EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn., March 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Buffets, Inc. (Nasdaq: BOCB) announced today the appointment of Michael T. Sweeney as a new independent director, and the retirement of David Michael Winton and Dr. Christian Horn from the Company's board. Mr. Sweeney is the President and Chief Executive Officer of The Minnesota Pizza Company, a franchisee and high growth developer of Papa Johns(R) pizzerias. He previously served as the Chief Executive Officer of Blockbuster Mid-America, and has held a number of earlier posts in investment banking and real estate investment. Mr. Winton was an original investor of Buffets, Inc. and served as a director since 1990. Dr. Horn was an early investor and director of HomeTown Buffet, Inc. prior to HomeTown's merger with Buffets, Inc. in 1996, and served on the Buffets, Inc. board since that time. Mr. Roe H. Hatlen, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive officer stated, "The appointment of Michael T. Sweeney will bring a fresh perspective to Buffets, Inc.'s board of directors. His enthusiasm is infectious, and his combined background in restaurant development, investment banking and real estate will be a superb compliment to the existing talents on the board. We will miss Mike Winton and Chris Horn as they have played key roles in the growth and development of our Company. We thank them for their contributions and wish them the best in their future endeavors." In other news, the Company also reported that HomeTown Buffet(R) was ranked "America's Choice in 1998 for Cafeteria/Buffet Chain Restaurants" according to a nationwide survey conducted by Restaurants and Institutions magazine. The annual R&I survey, reported in the magazine's March 1, 1998 issue, compiled data from 2,806 respondents. The poll also established that HomeTown Buffet(R) was ranked by the respondents as being the best in terms of "value" among 92 restaurant chains, ranging from "Burgers" to "Dinner Houses". Commenting on the award, Mr. Hatlen stated, "We could not be more pleased with this high distinction for HomeTown Buffet(R). Our Old Country Buffet(R) concept received similar awards from R&I in previous years, and coupled with these most recent rankings, reflect the inherent strength of both of our core restaurant concepts." Buffets, Inc. is the largest operator of buffet style restaurants, with 242 Old Country Buffet(R), 116 HomeTown Buffet(R), 4 RoadHouse Grill(SM), 1 Country Roadhouse Buffet & Grill(SM) and 1 PIZZAPLAY(SM) restaurants open as of the end of the fourth quarter. To receive a copy of this release via fax, please call "Company News On-Call" 800-758-5804 extension 122825, or on the Internet at: http://www.buffet.com
SOURCE Buffets, Inc.