Unexpected Ryan’s Buffet closure leaves many jobless

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The doors were shut at Ryan's Buffet in Millington on Sunday.

"I don't have no idea what's going on, but I am pissed off," Richard Miller, a customer, said.

The business was shut down as the company counted its assets, according to a notice on the door.

"I eat here every Sunday morning," Napoleon Hayes said. "This is a surprise to me."

"We just woke up this morning and got a phone call that said we was closed," Mary Davis, an employee of 18 years, told WREG.

Dozens of workers said they found out they lost their jobs Sunday morning.

Moms and dads were worried about how to provide for their kids.

"I got a family to support, and that was some lowdown *expletive* that they did," Jerry Beasley explained.

Angela Steele asked, "What can I tell my family now? Oh, I don't have a job. So what are we going to do?"

"They won't give us no answers," Davis said. "They won't tell us nothing."

WREG called and emailed the business' parent company, Ovation Brands.

A spokesperson listed on the company's website never responded.

Ovation Brands shut down more than 70 locations in February, including brands like Old Country Buffet, Hometown Buffet, Fire Mountain and Tahoe Joe's.

The company's website showed the stores were shut down because they were "not performing financially in a manner that allows us to remain open for business."

There are reports from other news outlets of multiple other closures in the last few days, including in Southaven.

A statement sent Monday from a company representative said Buffets LLC, which owns Ryan's, Fire Mountain, Country Buffet, Old County Buffet, Tahoe Joe's Famous Steakhouse and Hometown Buffet, is filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It said the bankruptcy will help the company restructure and strengthen as a whole by closing weaker restaurants.

Workers, who were all visibly upset, were kicked out of the parking lot.

"They're asking that y'all leave their property," an officer with the Millington Police Department said.

Many of the employees waited for answers from corporate and wished they had notice about losing their jobs.

"...Tell us that hey y'all need to be looking for y'all another job," a woman shouted. "These people got families out here."

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