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Ryan's restaurant on Bobby Jones to close

Posted: January 23, 2012 - 3:45pm

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The Augusta area is losing one of its four Ryan’s buffets.

A spokeswoman for Buffets Inc., which owns Ryan’s and HomeTown Buffet, said the restaurant on Bobby Jones Expressway is among the 81 underperforming restaurants that will immediately close.

Buffets Inc. filed for a pre-arranged bankruptcy Wednesday, its second bankruptcy in four years.

The Ryan’s locations on Knox Avenue in North Augusta, Whiskey Road in Aiken and Peach Orchard Road in Augusta will remain open.

The restaurant operator expects to emerge from bankruptcy within six months.

Buffets, which operates 494 restaurants, said it will receive a $50 million bankruptcy loan, known as debtor-in-possession finance, to fund operations while in court protection.

Buffets said it reached an agreement with its senior lenders to recapitalize the company and eliminate almost all of its $245 million outstanding debt.

Riggs added that the company had reduced its debt to $240 million from about $940 million after its first bankruptcy filing.

The pre-packaged plan will see the company’s existing lenders receive 100 percent of its new common stock upon emergence from the bankruptcy process, Buffets said in a statement.

Buffets, which is controlled by Credit Suisse and a group of lenders, had first filed for bankruptcy protection in 2008 and emerged from it a year later.

The company’s latest restructuring agreement is similar to the one bankrupt restaurant chain operator Friendly Ice Cream Corp. reached with its creditors.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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