A few weeks ago, veteran Atlanta casual-dining and quick-service operator David Davoudpour closed a deal to buy 282-unit Shoney’s, the 50-plus-year-old brand that pioneered all-you-can-eat salad bars and breakfast buffets in the Southeast. A family-dining icon, Shoney’s is a nickname for the late foodservice entrepreneur Alex Schoenbaum, who launched the region’s first Shoney’s Big Boy in 1953 after buying multistate franchise rights for the Big Boy concept two years ...

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