Friday, August 15, 2008

RYANS MANAGERS SPEAK OUT

On July 25, 2008 I posted an article on this site about what was then the imminent closing of 127 Ryans restaurant by their parent corporation, Buffets, Inc. Since the publication of this article I have had more response comments to that article than any other article that I have written for this site since its start. There are 25 comments and most of them are from Ryans managers and individuals involved with Ryans restaurants.

With these comments these managers of Ryans restaurants have spoken out about their feelings both about the possible closings but also about what has happened to their restaurants since the take over of Ryans by Buffets, Inc. - the parent company that owns and operates Old Country Buffet and its various incarnations. They have all written anonoumously which is fine because they must protect their jobs and their careers. Their sentiments and reactions are so important that I felt that they should be highlighted in an article all their own - and not just left to those who bother to read the comments with an article as well as the article.

In an addendum added to the original article one week later, I updated the news with the final decision of the Bankruptcy Court that blocked Buffets, Inc. from closing the Ryans Buffets. From one of the comments left recently by one of the Ryan's managers I learned that Buffets, Inc. reached an agreement with the lease holder that will allow them to keep the Ryans locations open and they will remain open. In reading the following quotes from the Ryans managers, please keep in mind that this fact had not become a reality when they were writing their comments and expressing their feelings.

Here are the comments from Ryans managers and team members - these quotes are exactly as written - I have not edited nor changed anything.
______________________

"I totally agree. As a long time team member of Ryan's I hope Fortress will be allowed to take over our operations."

"as a delivery driver for shoneys and ryans, i enjoy delivering the stores, i think that buffets is just being stubborn and pissed that fortress has lease on the properties"

"one of many managers at Ryans Here! Just holding my breath, trying to find out what's going to happen! (sigh)"
"As a Ryan's Manager, I do agree that Buffets has lowered the standard for Ryan's. The company is bankrupt and all they can talk about is passing a stupid cinnamon roll. Mike Andrews speaks of hard work and loyalty, but he is the first one in line to put those hard workers out of a job."

"As a manager of Ryan's, it is hard to believe that OCB has sdrewed up again, lower Ryan's standard by making us follow their recipes, gone bankrupt and now wants us to be jobless and homeless maybe, WHO CARES NOT BUFFETS - LET'S JUST ACT LIKE NOTHING IS HAPPENING AND WALK THROUGH THE DINING ROOM PASSING THOSE STUPID CINNAMON ROLLS AND ACT STUPID TO OUR CUSTOMERS WHEN THEY SAY THAT HEARD THE RUMOR THAT WE ARE CLOSING. MAYBE WE SHOULD DIRECT ALL THE GUEST TO THEIR TOLL FREE GUEST SERVICE NUBER AS WELL!!"

"As managers of this company we cant believe where Buffets Inc. has taken this successfull company. Since the take over we have been fearing for our jobs, both as team members as well as managers. They fired the majority of the loyal folks that build this company from the ground up, claiming that their folks would do better. Now they realize they cant handle what they took on, filed chapter 11 and now want to shut us down. That comment about the stupid cinnamon rolls is so true, while the man from "down under" is busy makin fools out of us and pacifiying us- the rest of us actually have to satisfy our guest with real problem solving skills. And bump your osat- when was the last time you went to a chinese buffet and were able to call in osats just to tick someone off. Guest with real concerns will let a manager now the rest will find a reason to complain if you give them one, especially if you offer them a $1000 for doing so. Stop being cheap and fix our equipment, now there is a real concern. We love our guest, team members & we take pride in our store. Underperforming and poor you said? Then lets remember that s... rolls down hill. Former Ryan's corporates we miss ya'll. Thanks a million to fortress for steppin in and saving us! Signed-"Old school Home of the Mega Bar"..."

(F0llowing this comment I asked in a comment what an OSAT is. Here is the response.)
"Osat is Overall SATisfaction, When guest call into the camment number on the receipt they are asked many questions, but the only one that matters is rate your overall satisfaction with your visit 1-5. the only number that counts is a five a 1-4 means a negative score. have your percent drop below 65 and you will be hearing from your boss. So we have to cheat and have regulars call in to boost the score. Oh and as i understand it Ryan's always tried to own the property that their locations were on, when Buffets took over they sold the master leases to two company's one of which is fortress, then a year later went to fortress and said that they wanted to close the under performing stores, Fortress said no that it was in violation of the agreement and to do so Buffets would have to pay heavy fines. So at court Buffet's said that they would close all 127 stores, hoping that fortress would Blink and decide that it would be better to renegotiate the leases. Fortress than said that they will just take over the stores. Buffets tried to play a game of High stakes poker with the stores and is about to lose their ass. Maybe we won't have to pass those gawdawful cinnamon pinwheels any more and can get some edible chicken pot pie again."

