SAN DIEGO -- If you had eaten at a Sweet Tomatoes in the Houston area before the COVID-19 pandemic shut everything down, you may want to savor the memory of that meal.
All 97 Sweet Tomatoes and Souplantation locations are reportedly shutting down for good after their parent company, Garden Fresh Restaurants, struggled to remain financially solvent amid the shutdown due to the novel coronavirus.
Sweet Tomatoes has restaurants in four locations in the Houston area: The Woodlands Mall, Willowbrook Mall, the Fountains Shopping Center in Stafford and south of I-10 between Voss and Campbell.
The company's CEO, John Haywood, told The San Diego Union-Tribune COVID-19 has made it too difficult for them to reopen.
"The FDA had previously put out recommendations that included discontinuing self-serve stations, like self-serve beverages in fast food, but they specifically talked about salad bars and buffets," said Haywood. "The regulations are understandable, but unfortunately, it makes it very difficult to reopen. And I'm not sure the health departments are ever going to allow it."
According to the newspaper, 4,400 employees will lose their jobs due to the permanent closure.