FORT WAYNE – Golden Corral Corp. says although a Fort Wayne franchisee fell behind on his taxes, the chain is doing well, including a remaining restaurant at 4747 Lima Road.
Bob McDevitt, senior vice president of franchising for the company, said the State Department of Revenue closed a Golden Corral at 10510 Maysville Road and another in Noblesville because businessman Scott VanKirk had unpaid state taxes.
Unfortunately, it reached the point to where the state had to take action, McDevitt said. He still owns a restaurant in Warsaw.
VanKirk, a managing partner with the restaurant group, said the winter played a major role in the closings that happened this month.
From about Christmas to March, we were probably closed more than we were open because of the weather, VanKirk said, adding he owes less than $100,000 to the state. It was just really tough this year. It has been for the past three years.
McDevitt said a typical Golden Corral employs about 50 people.
We worked with employees to find jobs for as many as possible, he said. This is an isolated event.
Golden Corral had $1.4 billion in sales in 2013. Same-store sales increased 1 percent that same year, McDevitt said.
Patrick Tamm is president and CEO of the Indiana Restaurant & Lodging Association. He said while upscale and fast-food restaurants have been faring well, some dining establishments in the middle – such as Golden Corral – have struggled.
The average check at a fine-dining restaurant was $28.55 last year, compared with $5.32 at fast-food restaurants, which represent the bulk – 78 percent – of total restaurant traffic, according to industry researcher NPD Group.
Casual-dining or middle restaurants have the next highest average check at $13.75, but visits to this segment of restaurants have declined the past several years, NPD reports.