Plans For Golden Corral Closings in 2022

Joel Eisenberg

The company has shuttered over 100 locations in recent years. Do financial issues, including franchisee bankruptcies, portend further closings for the current calendar year?

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Golden CorralShutterstock

Author’s Note

This article is based on corporate postings and accredited media reports. All linked information within this article is fully-attributed to the following outlets: Wikipedia.org, ScrapeHero.com, Investor.CrackerBarrel.com, RestaurantBusinessOnline.com, and Google.com.

Introduction

This article represents the latest in a series that attempts to elucidate the truth behind internet rumors of business closures.

The Golden Corral Wikipedia page offers a historical perspective of the perennial chain: In 1971, James Maynard and William F. Carl conceived the idea that became Golden Corral after several unsuccessful attempts to acquire a franchise with other companies. Golden Corral was incorporated in 1972 and the first Golden Corral Family Steak House opened on January 3, 1973, in Fayetville, North Carolina. The company has since expanded to nearly 500 locations across the United States; about 100 of them are company-owned. The others are franchised stores. Gross sales are over $1.53 billion.

It should be noted Wikipedia’s last page update appears to be 2019, based on a sidebar listing of revenues and other financial data. The locations listed were 498, pre-pandemic.

For current location data, according to ScrapeHero.com: There are 395 Golden Corral locations in the United States as of May 20, 2022. The state with the most number of Golden Corral locations in the US is Texas, with 55 locations, which is 13% of all Golden Corral locations in America.

By these numbers, since 2019 the company shut down over 100 locations.

In September of 2021, Investor.CrackerBarrel.com issued a press release, “Cracker Barrel Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year Fiscal 2021 Results and Declares Quarterly Dividend,” that included these highlights: Total revenue in the fourth quarter of $784.4 million was approximately flat compared to the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019 total revenue of $787.1 million. Compared to the fourth quarter of fiscal 20191, comparable store restaurant sales decreased 6.8% and comparable store retail sales increased 18.2%. Comparable store off-premise restaurant sales grew 108.6% compared to the fourth quarter of 20191 and represented approximately 19% of restaurant sales.

As buffet restaurants continue to lag financially behind their non-buffet counterparts, is there any truth behind online rumors as to continued closings of Cracker Barrel restaurants?

Let us explore further.

Golden Corral, 2022

In April of 2021, Today.com published Ronnie Koenig’s “Are Buffets a Thing of the Past? Reimagining 'All-You-Can-Eat' in a Post-COVID World,” which detailed the deleterious state of affairs for buffet-style restaurants in general. See here for Koenig’s article, for which Lance Trenary, President & CEO of the Golden Corral Corporation, explained that Golden Corral’s buffet concept would continue, though with improved operating conditions and Covid-related safety precautions in place.

Today, in 2022, Golden Corral is still operating. However, according to Restaurant Business Online in an April, 2021 article by Peter Romeo, entitled “Golden Corral Franchisee Files For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection,” the following information was reported: Platinum Corral permanently closed 16 of its 28 units. It is the second large franchisee of the buffet chain to seek debt protection since the start of the pandemic.

The bankruptcy, and the one referenced that preceded it, does not appear to have impacted the long-term health of the company, though as alluded to earlier the general state of business of most U.S. chain buffets has been understatedly concerning since the advent of the pandemic.

See my recent NewsBreak piece, “Why Old Country Buffet and Hometown Buffet Have Permanently Closed Most Locations,” which elaborated upon the fall of the titular buffet chains, both of which, for decades, had been among the most lucrative buffet chains in the U.S.

If anything, those closures may well foreshadow the fates of similar business models, as a targeted Google search illustrates, though that is not a guarantee.

Conclusion

The bottom line: Is Golden Corral closing more locations, or going out of business entirely, as online rumors suggest?

There has been no official word of any such plans. For now, the rumors can be considered false.

I will post updates in the event of any changes.

Thank you for reading.

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I am an award-winning author, screenwriter for film and television, and producer. My mission on News Break is to share socially important perspectives on both culture and pop-culture. Member of PEN America, and the WGA.

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