Ryan’s eatery closes doors

Ryan’s on Seymour’s far east side is one of 74 buffet-style restaurants across the country owned by Ovation Brands that has closed.

Although the local business has struggled with health code violations in the past, Thursday’s closure was a result of underperformance, company officials said.

Ryan’s served both lunch and dinner buffet items and a brunch buffet on Sundays. It was once a popular place for meetings and events, such as baby showers, birthday parties and reunions, but the restaurant experienced a decline in customers through the years.

The property at 203 N. Sandy Creek Drive was purchased by Ryan’s in 1995, and the restaurant was built in 1996. It is now owned by Community Bank of Raymore in Baxter Springs, Kansas.

The 2.39 acres and 10,459-square-foot building will be put up for sale, officials said. According to county property records, the land and building are assessed for $691,100 in 2015.

Another vacant restaurant in the area, the former Max and Erma’s, at 2045 E. Tipton St., also still is up for sale since it closed in 2009.

The closure announcement affects all of Ovation’s brands, including Old Country Buffet, Hometown Buffet and Fire Mountain, and represents 20 percent of the company’s business, according to industry reports.

Ryan’s in Corydon and one on U.S. 31 South in Indianapolis remain open.

The closures come after San Antonio-based Food Management Partners purchased Ovation Brands and its 328 locations last August.

“Since that time, we have continued to execute former management’s operating plan to stabilize and enhance the performance of the company,” Peter Donbavand, vice president of business development for the company, said in a statement. “However, based on ongoing assessments of individual restaurants, it is necessary to shutter locations for the continued viability of the brands and our employees.”

The company says workers are eligible to apply for positions at remaining stores. It’s not known how many employees in Seymour lost their jobs, but customers and employees learned of the closure after signs were posted on the restaurant’s doors.

Donbavand said in the statement Thursday that while the company can’t predict future market conditions, it plans to continue operating unaffected restaurants.

“We know that these decisions are not easy; however, we strongly believe that this direction is best for the long-term health of all our brands,” he said.

National Restaurant News reports this isn’t the first time Ovation Brands has downsized. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2008 and again in 2012.

Author photo
January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at jrutherford@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.