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The first of my favorite restaurants bites the dust

b2bailey

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I mentioned this place in a post last week. Today I see this:

Souplantation, the popular buffet-style dining brand founded in San Diego 42 years ago, is closing all of its restaurants permanently, a casualty of the coronavirus pandemic that is likely to be the death knell for all self-serve eateries.

The permanent shuttering of the 97 restaurants, including 44 in California, was announced Thursday following weeks of efforts to salvage San Diego-based Garden Fresh Restaurants, the parent company of Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes, which operates outside of Southern California. The closing will mean lost jobs for 4,400 employees.
 

dioxide45

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Yup. I mentioned it in this post in another thread. Their business model simply won't work and it seems that they have had recent difficulties (filed for bankruptcy in 2017). I wonder how Golden Corral will hold out. Where will we hold the annual Orlando TUG Get Together in January?

 

klpca

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Soup Plantation - and parent company Garden Fresh has been struggling financially for years. It was a San Diego staple - I remember going to my first visit back in the 1980's. (There was a second competitor back then called Soup Exchange, lol, seems so long ago). At any rate, we haven't eaten there in years. The food was still good although expensive for what you get if you are not a big eater, but eventually it just seemed to be run over by customers that didn't care. It was always a dirty mess, uncleared tables, and kids were running loose everywhere - for the record I am very tolerant of kids; parents who pay no attention to them? Well that's another story. The lines were pretty slow, so getting additional food took forever as well. This was just the nail in the coffin.
 

presley

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:cry:This is really sad news for me. I've been eating there for likely the 42 years they've been in business. I remember going as a child with my mom. I ate there a lot when I was a vegetarian. I've eaten there a lot less over the past few years, but have still had groups lunches and dinners there with friends a few times per year.

My favorite local bakery already bit the dust. I was hoping I could at least still order stuff from her from her home, but her # has disconnected the sign on the door is still the one from back in March.
 

Passepartout

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It will be difficult to impossible for ANY self-serve, buffet-type restaurant to comply with even the MOST relaxed 'social distancing' regulations. Restaurants that survive will do it by simplifying their menus. Having counter ordering and pick-up with well spaced tables. Visible 'cleaning personnel' will circulate, wiping and sanitizing tables/chairs/booths. I can see serve-ware- plates, glasses, utensils being disposable at least for a time- or until effective treatment and/or vaccine are developed.

Maybe as testing becomes more widely available and more knowledge about possible immunity imparted by survival of the infection might earn people a 'survivor badge' or sticker that would grant the privelege of closer dining or theater/sports venue seating. Who knows?

But for now, 70% of Americans want more- not less social distancing. The majority are choosing safety over socialization.

Jim
 

SueDonJ

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We don't eat out at restaurants often but do have a few favorites that we like for take-home, and we're trying to at least double up the number of times per month that we order from them. Hopefully most will survive but it doesn't appear promising.
 

presley

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It will be difficult to impossible for ANY self-serve, buffet-type restaurant to comply with even the MOST relaxed 'social distancing' regulations.
I didn't really think about that. I suppose it would remove all the novelty of eating at a buffet if we have to have someone serve us. I am just an impatient person in general, so I don't think I could deal with it if I felt like the person was slow serving or anyone/everyone in line in front of me was being slow with pointing out what they want scooped.

My local frozen yogurt shop has been open the whole time, but it's no longer self serve. They have a list of flavors and toppings outside. There's tape on the sidewalk to insure social distancing and it takes sooooo long if there's anyone in front of me. And for some reason, I don't want anyone making my order. I've just been picking up the prepacked pints, which are very plain, but at least they are quick.
 

DaveNV

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There was a second competitor back then called Soup Exchange, lol, seems so long ago

For the ten years I was stationed in San Diego, the Soup Exchange was my go-to when I was in the mood. Haven't thought of them in years. :)

Dave
 

Ken555

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This news made the rounds on my social media feed in the last day or so, especially with friends in San Diego. I haven't been to one in at least 15-20 years, and honestly haven't missed it. I've avoided buffets as much as possible for a long time due to numerous health concerns. I would expect any restaurant with a buffet (are there many left?) will be removing them for the next few years anyway, and am doubtful they will ever return. Self-serve is just a recipe for infection.
 

rickandcindy23

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Buffet restaurants need to change their way of serving people, I guess.
 

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in general I would not miss buffet restaurants. We're not big eaters, so the cost always seems high for the food quality. And even before this virus, I always cringed at having to share serving utensils with random people I suspected likely weren't as diligent about hand washing as I was.
 

