12 casual restaurant chains on the comeback trail


Bennigan’s, created by legendary restaurateur Norman Brinker, barely left with a pulse in 2008 after a Chapter 7 bankruptcy obliterated Bennigan’s 150 company restaurants. The remaining 138 franchises shrunk shortly thereafter, with 70 remaining during the proceedings. There are now 11 stores domestically and 15 internationally, with six more in development.

Paul Mangiamele, a former CEO of Salsarita, was initially brought in to lead a turnaround but eventually bought the chain with his wife in 2015. The brand falls under Legendary Restaurant Brands, which also owns fast-casual spinoff Bennigan’s On The Fly , Bennigan’s Virtual Kitchens on the Fly and Steak & Ale.

In October, the CEO said FSR as restaurants reduced hours of operation and took steps to offset inflation and labor issues, but same-store sales were positive compared to 2019.

In the fall, Bennigan’s announced an agreement with REEF Neighborhood Kitchens, one of the fastest growing ghost kitchen facilitators in the restaurant industry.

“Because our brands pioneered casual dining in the first place [Bennigan’s was founded in 1976 and Steak & Ale in 1966], the mission was to try to introduce them to as many markets, both domestic and international, as possible,” says Mangiamele. “But now there have been so many roadblocks ahead of us in terms of coronavirus and dealing with that for almost two years now… So what better way to continue to explode brand awareness by getting the product out , not just nationally but internationally like well, so partnering with a company like REEF? »


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