This from "Driver" - "Look up the Delaware bankruptcy court filing. Buffets would rather have shut down the remaining 127 of the 129 in the Fortress Master Lease than turn the stores over. They wanted this to happen by the end of August. Now, the judge is making them follow the terms of the master lease, not letting them close all the stores because of severance pay and back bills, even though they had an all or nothing option. So, now Buffets is trying to remove their intellectual property before the stores are transferred to Fortress within a 90 day window. I think Fortress is wanting to shut down the poorly preforming stores and keep the remaining open. Problem is, they don't have rights to the Ryans name. The 127 remaining stores have an annual gross income of over 40 million dollars. My worry is that if Fortress shuts down the stores, or goes with a new vendor, my company will probably fold, as we are on a knife edge because of rising fuel and people eating out less."

"I'm a server 4 ryans, we have all been walking on egg shells wondering whats going to happen. It's been nothing but B.S. since buffet inc took over they took are benefits away,most of the perks we had at Ryans. They really need to look at mgt. most of them in the past few years have been idiots in charge. if fortress does take over from what i understand my ryans isnt a part of the 127. Whats going to happen to us. Since buffet inc. will still own us, i've heard they are going too start shutting some of those stores down in august.has anyone else heard anything?"

"Ditto on the cinnamon (just a roll with tons of sugar) pinwheel. We used to have a simple plan. 1.Take care of the employees. 2. Take care of the food. 3. Happy team members make customers that are happy with the food even happier. "Give me any location for me to own and I can make it profitable. However over the years managers have been pushed further and further away from being able to do what is right for their restaurant. They no longer act like owners but are more like puppets on a stage passing out sugar coated dough balls."

"Let Fortress take over, then the 127 Ryan's will be run properly. The original owners of Ryan's were so money hungry, they should have done their homework and found out that Buffets was only trying to stay above water by buying Ryan's. Being the top bidder,they beat out Fortress, but look where Buffets is at now, CAN YOU SAY BANKRUPT!!! nad only dealing with COI for food who are filing bankruptcy also and we don't receive all of our goods from them because of their history. BOY OH BOY, we sure got screwed in the buyout with buffets. Now we only pray that the Judge will force Buffets to let Fortress takeover and that we will be a better run Company and build back up to the Ryan' Standard that most of us are use to."

"I have worked for Ryan`s for 10 years use to like going to work until Buffets inc took over now I walk on egg shells thinking how will i make it if we close. I have a 14 year old to raise by myself since my husband passed away Hope Fortress takes over and we all can enjoy our work place once again.I agree about the cinnamon roll who wants them?I would rather take care of the customer and have my perks back that was taken away."

This again from "Driver" - "COI is not a bad company. They have been in the food service industry for over 30 years. The marketplace as it stands is hard on everyone. They went out of their way to make room for Ryans. Also had a number of concepts go under, and that hurt tremendously. Driver routes are getting shorter to save money on fuel, everyone feels the squeeze."

"I have been working for Ryan,s for about 18 years. I work with other team members that have been there for 24,22,and 12 years! WOW what loyalty. We have become like a family if our store closes it will be like a death in the family. We will miss our coustomers also. I wished we could of kept our old store that had the front line,those were the good-old days!!! Loyal team meamber"

"Ryan's decline began approx 8 years ago under the previous administration. Leadership from the current COO down thru the Mgmnt ranks is weak at best. This is a broke company that I don't see being around much longer. Fortress is just another investment firm looking for profit - not a restaurant company wanting to build a future. They will take the co. further down."

"Just got a email today from the ceo and it looks like we will be continuing to pass cinnamon rolls for buffets. They negotiated a new lease agreement, so it does not look like Fortress will be taking over." "Where is Steve Layt & Mike Andrews Now ? Making sure they get their 500K ?"

(I am not sure who those two individuals are.)

"general manager for ryan's here!!
everything about Buffet's has been horrible from the beginning. they have stripped us from being able to staff our stores with the appropriate number of staff and the ability to buy good food, because they are so cheap, and threaten us with our jobs if we spend to much on food and labor. now where stuck with them forever!! mike andrews is an idiot, and steve layt needs to go back to being a cashier at KFC (where he came from) i used to love my job, not any more!! my unit makes about 50K profit every month. (what's so underpreforming about that!!) so i guess i'll just ride the wave, until they completely run the entire company into the ground. which by the way is what happens when you have accountants playing boss of a restaurant company. I bet someone from the field could but us back on top again. oh and also Rick Kirk your an idiot! how about when you roll out some new program, try thinking about it first.
RESET !!! what a joke.
how about giving us our 401(k) back . talk about LOYALTY!!"