Karen G

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Once owned these: FirstFairway@Walden X 2; Lawai Beach; ManhattanClub; PuebloBonitoRose; 4 South Africa--now timeshare-free
I would expect any restaurant with a buffet (are there many left?) will be removing them for the next few years anyway, and am doubtful they will ever return.
There are lots of buffets in Las Vegas--one in every casino, I think. We don't know when the Strip will open yet, but I'm sure there will be many, many changes.
 

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Buffet style restaurant transformation can be done. We were on 22 day cruise and in around day 15 self service buffets seised to exist. You were not allowed even to touch your plate until you were done with selecting all your food. Lane was one step back from the serving counters, all serving utensils removed, food served by staff as you direct them. Very easy transformation, no hassle, smooth process. I liked it better that way.
 

Ken555

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There are lots of buffets in Las Vegas--one in every casino, I think. We don't know when the Strip will open yet, but I'm sure there will be many, many changes.

Yeah, sure. As with cruise ships. But that's not necessarily "many", as compared to all restaurants. :)
 

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When I was a kid, going to a cafeteria was fun. Except I never understood why my parents didn't rein in my sister who was notorious for over buying (you were charged for each item). Some items like side salads and little bowls of fruit and dessert you reached for yourself, but all the entrees and hot sides were served. A full size sneeze guard, no access to any food by the public, and gloved servers passing your plate/tray along to the cashier would seem to me to be workable. That is assuming the business can make any money with reduced capacity for social distancing the tables.
 

pedro47

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How will Captain George Seafood restaurants in Myrtle Beach, Nage Heads, NC, Virginia Beach,VA and Williamsburg, VA stay in business and all the other seafood buffet restaurants in Myrtle Beach survive ?
 
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Luvtoride

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in general I would not miss buffet restaurants. We're not big eaters, so the cost always seems high for the food quality. And even before this virus, I always cringed at having to share serving utensils with random people I suspected likely weren't as diligent about hand washing as I was.
I'm with your Stmartinfan. We too don't like buffets and would never eat enough to make it worthwhile anyway. I guess these closings will just make other restaurants more crowded..sort of a paradox in a time of social distancing. Frankly, we are enjoying cooking at home and will probably do so more in the future (from an empty nest couple who ate out all the time)!
 

PcflEZFlng

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I remember eating at the original Souplantation on Mission Gorge Rd. in 1978 shortly after it opened. I also remember Soup Exchange, which didn't last long. Souplantation was a family favorite for years, but I think the food selection hadn't been very good for the past four or five years. So, unfortunately, I won't miss it. Not familiar with Golden Corral, though I've heard of it. They're not in San Diego and I've never been to one on my travels.

I've also wondered about all the Vegas buffets, and figured they would eventually survive by having servers plate out the food. If I ever go to any buffet again (debatable), I think I'd prefer that setup. Hopefully they can pull it off with the extra expense.
 
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Panina

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How will Captain George Seafood restaurants in Myrtle Beach and Williamsburg, VA stay in business and all the other seafood buffet restaurants in Myrtle Beach survive ?
Their seafood buffet
I have been to Captain George Seafood and being gluten free I cannot risk the buffet. They cooked for me separately in the back. They can change their concept to unlimited table service. They kept offering more as I only had one plate. It was more then enough.
 

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It appears the salad bar is going extinct as well, at least around here.
 

klpca

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:cry:This is really sad news for me. I've been eating there for likely the 42 years they've been in business. I remember going as a child with my mom. I ate there a lot when I was a vegetarian. I've eaten there a lot less over the past few years, but have still had groups lunches and dinners there with friends a few times per year.

My favorite local bakery already bit the dust. I was hoping I could at least still order stuff from her from her home, but her # has disconnected the sign on the door is still the one from back in March.
Which bakery?
 

b2bailey

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It appears the salad bar is going extinct as well, at least around here.
I'm laughing at myself for not realizing this sooner. I've always enjoyed salad bars that feature some of my favorites that I rarely have at home -- beets, artichoke hearts, hearts of palm...
 

PcflEZFlng

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And I used to enjoy salad bars for all the stuff that's really good/bad for you: bacon bits, sliced/cubed deli meats, cheese, hard boiled egg, more cheese, croutons, lots of dressing, still more cheese...I was an expert at turning a salad bar into a protein/carnivore's dream! :p
 

presley

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Which bakery?
Bake Sale Patti. She had a little shop by Target on Pomerado. She made everything from scratch by herself and had my husband's favorite flour free cookies and my favorite scones and flour containing cookies and a really yummy nutella cream pie.
 

klpca

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Bummer! :confused: My boss told me that they are closing the last Anthony's in La Mesa. End of an era for sure.
 
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