Fast-casual eatery to liquidate assets online  

Marianne Wilson
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Sweet Tomatoes

Garden Fresh Restaurants is going out of business.

The largest restaurant bankruptcy and liquidation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has reached its final stage.

Garden Fresh Restaurants, the parent company company of salad-buffet concepts Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes, is liquidating all assets under its Chapter 7 Bankruptcy filing.  The equipment and contents are being auctioned online from until June 30th, 2020 in locations nationally at www.RestaurantEquipment.Bid

Garden Fresh, which is owned by Washington, D.C.-based private equity firm Perpetual Capital Partners, filed for Chapter 7 liquidation in mid- May.  When restaurant dine-in operations went dark due to the pandemic, the company temporarily closed its 97 restaurants, 12 commissary kitchens and two distributions centers.

The Garden Fresh bankruptcy and resulting liquidation reflects the challenges facing the restaurant industry as a result of the pandemic. According to the National Restaurant Association, the industry lost more than $225 billion in revenue as a result of the pandemic and more than 150,000 locations have been closed, either temporarily or permanently. 

"Garden Fresh's bankruptcy is an early sign of the challenges to come for the restaurant industry in the wake of COVID-19,” said Neal Sherman, president of TAGeX Brands, which operates RestaurantEquipment.Bid, a marketplace for furniture, fixtures, small wares and supplies for restaurants. “Our aim with online auctions is to ensure that quality items don't end up in a landfill – but instead allows for sustainable repurposing that not only makes economic sense but will provide a positive outcome for surviving restaurant operators who can benefit from this liquidation."