The terrible, horrible, no good, very bad COVID-19 pandemic has claimed for itself its first chain restaurant to close its doors for good: the popular buffet chain Souplantation headquartered in San Diego, California.
Known as “Sweet Tomatoes” outside of Southern California, the first Souplantation started in 1978 in San Diego and grew up to 100 locations throughout the country as it came under the ownership of the company Garden Fresh. The restaurant was famous for offering unlimited salads and soups along with baked goods like pizza, cornbread, and muffins – not to mention some of the tastiest strawberry lemonade around.
In an announcement in March, Garden Fresh CEO John Haywood originally stated that Souplantation (Sweet Tomatoes) would be closing its doors to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 until further notice; nearly two months later, the projections turned grim as the restaurant chain could not see a way in which its business model could thrive in the current climate.
“As part of an international effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) we have temporarily closed all 97 Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes restaurants nationwide,” the original announcement said. “We are taking the urgent guidelines expressed by health and government officials very seriously, and we feel this temporary closure is the best decision to help keep our guests, team members and their families safe and healthy. We believe it is our social responsibility to assist in flattening the curve, and as soon as we can, we will resume restaurant operations.” – READ MORE
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