Buffets, Inc. (NASDAQ: BOCB), the Board of Directors of Buffets, Inc. announced today that the Company’s Co-Founder Roe Hatlen is stepping down as Chief Executive Officer effective June 30, 2000. Kerry Kramp, the Company’s President since September 1996 succeeds Mr. Hatlen as only the second person to hold this position for the Company. Roe Hatlen will remain actively involved with the Company as Chairman of Buffets, Inc. and as an Executive Officer focusing on the strategic development of the Company.
“The timing is right for this decision,” stated Mr. Hatlen. “We have in place a young and experienced management team who understands the values and philosophies that have made Buffets, Inc. so successful these past 16 years.”
“Kerry Kramp has been groomed for this position since joining Buffets, Inc. as President in conjunction with the merger of HomeTown Buffet into Buffets, Inc. in September of 1996. He is a high-energy motivational leader who at age 44 has lots of restaurant experience. He has done an outstanding job in helping to grow this Company and his promotion is well deserved.”
Roe Hatlen, Co-founded Buffets, Inc. in October of 1983 and has served as the Company’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer since its inception. Under his leadership Buffets, Inc. has grown to the largest Buffet/Cafeteria chain in the nation and the 13th largest publicly owned restaurant chain. The Company ended fiscal 1999 operating 403 restaurants in 38 states and in fiscal 1999 achieved record sales of $936,900,000 and record earnings of $42,400,000. Its recently completed first quarter of 2000 was the most profitable quarter in the history of the Company.
Kerry Kramp joined HomeTown Buffet in 1992 as Vice President of Operations and became President and Chief Operating Officer in 1995. In September of 1996 he became President of Buffets, Inc. in conjunction with the merger of HomeTown Buffets into Buffets, Inc. In 1998 he added Chief Operating Officer to his title. In that position he has been responsible for all of the Company’s restaurant operations, marketing, purchasing, distribution, human resources, training, budgeting and new concept development. He was elected to the Company’s Board of Directors in February of 2000.
“I am very honored to succeed Roe Hatlen and take the helm of this growing dynamic Company. Roe has been a stable guiding force over the 16 year history of this Company. He has provided inspiration and direction to the management team and his stewardship of the economics of the Company has put us in a strong position for the future. Roe’s commitment to this company is stronger than ever and I look forward to working with him as we chart the future direction of the Company.”
“We have enjoyed incredible success which is attributed to our talented and dedicated management team, ” added Mr. Kramp, “I am very proud to be a part of this Company, with its strong brands, its committed and passionate managers, and employees who partner with all of us in making a positive difference in the lives of those we serve.”