"this is pretty interesting.....to see how much so many others have researched this topic as well. And to think that Corporate, for 2 months, turned their backs on the stores that they felt they were losing, only to re-etablish communications and pretend that it's 'business as usual". I think this is kinda cool, seeing others that can relate to what i go through daily. we need to start a chat room!!! BTW, anyone know where to pick-up the roll mix that we can't get anymore.....i don't wanna go to a table to say " i'm sorry that we don't have our 'signature item'" "


I also got the following comment early on - one that I am sure from its tone and content was posted by someone from Buffets, Inc. I have gotten comments in the past that are very obviously from Buffets, Inc. and while some restaurants do respond and comment to articles out in the open and identify themselves - the seemingly Buffets, Inc. comments are always anonymous -

Posted on August 5, 2008 - "Buffets Inc is NOT trying to close those restaurants. They have been trying to negotiate a fair lease with Fortress under the rules of Chapter 11. Please research your facts before you post."

I responded with this return comment the same day - "The facts for this article were well researched and the decision to not close these restaurants was a ruling by the Court that took place on July 30th= as I posted earlier in this comments section."

In fact all of the details of my article came from both the Washington Post and Reuters News Agency - both of which were credited in my original article.
______________________

It is very clear how the Ryans managers and employees who commented feel about Buffets, Inc., the sword hanging over their heads, and how they must now run their buffets that certainly has taken the Ryans chain down. I have written several times since first learning of the Buffets, Inc. take over of Ryans that I was afraid that they would bring what was the best buffet chain down to the level of Old Country Buffet - which statistically is not rated in the top three by Industry survey (yes, my opinion was supported by a survey done in the restaurant industry).

There may be additional comments submitted and published in the comment section of the original article - they just keep coming. Check there to see if there is more. Whatever came in up to the publication date of this article I have included here.

My sentiments go out to every one of the Ryans employees, managers, and related services who commented here. It is wonderful to know that these individuals care about their buffets and their customers. Ryans WAS the best. I know that these managers will do their best to get their restaurants up there once again. Thank you all for caring!

And to the manager who said, "...get some edible chicken pot pie again." - The chicken pot pie at Ryans was my wife's favorite and she has commented several times since the take over that it is not at Ryans any more and she misses it. Yes, do, please, bring that back!

_____________


Comments are continuing to be posted by managers and employees of Ryans both on the original article and this article. Please go to the original article and read some of the newly added comments - as well as the comments here. It is tragic what these poor people are being put through.

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

To the Person who said they were trying to negotiate a "FAIR" lease, I have 2 things to say.
1. They were the ones who signed the lease less than 2 years ago... did they not read it??? Or are they just incompetent.
2. You need to read the transcript of the hearing including the testimony of Michael Andrews. There was NEVER a mention of keeping the stores... it was ALL about closing the 127 units within 15 days.

The interestin part is yet to come. The company thinks that everyone is happy and everything is hunky dory now that they have kept the leases. Just sit back and watch the MASS EXODUS that is about to occur. Everyone in the field saw Fortress as the savior, when Buffets annouced that they are keeping the leases, it burst everyone's bubble....

Anonymous said...

I am a waitress in Alb, Ga. Our store is clueless as to what is going on, we still dont know if we have a garenteed job or not, tomorrow. On a nightly bases, we ask if we have a job the next day. That is no way to feel. Our Managers dont seem to know much about what is going on, all the info we have is from someone doing research on Bloomberg.com, which tells us nothing, but what we already know, (that we are bankrupt) So of course you can understand the frustration, and wonder if the ruling from the July 30 court date, that you are saying we are okay and will remain open, please let me know if this is true?????

Robert A said...

This site has no official information as to the restaurants remaining open or not - from the managers at various stores who have commented here, they seem to indicate that they have heard that their restaurants will stay open.

We do know that the Bankruptcy Court blocked Buffets, Inc. from closing the restaurants. We also "have heard" that Buffets has made some arrangement with the lease holder and Buffets will continue to run the restaurants themselves.

I wish there was more definitive information for you. I agree that it is a terrible way to live having this all hanging over your heads daily.

Buffets, Inc- why don't you put out an official release to your locations and let these people relax!

Anonymous said...

All that I can say for sure is that the lease has been renegotiated with Fortress and they will be closing 15 underperforming stores on that lease. Which stores to be closed are a closely help secret. As is when they will be closing them. The details of the agreement are "still being finalized". As of yet, all I know for sure is that the agreement has yet to be put in front of the court for their approval.

Anonymous said...

yeah, no ice cream again today - try explaining that one to your guest - have been for a week now! Does anyone know where we can get some?? Maybe some of the OCB's Can give us some, since they are getting theirs from a different vendor. Some of our guest are coming in and saying that they heard we were closing, heard it from OCB Managers. I thought we were part of the same company???????

Anonymous said...

The present "upper mgmt" of Buffets is so far out of touch with reality it is staggering.Mike Andrews, Steve Layt etc. surround themselves with yes men.(people who will only agree with them and never voice an opinion)ChetE. Randall S and Goodman b. are the least respected persons in the company, Rick Kirk is a bobblehead, only nodding agreement.Durin this time of absolute crisis we heard not one word from anyone of an RVP level or higher-WOW-Complete lack of leadership.(correction-during this time of crisis there was a message from Steve and his gay pet Chet on passing pinwheels)
I fear there is no salvation from this-no one trusts,respects or even believes Mike,Steve, Rick etc any more. You can't fix that.
They must be tanking the company on purpose because no one could possibly be this clueless.

