Buffet eateries, in 35 states. It was acquired last fall by Food Management Partners.
Thursday afternoon Peter Donbavand, vice president of business development for Ovation, issued a statement announcing the closure of 74 Old Country Buffet, Hometown Buffets, Ryan's, Fire Mountain, and Country Buffet restaurants which were "underperforming."
"Ovation Brands was acquired by Food Management Partners in August 2015. Since that time, we have continued to execute former management’s operating plan to stabilize and enhance the performance of the company. However, based on ongoing assessments of individual restaurants, it is necessary to shutter locations for the continued viability of the brands and our employees," Donbavand wrote.
"74 underperforming Old Country Buffet, Hometown Buffet, Ryan’s, Fire Mountain and Country Buffet restaurants throughout the United States will permanently close on February 4, 2016. While we cannot predict future market conditions, the plan is to continue operating the remaining Ovation Brands’ restaurants as they are financially viable. Although the overall number of employees affected by closures is large, employees of closed restaurants will be given the opportunity to apply for positions at operating stores, and we expect many to take advantage of that opportunity."
The statement went on to say that Ovation will be adding staff to the restaurants which will remain open.
"We know that these decisions are not easy, however, we strongly believe that this direction is best for the long-term health of all brands," he wrote.
Updated Thursday, February 4, 2016 at 1:30 p.m. with comments from Ovation Brands' Vice President of Business Development Peter Donbavand.
Tags: closure, restaurant chain,
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