Sweet Tomatoes exterior

Garden Fresh sold to 2 private-equity groups

Souplantation-Sweet Tomatoes parent emerged from bankruptcy in January

Garden Fresh Restaurant Corp. has been acquired by two private-equity groups just seven months after the parent to the Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes brands was sold out of bankruptcy, the companies said Monday.

The 97-unit San Diego, Calif.-based salad chain was acquired by Washington, D.C.-based Perpetual Capital Partners and CR3 Capital LLC, an investment affiliate of Dallas-based CR3 Partners LLC. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

In January, Cerberus Capital Management LP acquired Garden Fresh out of bankruptcy. Cerberus was among several lenders to which Garden Fresh owed more than $175 million, according to bankruptcy filings.

The company filed for bankruptcy in October 2016, attributing the filing to declining sales and higher labor and rent costs following sale-leaseback deals to investors.

Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes units are noted for their 50-foot salad buffets as well as a selection of soup, pastas, breads, muffins and desserts.

“This creates new opportunities for all of our employees, guests and business partners as we move forward,” said Gene Baldwin, Garden Fresh interim CEO and a partner at CR3 Partners.

CR3 Partners led Garden Fresh Restaurant’s restructuring and has managed the company for several months, the companies said.

Garden Fresh has restaurants in nine states. 

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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