Anonymous said...

From a person that used to work at corporate, I have to say that most of the opinions here are in the minority. Most employees feel that the company will be stronger when Buffet's comes out of bankruptcyand are working toward that goal. I was laid off about a year ago from the Ryans corporate office and hold no ill feelings. I wish them all the best. Rick Kirk, Chet Enten, Goodman Bare, Randall Sligh are all some of the nicest people to work for that you could know. We lost quite a few other good ones after the buyout as well. I would suggest anyone that isn't happy with their current positions to try to look for other jobs.

Anonymous said...

The quote was from Mike Andrews to the AD,s "Anyone can buy a company, Its what you do with it" I guess you answered your own question there!!! The Ryan's team is not calling the shots and they are all afraid of saying what they feel " I know first hand watch what you say" They will lose there job. The reset was Ricks way of getting you what you needed and cleaning the stores, Rick is on your side. The problem is E/R and the focus on controls instead of customers, Passing does build sales we did it for years the problem is you cant get out there when your checking e/r and cutting payroll or checking osat.Back when Operating Partners ran it the way it should be we had Sales and Profit and stock was $28 I was with the company 14 years and it sickens me to see this I left in Sept,07.

Anonymous said...

To the former corporate team member, Thank you we did have a great company and I hated to see this happen we lost alot of great caring people. This does go back to the managers shaving time and the class action law suit, thats always been my thoughts. That lead us to be sold to a weaker company that could not afford and that we destroyed head to head in ever market Kansas City,Atlanta They do not put money on the bottom line like we do. To hear Marilyn say " We arrrrr Up " priceless. Hang in there they will sell us to someone else and Ryan's will come back
Now everyone can appreciate Ed I could not handle running a store without food, I understand the frustration I have nothing good to say about Buffets Inc other then there side feels the same way about there upper management. If I had this to vent on I would still be with ryan's but I did let my feelings known to the wrong guy and got demoted so I resigned. The teams in the store are the face of the company, Corporate is to help support the field that's the way it should be we got more out of our 130 or so people in Greer then they do there giant corporate office. We put the money back into the stores they have a gym and a cafeteria for there staff give me a break

Again Thanks to all former corporate staff in Greer it was a great 14 year ride

Anonymous said...

I HAVE WORKED FOR RYANS FOR OVER 10 YRS,AND IN THE LAST 2 YRS I HAVE SEEN IT GOING DOWN FASTER THAN THE TITANIC.THE FOOD QUALITY IS A DISGRACE..THE PIZZA IS NOTHING BUT TRASH,,THE SO CALLED MACARONI AND CHEESE IS PATHETIC THEY WANTED TO SAVE MONEY BY THE NEW RECIPE BUT IT SUCKS,,PEOPLE USED TO LOVE THE WOK BUT OF COURSE THEY HAD TO DO AWAY WITH THAT,,IT ACTUALLY COST MONEY..I USED TO BE PROUD OF THE PLACE BUT AFTER IT WENT TO BUFFETS IT IS A JOKE,I AM ASHAMED TO WORK THERE.THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO INCENTIVES TO WORK THERE ANYMORE.THE 10 YEAR MEAL CARD,SAFETY POINT PROGRAM,401K,MEDICAL BENEFITS,OVERTIME HAVE GONE OUT THE DOOR. AND THE COMPANY TRYING TO KEEP THIS WHOLE THING A SECRET AND TRYING TO DO AWAY WITH ANY SEVERANCE HAS REALLY DESTROYED WHAT LITTLE MORALE WAS LEFT WITH ALL THE EMPLOYEES..TEAM MEMBERS HA WHAT A JOKE I DONT WANT TO BE ON THEIR TEAM.....I HOPE THE PLACE DOES JUST CLOSE SO WE WONT HAVE TO WORRY EVERY WEEK WHAT IS HAPPENING...HOW SAD

Anonymous said...

To the person that posted on the 20th - you really are clueless as to what is going on. I'm working in a store in the trenches every day trying to make my store the best that it can be. I'm still getting paid for doing my job and if you don't like what you're doing then you should leave so that the rest of us that are trying don't suffer because of you.
I'm not naive - I'm focusing on my store and really believe that Rick K, Chet E, and the other senior management work daily to make this the best they can for us, and as long as I continue to be paid, then for me and my family, the rest is small potatoes.
From one manager to another - please leave if you're not happy so that we can come out of this bankruptcy a stronger company.

Anonymous said...

