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  • The Commercial Appeal

    Golden Corral is coming to Memphis. Here's what we know about the buffet chain's plans

    By Jacob Wilt, Memphis Commercial Appeal,

    18 days ago

    If you live in the Memphis area, you've likely seen Golden Corral commercials for a while now, despite the national buffet restaurant chain having no locations in Shelby County. That's about to change.

    Golden Corral is looking to bring either one or two restaurants to the area in the coming years. That's according to David Conklin, Golden Corral's chief development officer, who said it's the perfect time to expand.

    "It's a great time to be in the buffet business... especially in a time when our competitors are raising prices and reducing portion sizes," Conklin said.

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    Open for 51 years, Golden Corral is known for the massive number of options available on its endless buffet, with separate menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There's an extensive salad bar too, and naturally, a dessert buffet with plenty of sweets to complete the meal.

    The Raleigh, North Carolina-based chain operates 353 restaurants in 39 states, with eightf of those locations in Tennessee. Currently, the closest location to Memphis is in Mississippi at 988 Goodman Road in Horn Lake.

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    Conklin said a Memphis expansion makes perfect sense for the company.

    "We want to grow in Memphis," he said. "It has a lot of attributes that we find are a really good fit, affordable real estate... that's reasonable compared to the national average, and that just leaves a lot of disposable income to help support local businesses. And that, paired with a good job market just makes it a very attractive community."

    Beyond business opportunities, Conklin said the city's culture was also a factor in the decision to expand here.

    "The overall sense of community that Memphis has, just from all the events, the barbecue contests , the food festivals, that really bring the community together," he said. "We look at those things as being things that make Memphis unique and special, and we love the idea of being part of that community."

    The vast majority of Golden Corral locations are franchised — as such, the first step for getting a Memphis-area location is to find a local franchisee. Conklin said they're offering an incentive program for prospective franchisees.

    After a franchisee is selected, a build site will be chosen. Conklin said the locations could go anywhere from Memphis proper to a suburb like Bartlett or Collierville.

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    Though it's too early in the process to give an accurate timeline, Conklin said he's ready to get started.

    "We're excited about Memphis as a market and area to grow in," he said, "and look forward to getting the right folks in place."

    Jacob Wilt is a reporter for The Commercial Appeal. You can reach him at jacob.wilt@commercialappeal.com .

    This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: Golden Corral is coming to Memphis. Here's what we know about the buffet chain's plans

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