Coronavirus Pandemic: Sweet Tomatoes, Souplantation to close all 97 restaurants, report says

SAN DIEGO (KGO) -- Buffet-style food fans may be getting ready to say goodbye to their favorite restaurants because of the novel coronavirus.

All 97 Sweet Tomatoes and Souplantation locations are reportedly shutting down for good after their parent company, Garden Fresh Restaurants, struggled to remain financially solvent amid the shutdown.

The company's CEO, John Haywood, told The San Diego Union-Tribune COVID-19 has made it too difficult for them to reopen.

"The FDA had previously put out recommendations that included discontinuing self-serve stations, like self-serve beverages in fast food, but they specifically talked about salad bars and buffets," said Haywood. "The regulations are understandable, but unfortunately, it makes it very difficult to reopen. And I'm not sure the health departments are ever going to allow it."

The San Diego based company has 44 Sweet Tomatoes and Souplantation restaurants in California, including seven in the Bay Area.

According to the newspaper, 4,400 employees will lose their jobs due to the permanent closure.

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