Officials at Bob Evans Farms, Inc. have announced planned changes to food production operations. The company will close its food production plants in Springfield, Ohio and Bidwell, Ohio, in late summer 2013. Bob Evans Farms owns and operates 564 full-service restaurants in 18 states under the Bob Evans and Mimi’s Café brand names.

Approximately 110 plant workers will be impacted by next year’s closures. These employees are expected to maintain their positions until that time.

“These are difficult, but important, strategic decisions for Bob Evans – ones that will allow our company to continue to grow in Ohio and across the country,” said Steve Davis, chairman and chief executive officer. “We recognize there are vast opportunities that lie ahead for Bob Evans Farms – and we are committed to making significant investments in Ohio and our other markets to realize those opportunities.”

Davis indicated that the company’s strategy focuses on higher-growth opportunities such as packaged side dishes and convenience foods. He said the recent decisions are consistent with that strategy and are meant to position the company for future growth in Ohio.

The company has affirmed its commitment to helping affected employees through this transition and to placing as many employees as possible in other positions within the company by the time of the closures.

The company anticipates a total annual pre-tax benefit of approximately $7 million to $8 million in fiscal 2015 from the production moves announced above. As was announced in March 2012, the company also will consolidate its transportation operations in Bidwell, Ohio, and Hillsdale, Michigan, to a new transportation center in Springfield, Ohio. The new transportation center will be located near the distribution center that services its businesses at an estimated investment of $5 million with 110 jobs. It is anticipated that nearly all transportation workers from Bidwell and Hillsdale will transfer to the new Springfield transportation center.

Other investments in the company’s home state of Ohio include well over $50 million over several years for the remodel of its 190 Ohio restaurants, approximately $40 million (after proceeds from the sale of the current campus) in a new corporate campus being built in New Albany, Ohio, and $4 million recently invested in the company’s original farm and Homestead in Rio Grande, Ohio.

As part of the food production consolidation, Bob Evans will invest approximately $23 million to $26 million of capital to add lines to its food production facility in Sulphur Springs, Texas. Two new line extensions will increase production of ready-to-eat food products.

Bob Evans currently employs approximately 45,000 people; nearly 14,000 of whom are in Ohio. The company has restaurant, food production, transportation and corporate office employees across the state. Employees impacted by the closures will be encouraged to apply for open positions within the company, or for positions that will be created in the future.

Source:  Bob Evans Farms, Inc.