I worked for Ryan's for over 10 years, I was an Area Director for them and was forced out of the company by Glen Fryou because he was trying to save his job. I agree with all of the comments about Buffets Inc. The down fall with Ryan's started with the Vision 2004 program (performance grid). It helped us at first but after 2004 they didn't update the Vision, so managers started to focus on having a high grid score and lost the focus on the real goal of any restaurant and that is to satisfy the guest. And who can blame their motivation, the manager got a big bonus if the maintained a high grid score (being green was all we cared about). The guest did not matter. Here are some of the thing we were graded on. Management stability ( don't dare get anyone promoted). Hidden shoppers (loyal customers who just loved us). The mighty performance blocks ( I hope we don't get audited this month). Overtime ( you can't work today you will go into overtime, we had a busy weekend and you worked more than scheduled). Those are not all the items just some that did not help build sales. I just want you to know that I too played the grid game and was motivated by Glen to play it. Also the the former corp. team member I am willing to bet the manager that shaved the time in Tennessee was playing the grid game also. So don't blame the down fall on the managers but blame on the big chief and all of their "wisdom". I can go on and on, about the downfall of Ryan's (Breakfast?). I am old school and I can remember when Ryan's owned all of their properties, did not have any debt and was growing. Thanks for the years. Also Glen thank you for helping me realize Ryan's was just a waste of my time. Here is a hint for all Buffet's and Ryan's upper management, just focus on satisfying the guest.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with the person who called Rick Kirk a bobblehead... he is an Ostrich. He just buries his head in the sand. THe company is falling down around him, the morale in the company is at an all new low, we STILL can not get food into the store... (last truck seen:ordered 408 pieces, recieved 270) We were all told by Mike Andrews that this would be fixed this week... whoops another miss... and during this where is Rick Kirk??? Out interviewing Area Director Candidates... since we are short at least 5 right now already. Is this something that the President of the company should be doing??? Or should he be working on ideas to help raise morale, raise our HORRENDOUS sales decline, or help with the food issue... Couldn't the Regional Vice Presidents interview area directors???? Does he not have better things to do????

Anonymous said...

There's no doubt as a Ryan's Manager for nearly 20 years some things are bad - real bad. I have not seen bigger problems with orders in all this time - corporate need to fix this NOW..
BUT get real.. this is because COI failed not Buffets.. What is worse and causing us bigger probs are how f'ed-up the attitudes are of some of these "so-called" loyal Ryan's managrs are. A few others have said this... but if is "so" bad LEAVE! I am doing all I can do to keep my peole pumped - only to have my #2 tell me about this blog. You all need to pull your heads out of your rears. If you hate it so much - PLEASE LEAVE! (of course you wont 'cause who'd hire you anyway?)...
All I know is I'm not closing (because I'm actually making a crap-load of EBITDA!) You all would too if you spent as much time on your guests as you do online. BTW as someone else said Ryans started sucking 8 years ago. Time to stop blaming and start doing your part. Look at all the restaurant co's now in 11. You really think it's better anywhere else right now?

Anonymous said...

I was once a district manager for Ryan's. I would like to reflect back to an interview Mike Andrews had directly after the merge. He stated that Ryan's was poorly managed under the old leadership before they took over. I was curious on what his thoughts were now! This is what happens when you have a "Bean" counter running a company. I fear that the hardship this pathetic leader put us in is nothing short of a criminal profitier! To destroy a company to insure his $900,000 plus salary yearly, I don't see how he sleeps at night. Let's not forget about the new COO who can make a great Pizza because that's what he did in his last job. Where is Charlie Way, how can he stand for this! I know Buffets is worried about all the begative talk within the company right now. Keep in mind Buffets it's posted all over the internet for the entire world to see. Geat leadership Buffets!!!!

Anonymous said...

You know, I felt all the concern that was shared here. It really was a very stressful 2 months, and I was really upset that we didn't have much corporate contact in the past....they just resolved to get rid of us, and treated us as much. I think in reality, the reason that we didn't hear much from Mike Andrews and Posse was probably due to the fact that they're updating their own resumes and posting on monster.com, because they know that even if we emerge from bankruptcy, they will not have their jobs. They know that chairman,Mr Frederick Iseman, will not give these people an opportunity to screw his financial group again. ( Mr Iseman is the founding partner of CI Capital Partners, and owns 77% of buffets inc.) Mr Iseman did not achieve his present position by repeating choices that resulted in these predicaments. It's just a matter of time before these 'leaders' go the way of the former Ryan's IS Team. We'll miss you Randy!

Anonymous said...

