News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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February 21, 2014

New management, new shot at success

Golden Corral buffet set to return after 3-year break following habitual health violations

TERRE HAUTE — The Golden Corral restaurant is riding back into Terre Haute after an absence of nearly three years.

The restaurant will be in the same location as the previous Golden Corral — south of Honey Creek Mall near U.S. 41 and West Johnson Drive — but it will be under a totally new franchise ownership and management, said Suresh Tummala, vice president of operations for Himalaya Holdings, the company set to open the restaurant perhaps as early as the end of April.

Himalaya Holdings has been operating Golden Corral restaurants since 1999, Tummala said. It currently has five locations in Illinois and two in Wisconsin. This will be the company’s first venture in Indiana.

The Vigo County building inspection department issued a permit Thursday for a commercial remodel at the restaurant, a department official told the Tribune-Star.

Although the previous Terre Haute Golden Corral had significant problems, Tummala said. “Our stores are operating really well.”

Good management is fundamental to operating a successful restaurant, Tummala said, adding that he is hopeful a strong management structure can bring about success in Terre Haute.

The new restaurant will employ about 140 people and is still in the process of hiring management leaders, Tummala said. Anyone interesting in a management position is urged to send an email to FranchiseGC@ymail.com, he said. Hiring for dozens of hourly positions will likely begin in late March or early April with training to begin after that.

The former Golden Corral was owned by Indy Corral, part of Corral Group LP in Irving, Texas. Golden Corral’s corporate headquarters in Raleigh, N.C., terminated the restaurant’s franchise agreement in July 2011 after “continuous actions from the [Vigo County] Health Department,” a corporate official told the Tribune-Star at the time.

At the time of the closure, Golden Corral corporate officials said the Terre Haute location could re-open if a franchisee meets company standards.

The Vigo County Board of Health voted in February 2011 to shut down the restaurant for seven consecutive days if further food handling violations were found. The business had been fined several times by the Health Department and was undergoing frequent inspections. Health department officials had met with restaurant managers in December 2010 about the possibility of permanent closure if critical food handling violations continued.

In two successive years, 2008 and 2009, the Health Department closed Golden Corral for 24 hours for sanitizing issues. An inspection in June 2011 found seven critical and seven non-critical violations.

The Golden Corral opened its first buffet-style restaurant in Fayetteville, N.C. in 1973. It advertises homemade, fresh food, “endless” lunch and dinner buffets in a family-friendly, casual atmosphere, according to the company’s website.

Presently, there are nearly 500 Golden Corral restaurants in 40 states including 21 in Indiana, according to the website.

Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at 812-231-4232 or arthur.foulkes@tribstar.com.

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