Ribbit Computers owner to open Golden Corral and possibly Jack in the Box

WICHITA — Ribbit Computers owner Alex Harb has been interested in the restaurant business since college, and now he’s finally getting ready to open one of his own.

“I just wanted to wait for the right opportunity to do it,” he says.

His first foray into the business will be with a Golden Corral in Raymore, Mo., followed by three more in the Kansas City area in the next five years.

What he’s planning for Wichita is a little more exciting, depending on your dining preferences.

“We’re talking to Jack in the Box,” Harb says.

He’s had a couple of meetings but has had to put talks on the back burner for a bit. Harb says he expects to sign a deal within six months to do three Jack in the Box restaurants in Wichita. He says he loves the chain’s tacos and was impressed with how the California-based company operates.

“I think Wichita will really embrace that brand, and it will do really well in Wichita.”

Harb says North Carolina-based Golden Corral is a good company, too. A franchisee already has two in Wichita, so Harb says doing any Golden Corrals here is not an option for him.

Once he signs the Jack in the Box deal, Harb says it’s not clear how long it would take to get the restaurants open.

“Usually these things take some time,” he says. “Finding the site sometimes can be a little difficult.”

Once he has the sites, Harb says it takes 120 days to build each of the restaurants.

Harb is a 2004 graduate of Wichita State University.

“While I was going to college, I worked in restaurants,” he says. “I really wanted to open a restaurant by the time I was done.”

He says he realized he needed business experience first.

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Old Town Buffet to open

Old Town Buffet is coming to Wichita, but not to the Old Town area.

The restaurant is going in the former HomeTown Buffet and King’s Buffet space at 6160 E. Central.

Partner Hong Zhang says he’ll offer American cuisine “just like Golden Corral” with “all the American favorites.” He says he’ll also have a Mongolian Grill similar to Genghis Grill.

Diners can choose from both options for $6.99 for lunch or $9.99 for dinner. Zhang says those prices could change by the time he opens, which he hopes will be by Mother’s Day on May 10.

No alcohol will be served.

Zhang says a second Old Town Buffet is a possibility.

“If we do good on this location,” he says, “we’re going to open one on the west side.”