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Arizona Sweet Tomatoes Restaurants Will Likely Close Permanently

By Sky Schaudt
Published: Friday, May 8, 2020 - 12:50pm
Updated: Wednesday, March 17, 2021 - 1:37pm

A Sweet Tomatoes restaurant
Sky Schaudt/KJZZ
A Sweet Tomatoes restaurant in north Phoenix.

A buffet chain with several restaurants in Arizona will likely close permanently, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

John Haywood, CEO of San Diego-based Garden Fresh Restaurants, which owns the Sweet Tomatoes and Souplantation brands, made the announcement Thursday.

There are nine Arizona Sweet Tomatoes locations, including seven in the Phoenix metro area.

All 97 locations have been closed since March 16 due to the coronavirus.

Haywood told the Union-Tribune on Thursday that the company didn't see a way forward after being closed for eight weeks. 

The FDA recommended “discontinuing self-service buffets and salad bars” during the COVID-19 pandemic in guidance released March 17.

Garden Fresh Restaurants employ about 4,400 people nationwide.

A Sweet Tomatoes restaurant
Sky Schaudt/KJZZ
An empty Sweet Tomatoes restaurant in north Phoenix on May 8, 2020.

BusinessCoronavirus Food + Restaurants