Ovation Brands Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday morning, according to multiple reports, in the third such filing in eight years for the operator of Old Country Buffet, HomeTown Buffet, Ryan’s and other brands.
The bankruptcy follows several reports of numerous unit closures over the weekend in multiple states. It is the second such round of closures since San Antonio-based Food Management Partners bought Ovation in August 2015.
Ovation closed 74 units in February. It is uncertain how many locations were closed over the weekend, but multiple sources and various reports suggest that dozens of units were abruptly shut down Sunday morning.
In a release on Monday afternoon, the company said it filed bankruptcy to restructure debts and “strengthen operations by closing certain weaker restaurants and recapitalize its business.”
Ovation had 328 locations, its unit count down by roughly half since 2006, when Food Management Partners acquired the Greer, S.C.-based company in August.
The landlord of 16 of Ovation’s locations sued the company in February after the closure of eight of those units. According to the lawsuit, a filing by Ovation said the company had $186.3 million in liabilities and $160.2 million in assets.
According to media reports, employees of the units closed over the weekend were given little or no notice. Workers showed up to see “closed” signs on the door.
In some cases, restaurants were shuttered with signs saying that the closure was due to “asset inventory,” even as U-Haul trucks were spotted outside the building, according to a report from Illinois.
UPDATE: March 7, 2016 This story has been updated to include comment from Food Management Partners.