Buffet Partners LP, parent to the Furr’s Fresh Buffet brand, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the company said Tuesday.

Plano, Texas-based Buffet Partners said it would continue to operate its 29 company restaurants and its Lubbock, Tex.-based Dynamic Foods processing and wholesale distribution company during the reorganization, which was filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas.

The company said its debt was in excess of $40 million.

Barry M. Barron Sr., who was named chief executive of Buffet Partners last June, said in a statement that because of “the challenges facing our industry and the liquidity constraints due to our indebtedness and the recent ice storm, we need to explore options to restructure our debt, recapitalize and position ourselves for future growth.”

Much of Furr’s trade area in Texas and Oklahoma was hit by an early December ice storm, which the company said led to “a significant loss in guest count and hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost profit.”

“Furr's intends to work with all key constituents in its restructuring process to maximize its asset value and to exit Chapter 11 in the quickest and most efficient manner possible,” the company in its statement.

The company, founded in 1946, operates Furr's and Furr’s Fresh Buffet straight-line and scatter-bar buffet units in Arizona, Arkansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

Buffet Partners’ Dynamic Foods division in Lubbock processes, manufactures, warehouses and distributes food and supplies to Furr’s locations, as well as third-party customers.

Buffet Partners said its bankruptcy action is being advised by John E. Mitchell of Baker & McKenzie as legal counsel, and by Bridgepoint Consulting as its financial advisor.

Contact Ron Ruggless at ronald.ruggless@penton.com.
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