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COLUMBUS Ohio Bob Evans Farms Inc., operator of the namesake family restaurant chain, said it closed 11 underperforming restaurants today with the intent of selling the properties.

The closings trimmed the chain to 580 restaurants in 18 states.The company also owns and operates the 110-store Mimi's Café casual-dining chain, which is concentrated in the West.

The closed Bob Evans units are in Florida, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia. Employees of the closed restaurants are being offered transfers to other restaurants, the company said.

 Bob Evans Farms, which also processes and distributes Bob Evans and Owens branded pork sausage and other foods for home consumption, has said previously that restaurant sales have been hard-hit by the elimination of manufacturing jobs in many of the chain's core markets.

     Bob Evans plans to open five new restaurants in fiscal 2008.

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