Sweet Tomatoes Closes All Restaurants in Illinois after Garden Fresh Filed for Bankruptcy

by San Antonio Attorney

Restaurant chain Sweet Tomatoes has completely discontinued its operations in the state of Illinois shortly after Garden Fresh Restaurant Corp., its parent company, filed for bankruptcy on Oct. 4.

The restaurants in St. Charles, Aurora, Lombard, Schaumburg, Glenview and Waukegan were all closed unexpectedly.  Altogether, Garden Fresh intends to shutdown at least 20 locations that are not doing well and plans to find a buyer for the chain.

California-based parent company, which also runs the Souplantation chain, is keeping at least 70 restaurants in some southern and western states, situated in Florida and California.

Based on its Chapter 11 filing, the company owes from $100 million to $500 million to creditors, and a similar amount of liabilities.  Its largest creditors are a marketing company, insurance provider and produce supplier.

Garden Fresh aims to exit from bankruptcy in December, Garden Fresh said in a news release.

In the past few years, the company’s revenues have been falling.  Based on reports, revenues of Sweet Tomatoes dropped to $187.2 million in the latest fiscal year, compared to $192.1 million a couple of years ago.

The move to file for bankruptcy comes along with an extensive decline in the sales of the same type of stores and many restaurateurs.  Garden Fresh is one of the many operators to file for bankruptcy protection starting in November 2015.  A week before its filing, fast-casual dining chain Così Inc. filed for bankruptcy.

Other known restaurants that have declared bankruptcy along with their parent companies are Fox & Hound and Champps, Logan’s Roadhouse, Johnny Carino’s and Old Country Buffet and Hometown Buffet.

Sweet Tomatoes provide quite a few eat-all-you-can stations that serve salads and fresh produce, hot pastas, soups, fresh baked muffins and breads, and desserts.

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