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HATLEN OF BUFFETS, INC. 1993 MINNESOTA ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR

 EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn., June 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Last evening (Wednesday, June 23) at the Minneapolis Marriott City Center, Roe Hatlen was honored with the 1993 Minnesota Entrepreneur Of The Year Award.
 The Entrepreneur Of The Year program recognizes those individuals and companies whose ingenuity, hard work and innovation have created successful and growing business ventures.
 Hatlen will now go on to compete at the national level this November in Palm Springs, Calif.
 For Hatlen, necessity was the mother of invention. Forced out of a job, he decided to strike out on his own and open his own restaurant. He believed it would be a success if it earned $1 million in its first year. It earned two.
 The first Old Country Buffet, was opened in Richfield, Minn., and has grown into a chain of 147 restaurants in 21 states with 10,500 employees. Forty new restaurants are expected for 1993. Expansion was funded by a public offering in 1985. Since that time, those original investors have enjoyed a lofty 1,515 percent return. Hatlen has successfully guided Buffets to nine consecutive years of record sales and earnings.
 Old Country Buffets employs an innovative approach to dining, uses a "scatter system" of islands to eliminate the long lines usually associated with buffet dining and increased menu selection. A sign of the times, healthier choices offered, along with faster service. Food is prepared in smaller quantities to ensure freshness.
 Buffets was recently selected as the best buffet or cafeteria chain in the nation by Restaurant and Institutions magazine. They rated Buffets as the best value of any chain, and also received the top overall score of any restaurant chain in the nation.
 Last fall, Old Country Buffet Training College opened near the corporate headquarters in Eden Prairie. This facility will assist managers in moving up in the organization and to strengthen restaurant operations.
 In addition to the priority Hatlen places on his family, he is actively involved in the Lutheran church and its ministry. He and his family are dedicated to helping children with learning disabilities and have provided strong financial support through their family foundations and through Old Country Buffet. He also serves on boards of 10 community, civic and religious organizations.
 -0- 6/24/93
 /CONTACT: Clark C. Grant, vice president of finance of Buffets, 612-942-9760/
 (BOCB)


CO: Buffets, Inc. ST: Minnesota IN: LEI SU: PER

DB -- MN008 -- 5310 06/24/93 12:16 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 24, 1993
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