I would like to know one thing....this posting is directed at the Div. 2 regionals. How do you sleep at night? I know all of them very well I sat at many meetings with them. How do you go home and face your families knowing what you have helped do! Of course you can do what Mr. Kirk does and hide your heads in the sand and say it wasn't my call. Keep in mind just because you didn't pull the trigger doesn't give you a free pass. None of them said nothing, no one took a stand as the senior leadership and said this was wrong. There's only one word for this....( Yes Men ). For all the people that have lost there homes and put there families in a hardship you have my prayers. Glen, Tim, Aj, Ken I can't wait till you go job hunting with Buffets stamped on your resume. What goes around comes around, maybe when you loose your home because no one wants your type of leadership.....at that point you'll know what it feels like. For all that reads these postings keep in mind it's not all Andrews...he's not the only one running the company! For anyone to give the regionals a free pass would be crazy. They already turned on one of there own this past week and he lost his job. I guess he wasn't part of the program which would be a good thing. I certainly hope the truth comes out in the end.

Anonymous said...

As a 14 yr veteran of Ryan's I'll just leave this simple Math formula.
1 Austrailian CEO + 1 Northern Minnesota Company trying to run a Southern Concept + 1 Wimp VP of Operations for Ryan's that has no balls + 100's of Completely Poor hire managers + A corporate office that has NO clue about actually running an operation = 1 messed up division known as Ryan's that used to be the industry leader. Oh, and Chet Enton, your a waste of payroll!

Anonymous said...

To the person who posted just above me - you're an embarrassment not only to Ryan's but also to humanity. Let me set you straight on some things that you really messed up in your comments.
The Australian, as you put it, is not the CEO, he's the COO. And he's got some great ideas to turn the company around.
The Buffets corporate office is NOT in northern Minnesota - check a map.
Ryan's has no VP of operations. We have a President of Operations for the division and he's the main reason you've still got a job - so lighten up on him.
Chet Enten is another reason you've still got a job. You should thank him.
If you're a Ryan's manager - then I agree with you on this one - poor job of hiring managers.

Seriously - if you're going to embarrass yourself, please post somewhere that you won't be associated with the Ryan's name.

Anonymous said...

Wow....the last posting is correct. Thank you for correcting that, we all will sleep better tonight knowing that important information. Since your so knowlegable please share with everyone why we went into Chapter 11. While your at it please share with everyone how many stores have closed down, how many team members have lost there jobs. Why are stores having to buy 40% of there own groceries locally. You think we should thank someone? I know the answers to the above questions....do you? Stop wasting people's time just let it go. I'm sure the Executive leadership will finish what they started. To try and defend them after what has happened makes you look foolish!

Anonymous said...

to clarify- mr buffets insider, two posts above, I said a Nothern Minn. company , meaning a northern company in Mn., not a part of the state.Secondly, its you who as no clue. I should be thanful to a leader who promotes guys who lose manager after manager and fail health inspections in all of their stores and a corporate guy that doesnt even know that paying for food twice through paid outs kills ur food cost. Maybe buffets is super smart, gee , I know Ed McCranie would have NEVER let a vendor not have food, or if we were changing vendors, we wouldnt have had to find our own for months. Are u serious, what the hell does Buffets know about running a southern company, they dont even know that they have lost more sales over saving a few dollars with this horrific pot pie and mac and cheese. Im not bitter at the world, I just hate that great men, like Greg, and rick Erwin, and Bill Dalton, ppl that actually handle stuff, lose their posistions to Golden Corral ppl. that have never even run a store as a GM. E/R, there's a winner, lets cut our staff to nothing and then require gobs of red tape to even hire someone in above 7 an hour. What are u idiots going to do when Min wage goes to 7 plus next yr, raise our prices again. Youve already priced us out of our market, again , not understanding the blue collar guests of the South. And in closing, in the good ole days, u could actually get results out of managers, cause they feared for their life, now, Buffets has pampered them and lets retards like Craig K. hire for you, and they cant even close a store, and give u the finger if you try to discipline them. To all reading this, its all true, COO, CEO, whatever, this Buffets has ruined our company, run it to the ground with bad buisiness transactions, and made yes men and women out of our leaders, all while charging astronomical prices with awful receipes and quality. Dont worry, you will sow the seeds of your carelessness and lack of knowledge. The only reason Im still here is because I love and respect my mentors that are still in their right mind, and understand what is needed to run a store. I pray to make it long enuff to see you guys lose us and we will have the last laugh, you joke of an organization. However, please take all the yes men with you, they wont be needed for Ryan's to return to glory.Its the principle of it sometimes, and Im sure Alvin McCall is just shaking his head. Of Course, you probably dont even know who that is.

Robert A said...

Strong sentiments are being expressed in the comments on this article. I have hesitated to permit some to be posted as they are inflammatory in nature BUT I HAVE ALLOWED the posting of them, never the less. All comments submitted are here as submitted.

It is evident that those involved in this crisis have a need for a "safe" place to express themselves. And in that end I will not edit any comment and continue to have these and like comments posted here.

