Why You Rarely See Old Country Buffets Now?

old country buffet

Old Country Buffet has been popular in American strip malls for many years. Once upon a time, the thing that people of America loved eating was having a buffet. However, in the 21st century, despite delicious cheese biscuits waiting for you with red letters everywhere, Old Country Buffet has really faced some problems. We are not just talking about froyo machines that do not work during lunchtime.

Anthony Wedo, the boss of Old Country Buffet’s big company called Buffets Inc., was even on a famous show on CBS in 2013. He tried to make his name better after it had troubles. Unfortunately, the business keeps shutting down stores even with its big attention. The old country buffet locations finder on its website says there are only restaurants left at 17 Old Country Buffet in the country today. Sales went down by more than 37 per cent in 2017.

That does not count its sibling restaurants, Hometown Ryan and Buffet’s. There are several carbs in this country. So what is the reason?

They have gone bankrupt three times

Before Old Country Buffet went bankrupt in 2008 for the first time, its parent company, Buffets, Inc., combined in 2006 with Ryan’s Restaurant Group and was doing very well as the biggest buffet chain in America. After filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 in 2008, the company closed some of its 626 shops and cut down its debt by $700 million.

Then the Old Country Buffet told others it was broken for the third time in 2016. By then, the big company Buffets, Inc. had been bought by Ovation Brands. As reported by USA Today, the purchase could have been stronger. Sales were down 22% below what Ovations expected. The 2016 bankruptcy case mainly pointed to costs from a lawsuit against the business, and it led to more store shutdowns.

It is tough to recover from food poisoning caused by salmonella.

On October 1, 2010, a couple from Nebraska named Heather and Chris Gage ate in Cheyenne, Wyoming at an Old Country Buffet. In two days, Chris had kidney failure and severe infection shock. He stayed in the hospital for two weeks and had many surgeries. As of 2015, he always has a lot of pain that lasts all the time.

In 2014, The Gages took Ovation Brands and Old Country Buffet to court. They did this because they got sick from salmonella poisoning. It caused damage to their health that will not go away. Also, they had medical expenses for treating it. A brain doctor who spoke in court in August 2014 said that Chris got hurt inside his head from the salmonella. This caused him to have constant sick feelings, problems with how he moves and balances, trouble thinking clearly, and issues controlling how he feels emotionally and speaking properly.

People from Ovation did not even come to the first meeting. The judge said yes and gave the Gages $11.37 million because the lawyers didn’t answer fast enough.

Americans are suffering from obesity

Sadly for companies such as Old Country Buffet, buffets are usually linked to being overweight. Anyone trying to lose weight might see pictures of lots of greasy food as a direct way to gain weight. So, likely, they are avoiding it.

Any person who is on a diet and eats at Old Country Buffet will probably spend less money on the restaurant. This is not good either. Buffets can save money by studying how people behave when they eat at a buffet.

Like, costly foods like fish or beef are offered in smaller pieces and later on. This happens after we get big servings of low-cost potatoes and rice. Buffets also use small utensils to serve costly food.

So, if someone who eats healthy and is serious plans out their journey and stops for proteins and vegetables (avoiding all the empty carbs), they will spend a lot more money on food than other people who paid the same price to enter.

Today’s healthier food habits are good for us but bad news for all-you-can-eat places like Old Country Buffet.

It cannot fight with the farm-to-table craze

Menus with farm-to-table food and ingredients that are good for the environment and come from nearby places are very popular now. Buffets often try to save money when buying their food, so it is likely they do not make eggs from local farmers their main goal.

More people are picking farm-to-table (or farm to fork) places because it is probably good for the earth. If we move produce from a nearby farm, it is better for the environment than shipping it from far away. It also makes people feel more independent and safe with their food inside groups.

Old Country Buffet does not tell people where it gets its food, but its cooks probably do not go to the local farmers’ market to get vegetables.

They do not deliver and leave their house

Do not forget the times you had to wear pants when going to your favourite restaurant for take-out food. Life without food delivery apps was old-fashioned! The days are long gone when you could only have Chinese food and pizza delivered to your door. Now, the world (and its many types of food) is just a click away.

Just like watching movies at home makes you not want to go out, food delivery apps are making eating at restaurants like Old Country Buffet feel old-fashioned.

Even if Old Country Buffet began working with Uber Eats, it looks like something that might not be good. Basically, the best part of a buffet is that you only pay one price and can eat as much as you want – all while getting many chances to have more food. You will not get a driver to bring you extra food unless you pay him for another delivery too. That means

Their cuisine range is wide

Sometimes, there are many options of movies and shows to watch now that you cannot even decide and end up not watching anything. Having too many choices is real, so small speciality restaurants are liked now because there are so many options.

Now there is a food place for almost every type of speciality food you can imagine, from waffles with chicken to Indonesian soup. If you want something special, there is a spot to find it. Yes, Old Country Buffet does have many food choices. However, they do not focus on any specific type.

So, a pair of people who love steamed pork dumplings would likely want to get them at the little speciality place rather than at the nearby eat-all-you-can joint. Moreover, who could blame them?

Attendance of Church is down

If many families choose to sleep in on Sunday mornings, they are likely just having a meal at home. A Gallup survey found that out of 42% of grown-ups asked in 2008, they went to church. In 2017, a survey showed that the number of people going to church every week had fallen to 38 percent.


Why did Ryan’s shut down?

Donbavanda said the money issues and restaurant closures happened because of a big drop in customers, problems with important deals, and very high costs to solve an old court case that his company did not know about when they joined Buffets LLC in August.

Is Ryan’s buffet still open?

All buffet-style restaurants shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. In the summer of 2020, five places opened again as “all-you-can-eat marketplaces”. As of January 15, 2021, all Old Country, HomeTown and Ryan’s Buffet locations have been shut down forever. Almost all these places were sold to the highest bidder by Auction Nation.

Who is the boss of Ryan’s Buffet?

Anthony Wedo is the best leader I have ever worked with, and he inspires me a lot. He is a person with big ideas, and he knows how to make them come true. He also has the energy and understanding to do so. His change of the Old Country Buffet, Hometown Buffet and Ryan’s brands was really incredible.