Souplantation Considering Filing for Bankruptcy as Pandemic Struggles Continue

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Souplantation’s doors closed temporarily when the state ordered restaurants to cease dine-in services, and now the buffet-style favorite is considering filing for bankruptcy and shutting its doors for good.

Signs posted to the front doors at the restaurant in Kearny Mesa read, “closed temporarily” on Thursday. John Haywood, CEO for Souplantation’s parent company Garden Fresh Restaurants, said reopening looks bleak.

“We’ve engaged in bankruptcy counsel to explore the best option for our company,” Haywood told NBC 7.

Longtime fan Kyle Canfield said he’s been coming to Souplantation since he was a kid. The news of the closure spread throughout his family across the country.


“ It’s funny you guys stopped me because I just got off the phone with my parents who live in Florida and the news got to them as well and they were sad,” Canfield said.

USD economics professor Alan Gin said a bankruptcy filing wouldn’t necessarily mean the end for the popular chain, which has seven county locations from Rancho Bernardo to Chula Vista.

“Sometimes when you go to bankruptcy it's possible your business doesn't close for good ...reorganize maybe get some debt relief and later on get back to business,” Gin said.

On the other hand, Gin said Souplantation's buffet-style model is a little harder to adjust to COVID-19 restrictions.

Garden Fresh Restaurants is based in San Diego and owns Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2016 but made a comeback after it was acquired by an investment firm the following year.

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