Could a Golden Corral open in State College? Here’s what a company official had to say

Centre County residents who have long wanted Golden Corral to open locally may see their wish come true.

Chief Development Officer David Conklin said the restaurant chain is “definitely” interested in the State College market.

“Golden Corral certainly does love the idea of State College,” he said Monday. “It’s a very attractive market for us to expand into — just this perfect community, and obviously home to Penn State, you guys just have one of the best college towns that are out there.” State College is part of the company’s market plan and is an area the company would like to grow in, Conklin said.

The company has requirements for population density, diverse retail and traffic counts. They also look for areas with a strong community, something this area has with Penn State and community events, Conklin said. “Definitely we have an interest, but we’re not there yet.”

The next step would be identifying a franchisee to develop the State College market.

“We’re looking for franchisees that have some operations or ownership experience, ideally the full service restaurant industry,” Conklin said. “We look for individuals that have strong business acumen and have an experienced operator on the team that can help run and manage the restaurant.”

The chain already has Pennsylvania locations in Bensalem, Erie, Hermitage, Lancaster, Pittsburgh and Whitehall.

Golden Corral’s interest in State College seems to be mutual. In a CDT poll last month, readers named it the chain restaurant they would most like to see in Centre County. Golden Corral received a quarter of the 3,825 votes that were cast, almost 400 more than the second place finisher.