I must state that what is posted in the comments area does not necessarily reflect the opinion or knowledge of this site or its author, and this site and its author are not responsible for what is written in the comments section by commenters.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to give my own comments to this Blog. I have been reading updated posting daily for over a month now. Personally I think everyone here has needed a "safe" place to express themselves. As an 11 year team member of Ryan's I have decided to leave. I have my own personal opinions of why the company is in the shape it is. Many of which have been expressed in many of the postings. Though the main reason for me leaving is because I want to feel good about the company I work for. Maybe Ryan's will be that company again but I don't want to waste 11 more years waiting. Not when there are opportunities out there for people like me who want to do what is right for the company they work for, who want to inspire the team members they employ, and above everything create a wonderful experience for the guest. I am not one for words but I used to believe in what we had at Ryan's. I believed in putting the BEST food out there for the guest and doing it through impowering the team members. Ryan's has/had the capabilities of putting the BEST food out there for the guest. Not just because of the vendors who we got our food from but because we all believed in what we could do. Ryan's is a "Buffet" concept and "focusing on the food" first and foremost has always been my philosophy. For me it is sad, because I absolutely BELIEVED in the concept. It seems only right that I leave now. Oh well, I am off to bigger opportunities.

Anonymous said...

I'm a former Ryan's manager. I feel that the downfall began when Rick Erwin blew the horn on funny money at corporate, and was promptly fired. I followed his lawsuit closely, and I believe he was legit. Fast forward a year, during Erwin's suit, Alan Shaw blows his head off - or tries to. Now what in the world would cause the VP of operations to do that?! Next there was the big coverup of it. Then suddenly 4 day work weeks are gone, Mondays closed are gone, manager bonuses are capped, stores start to close, then the big sellout.... I believe Ryan's did this to themselves before the sellout.

If AJ is AJ Kumarin - god... that guy got my store closed down by the health dept for several days because he flat refused to speak to a female inspector, told her he'd only speak to a man. Ryan's was a great company for many years, hopefully it might be again. Thankfully I was able to graduate from the restaurant field successfully, so I won't have to be a part of it!

Best of luck to all of you great folks, where the folks are friendly.

Anonymous said...

To be an innovative profitable growth company committed to guest satisfaction by always providing high quality food at affordable prices with friendly service in clean and pleasant surroundings.

I learned it at Greer I lived it at several locations for over 11 years, I left 4-07. the upper echelon of buffets never learned it and the upper echelon of ryans forgot it. All of the leaders of both companies should learn it and live it, and it wouldnt hurt to read an article on servant leadership. Our employees are our most important asset everyone knows that but for senior management it seems that they dont think that applies to them. so my advice (not that it means much) The guest is #1 The employees are #2 the higher up you are does not mean the more important or smarter you are it means you have more employees (see whos number 2)Take care of #1 and #2 and the $$$ will come. Maybe its nieve but when Ryans ran by this motto we were #1 to everybody else

Zachary said...

HEy I woork For Buffets Inc Side and we get customers always talking trash about how dirty and nasty your reastaurants are. and are upp manageent said that your company took us under. So the buyout was to save your ass cuz your oh so good corporate was about to go into bankruptcy before we bought them out so ryan's took buffets under. all of our buffet restaurants make good profits buy going by our homade recipe just face it ryan's was losing to much money and OCB saved your asses

Anonymous said...

The attitude of the above commenter speaks for itself.

Anonymous said...

Zach,
When a company that is 300 Million in debt buys a company that out performs them in every market that we are head to head Kansas City for instance We being Ryans where 50 Million in debt and Owned are stores and land. Check your fax buddy, The first or maybe second thing they did was to sell all the assets in a lease buy back, Then then California's economy went to hell which is the only place OCB makes there profit. Apples to apples OCB does 3.5 Million and a Ryans 3.5 Million Ryans puts 5-10% more on bottom line. The qoute from the president was "Its not that you can buy a company its what you turn it into!!! WOW This speaks for its self. OCB cant buy food much less hold a candle to the great TEAM we had in Greer OMG I have been gone since sept 07 after giving 15 years to the best company ever and this still pisses me OFF!!!! Check your fax Buffets deal was only 350 million that was to much for them

Zachary said...

your company liked to waist money on expensive stoufers macaroni shit . when it is alot easier to make it from scratch. we still get loads of cutomers all the time talking trash about how dirty and Nasty Fire Mountain is on regular basis. Hometown and OCB will remain on top while handling food cost and controlling labor through these tough economic times. all they said is whoever owned you guys originally was just Lame running expensive ass pork shit for Lunch time profits. and im talking to you from the 20 year and still running strong Detroit Market where currently we are only down 25% based on population moving out of MI. at ocb my number one task is to exceed my guests expectaions on a daily basis and I check everynight with my guests to make sure and... as usual, I get all my customers that I personally talkin and commmenting on everything was excellent as usual. Thats the Buffets way. Maybe you should try and transfer to and OCB they are a much more fun diverse work enviroment and we got a heel of lot more positions in our stores compared to you guys anyway. OCB #1 and your company wasted lots of money

Anonymous said...

At September 27, 2006, the Company owned and operated 333 restaurants.

The date of the press release regarding the Company's financial results for the third quarter of 2006 has not yet been determined.

