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Greer-based buffet chain, Ovation Brands, acquired by Texas food firm

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Thursday, August 20, 2015

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Anthony Wedo, former President/CEO of Ovations Brands, rebranded Ryan's into a multi-station buffet featuring carving stations, made-to-order grilled steaks and vegetables stir-fried while you wait.
 

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Anthony Wedo, former President/CEO of Ovations Brands, rebranded Ryan's into a multi-station buffet featuring carving stations, made-to-order grilled steaks and vegetables stir-fried while you wait.

 

Greer-based Ovation Brands has been acquired by Food Management Partners (FMP) of San Antonio, Texas.

Ovation Brands is comprised of Ryan’s, Fire Mountain, Country Buffet, Old Country Buffet, Hometown Buffet and Tahoe Joe’s.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“The buffet business is one with which we are very familiar, and the chance to acquire a category leader does not come along often,” Peter Donbavand, FMP vice president of business development, said in a statement.

Ovation Brands/Buffets Restaurants Holdings Inc. ranked No. 49 in the most recent Nation’s Restaurant News’ Top 100 companies. The company estimated $751 million in U.S. foodservice sales for the June-ended 2015 fiscal year. That estimate was down 5.9 percent from 2014 FY, when the company reported $797.8 million in U.S. foodservice sales.

Ovation Brands announced in March it hired Duff & Phelps Corporation to assist with an evaluation of potential strategic alternatives including a sale of the business, three years after emerging from its second bankruptcy.

Phone calls and electronic messages were not returned for comment from officials with Ovation Brands.

Ovation Brands had its corporate headquarters in Greer and its millwork and manufacturing company in Eagan, Minn. FMP also acquired those services.

“Along with our Dynamic Foods manufacturing and distribution subsidiary, the millwork facility brings additional vertical integration capabilities to all of our concepts,” Donbavand said.

Ovation Brands, Inc. was formerly known as Buffets, Inc. and changed its name to Ovation Brands, Inc. in October 2013. The company was founded in 1983 and grew its brand to 340 restaurants in 35 states, comprised of 331-steak-buffet restaurants and nine Tahoe Joe’s Famous Steakhouse restaurants.

Buffets Inc. filed for bankruptcy the first time in 2008. It emerged in 2009, but filed for bankruptcy again in 2012, with nearly 500 restaurants. The company closed 140 locations during its second bankruptcy.

FMP’s portfolio has grown to 500 restaurants and more than $1 billion in annual sales, FMP reported. In April, FMP acquired the Catalina Restaurant Group and closed more than half of the company’s 149 restaurants, citing poor performance.

Privately held FMP’s concepts include Don Pablo’s, Furr’s Fresh Buffet and its Dynamic Foods subsidiary and Zio’s Italian Kitchen.

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