What Happened to Souplantation?


Sean Yang, Staff Writer

Souplantation, otherwise known as Sweet Tomatoes, has been a staple of Arcadia residents for a long time, as many organizations at the school have relied on the restaurant when hosting a fundraiser. However, near the start of the pandemic, all chains of the restaurant were closed, and the company was forced to declare bankruptcy. Let’s find out what happened.

In case you didn’t know, Souplantation was a salad bar/buffet-style restaurant offering a variety of soups and baked goods for customers to enjoy. They also included a variety of pasta as well as pan pizzas among other delectables. The atmosphere was always nice, and the soups offered at Souplantation were some of the best. It was the go-to restaurant for a tasty yet healthy meal at an affordable price, as they would usually offer many deals to frequent customers. This made Souplantation very popular, as the variety of the food available made it the place to go at any time for some fresh-tasting ingredients.

“Souplantation was my go-to place for good food and a good time. The chicken soup there was always the best,” said senior William Zhou.

“Souplantation has the best soups. The chicken soup is good, but I really love the clam chowder,” said senior Edwin Shum.

In 2005, Garden Fresh, the company that owns Souplantation, was purchased by Sun Capital Partners, a private equity company. A private equity company usually purchases a company to remove them from the stock market. However, in 2016, the company went bankrupt and had to find a new owner to take over. 

The main reason for this bankruptcy was the declining interest in buffets. Nowadays, the public does not have the same interest in all-you-can-eat restaurants as back then. This has caused many large buffet chains such as Golden Corral and Hometown Buffet to rack up a tremendous amount of debt just to survive. 

Plus, Souplantation bounced around different equity companies while many locations closed down due to the chain’s income not being able to keep up with the costs. When Souplantation was picked up by a new company, Cerberus Capital Management, it actually began to keep up profits. New locations also had talked of reopening, and everything seemed to be going well until March of 2020. 

Around that time, all businesses began to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Souplantation was no exception. Due to their buffet style of dining, they were unable to keep up sales with only delivery/pickup orders which led to their eventual bankruptcy. Yet, this time it has been confirmed that they will not be reopening. Hopefully, the pandemic will get better so that no other restaurants will have to suffer the same fate.