Forward-Looking Information: In accordance with the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, the Company cautions that the statements in this press release that are forward- looking involve risks and uncertainties that may impact the Company's actual results of operations. For a more thorough discussion of these risks, uncertainties and other factors, please refer to the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 28, 2005.

Source: Ryan's Restaurant Group, Inc.

On November 1, 2006, Buffets Inc. was thrilled to join forces with Ryan's Restaurant Group, Inc. This adds over 200 Ryan's Grill Buffet and Bakery® and Fire Mountain Grills® in 23 states to the Buffets family. Ryan's Restaurant Group opened its first restaurant in 1978, and has continually been committed to serving high-quality food at affordable prices in a friendly, family-style atmosphere.

Zach

333 minus 300 wow great job its only been 3 years

Anonymous said...

I was terminated for filing a sexual harassment complaint against a G.M. that work at Ryans in Fredericksburg, VA and still has his job??????? My complaint to Ryan's Hdqtrs. only made the harassment worse. I have seen the other side and saw what kind of investigation took place for them and 2 others out of 4 are now terminated. And for the person that commented about AJ Kumeran is exactly right he does not talk to women and perfers men and makes sure that he bullys them into not talking for the fear of losing their job. Now that they to are now unemployed they are now going to talk and make it be known about Ryan's and their true "SEXUAL HARASSMENT POLICY" that is NOT ENFORCED MAYBE THERE ARE OTHERS OUT THE THAT WOULD LIKE TO JOIN IN ON THIS.

Robert A said...

I continue to keep this article open to comment from Ryans employees and others. Buffets, Inc. is invited to comment as well.

All that I ask of all of you is to please keep it civil. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I worked for Ryans for 17 years,and was totally disgusted at what the company had become.When it was the old Ryans at least they had quality food and plenty of variety,were talking about grilled chicken breast,real hamburger,real ribs etc on the display bar every day.At the end it was garbage steakums and hot dogs.One big nail in their coffin was going to the absolute junk mac and cheese(if you want to call it that)the selection in the bakery got to hardly anything,and the machines hardly worked anymore. the managers did the best they could,they made us a 2 manager store.Cutting any type of incentive or motivation when bought out by buffets was their big plan and the wholr thing with fortress was a joke.Our store closed in Oct of 2011 with only 6 people being there 10 yrs or more, but we were dedicated ,hard working and i can truly say i am glad to see it put out of its misery.

Anonymous said...

as a former ocb\htb gm as well as a former golden corral gm, i have got to see the best and the worst, i worked in a buffets inc store that was closed down, we used to have a good owner dennis scott that actually cared about the food etc. i worked near a ryans and they did a great job and you could see the pride and enthusiasm, but there is so much waste on upper mgt payroll that their main job is to micromanage you to the point of extinction. at buffets we had a district manager per 4 to 5 stores which is about 80 or so people or around 8 million a year, do they generate 30 million in sales, probably not. ryans people you are right it is a southern concept, buffets still thinks bland minnesota food is what we all eat, remember the buffet scene in fargo? honestly buffets and cafeterias had their run in the 80's and 90's, competition and the economy have hurt us, golden corral runs close to a 40 percent food cost but they make it back on labor, the customer percieves them as putting out alot of stuff so they are on fire where ever they go, maybe if the menus changed to some healthy foods and quality actually improved the concept would make a comeback. but i got alot of respect for all of you guys except upper buffets management they kind of remind me of the italian cruise liner captain and the rest of you are the passengers on the ship that.... good luck

Writer said...

We appreciate the continued feedback of the managers posting here. There is a more recent article on this site about the 2012 bankruptcy that is currently underway. You may want to post your current comments there.

http://buffets.blogspot.com/2012/01/buffets-inc-in-bankruptcy-again.html

Or you may continue to post here.

Thank you for your input - and for the good work that you have done. If Buffets, Inc. did not appreciate it, please know that the customers did.

Anonymous said...

I was a record setting G. M. and Area supervisor during the 80s-90s.
You can call me "Homer". I saw and lived the growth of the company, building it to it's prime. I worked more 100 hr. weeks than I could count. Opening stores and fixing ones that dip S%^&S DAMAGED. I know more than probably most of you about Ryan's inside and out. The last time I saw Alvin, around 03 or 04, We had lunch at laurens rd. He was not disturbed with current events of the time, He just looked at it as buiseness. Which is the way he ran the company. He was just of a different time and recruited operations people of a different time. We were like a football team. Tough and rugged. A far cry from the current generation of limp wristed restaurant managers of today.We built one of the most sucsessful restaurant chains in the world at the time. As time has changed, there will never be another Ryans as it was. Alvins biggest mistake was appointing Way to Pres. That was the beginning of the end. A pencil pushing nerd above real Men, running great restaurants. Chuck, Mark, Alan. God bless you all. And Damnit Randy, You didn't speak up for us.