Friday, March 18, 2016

The Survivors

I have been asked by readers to go back to a weekly format for this site during this crisis at Old Country Buffet, Since this is a breaking story that seems to have a lot of interest by our readers I will do that while there is anything new to report. I will return on the alternate weeks with our regular articles and when there is something to report about OCB, etc. I will put out an article on that in the week between. This is the first of those articles.  If you are one of the managers or employees who lost their jobs during this massacre in the past two months - or even if they relocated you and are willing to tell your story anonymously, please leave a comment on any of our articles relating to the closings or send us an email through the email link at the side of this page. Without further information or stories we have nothing to write about and report. We are happy to keep this story alive, but we need everyone's help to do so. My anonymous insiders are currently silent. (I would be too if my job was at stake.)

I have a list here of all of the restaurants that have survived so far in the closings of Food Management Partners'  Buffets LLC in the months of February and March 2016. What is most interesting to note is the counts of the restaurant brands that remain. There are 58 Hometown Buffets (45 of these are in California - all in California are Hometown Buffets), 41 Ryan's, 32 Old Country Buffets (the once leader of the chain), and 2 Country Buffets. Fire Mountain is gone completely.If I have added this up correctly there are 133 Survivors.

I am curious about the number of Hometown Buffets. At one time - years ago - I had learned that the Hometown Buffets were franchised - each being owned outside the Buffets, Inc (the corporate name at the time) by franchisees. More recently, I was told that all restaurants in the chain were owned by Buffets, Inc which became Ovation which became Food Management Partners which sub-grouped all into Buffets LLC. So - are these Hometown Buffets franchises - and safe from the whims of FMP or are they just lucky. And why so many in California, particularly that escaped closure?

I also find it interesting that Ryan's - the buffets that Buffets, Inc. purchased to destroy and turn the remainder into OCB clones has survived greater than Old Country Buffet - the flagship chain of the corporation! Since I have seen at least some Ryan's (sadly all gone now) maintained a good part of their former menu and did not change their menus to total OCB, this tells me that Ryan's had it right all along. At one time I saw Ryan's as the best chain buffet in the U.S. - better than Golden Corral and far better than OCB. Perhaps had the Ryan's menu - and grill in the dining room (many OCB's never got one) - been put in every OCB the whole chain would be thriving now rather than dying.

Well - for those who would like to see who survived, here are the buffets by state and town/city. Next to each is a letter - O for Old Country Buffet, R for Ryan's, H for Hometown, and C for Country Buffet.  If there are further closing we will try to update the list when we can.


Foley R


Glendale O
Mesa O
Phoenix O


Anaheim H
Bakersfield H
Bell H
Burbank H
Canoga Park H
Chula Vista H
Citrus Heights H
Clonis H
Concord H
Corona H
Downey H
Fairfield H
Fresno H
Fresno #2 H
Garden Grove H
Howard H
Hemet H
La Hambra H
Lakewood H
Loma Linda H
Modesto H
Montebello H
Moreno H
National City H
Newark H
Oxnard H
Palmdale H
Palm Desert H
Rancho Cucamonga H
Redding H
Rialto H
Salinas H
San Diego H

San Jose  H
Santa Ana H
Santa Clara H
Santa Maria H
Stockton H
Torrance H
Turlock H
Van Nuys H
Visalia H
Westchester H


Colorado Springs C
Denver C


Manchester H


Newark O


Crestview R
Pace R


Athaus R
Commerce R
Rome R
Waycross R


Chicago O
Effingham R
Mount Vernon R


Highland O


Cedar Rapids R


Shawnee R


Bowling Green R


Lake Charles R
Ruston R


South Portland H



Burton O
Jackson O
Kalamazoo O
Saginaw O


Burnsville O


Columbus R
Corinth R
Picayune R

New Jersey

Edison H

New York

Bay Shore O
Buffalo O
Elmira O

North Carolina

Asheville R
Salisbury R
Sylva R


Niles H
Sandusky H
Toledo H
Wooster R


Beaverton H
Medford H
Portland H
Salem H
Springfield H


Hanover R
Harrisburg O

Philadelphia O
Whitehall O
York O

South Carolina

Anderson R
Greenville R

North Augusta R
North Myrtle Beach R
Summerville R


Greenville R
Lebanon R
Madison R
Union City R


Conroe R
Lake Jackson R
Waxahachie R


Woodbridge O

Washington (State)

Bellevue O

Kennewick O
Kennewick #2 O
Puyallup O
Tacoma O
Union Gap O
Vancouver H

West Virginia

Charleston R
Clarksburg R
Princeton R


Eau Claire O
Greenfield O
Jamesville H

TWO buffets were removed from this list that were closed on May 9, 2016. One more buffet was removed from this list that was closed on May 11, 2016. Eleven more buffets was removed from this list that were closed on June 14, 2016.


Anonymous said...

There are no franchise stores at all, it is all company. California had been the reason the company survived as long as it has, they have always been the busiest market. How sad that Minnesota has only 3 stores and that is where it all began. To correct one point, FMP has made almost no changes to menu or execution as they have been overwhelmed since the beginning. There have been no changes to staffing levels, it is the same tight labor the old company put in place. This is not to defend FMP, as they are clueless horrible communicators who tell us nothing. It is just to keep facts straight.

Anonymous said...

I primarily have visited OCBs and HTBs in Ohio and PA, but when I spent a weekend in the Los Angeles area in 2014 I ate at two HTBs. The chain does have a major following there, and if it survives longterm, I could see the California Hometowns being the only thing left.