Brand that created casual dining poised for significant global expansion in 2016
Fremont, CA (RestaurantNews.com) Buoyed by strong sales and unit growth throughout 2015, and a significant buildup in its new-store pipeline, the iconic Bennigan’s brand is poised to take a dramatic leap in 2016, its 40th anniversary year.
Now operating under the Legendary Restaurant Brands banner following its buyout by Chairman & CEO Paul Mangiamele, Bennigan’s wrapped up another successful year with 10 percent same-store sales growth in 2015 and average unit volume (AUV) growth in excess of 40 percent over the last four years.
The company rolled out a new, contemporary prototype design in 2015 that has helped to reinvigorate the brand, and the very first National Monte Cristo Day – on Sept. 17 – lifted sales and excitement at Bennigan’s locations around the world.
In December, the chain welcomed its newest California location in Fremont, another Bennigan’s opened last week in Frederick, Md., and the company will celebrate yet another grand opening in Melbourne, Fla., on Jan. 25. Panama City, Fla., will follow in early spring.
“I’m an optimistic person by nature, but I continue to be amazed by the passion so many people have for the Bennigan’s brand, thanks in large measure to our family-friendly environment, strong value proposition and appeal to such a wide demographic,” said Mangiamele, who purchased the company from its parent private equity firm last February. “We’ve put all the key pieces in place – from the menu to the new restaurant prototype to the operational and guest service training – and we’ve already started seeing the results. Now, with the fortuitous timing of Bennigan’s 40th anniversary, we are poised to make 2016 our best year in decades!”
Significant additional expansion is in the pipeline, both domestically and overseas, thanks to agreements in place for new Bennigan’s in Lexington, Ky; Tyler, Monahans and Lubbock, Tex.; Hobbs and Carlsbad, NM; Walnut Creek, Calif.; Jackson, Tenn.; Obarrio, Panama; Fort St. John, British Columbia; and two new locations in Qatar.
Legendary Restaurant Brands also includes the new, fast casual concept Bennigan’s On the Fly, as well as the venerable Steak and Ale brand, which will observe its 50th anniversary in 2016.
“Just as there is substantial pent-up demand across the globe for Bennigan’s, the Steak and Ale name still elicits fond memories and Prime Rib envy from its legions of loyal fans,” said Mangiamele. “So what better time to reintroduce Steak and Ale than during its golden anniversary? That’s exactly what we intend to do!
Dallas and Mexico City are both on track to debut the first updated Steak and Ale restaurant, redefined as a 21st Century polished-casual concept. A three-store area development agreement will bring both Bennigan’s and Steak and Ale to the Northern Virginia/DC area; the two concepts will be constructed side-by-side in a new development in Aurora, Ill.; and New Iberia will welcome the first of five new corporate locations of the sister brands to Louisiana.
A new Bennigan’s on the Fly is likewise in the works at Dulles Airport outside Washington, DC.
“It’s going to be a busy year, but I’ve been blessed with the best “Bleeding Green” support team and franchise partners in the business, and we’re fully prepared to capitalize on the momentum we’ve built up over the last few years,” said Mangiamele. “We have tremendous equity in the Bennigan’s and Steak and Ale brands, and in the months ahead, we will be focusing all our energies on returning them to their rightful place at the leading edge of casual dining.”
The chain will be rolling out a new menu in February, featuring such crowd-pleasing additions as Flips Loaded Nachos, the Smoky Chile Burger, the Gar-lucky Arugula Burger and the beloved classic dessert, Death by Chocolate.
Bennigan’s in Santa Clara, Calif., will be Ground Zero for a weeklong series of festivities tied to Super Bowl 50, which will be played on Feb. 7 at Levi Stadium, roughly one mile from the restaurant.
And as a central element in its 40th anniversary celebrations, Bennigan’s will unveil a month-long St. Paddy’s Day promotion in March asking guests to “tell us your Bennigan’s story” for the chance to win an all-expenses-paid dream vacation to Ireland.
“My entire team is more committed than ever to introducing a new generation of guests to the Bennigan’s and Steak and Ale brands all across the world, and to fulfilling the wishes of so many long-term, loyal fans who pine for a return of these beloved restaurants to their hometowns,” said Mangiamele. “We have made great progress over the last couple of years, and we’re stepping on the accelerator in 2016. It’s going to be a Legendary year!”
About Legendary Restaurant Brands
Legendary Restaurant Brands owns the iconic Bennigan’s and Steak and Ale brands – the pioneers of casual dining – as well as the fast-casual concept, Bennigan’s On The Fly. Bennigan’s is a high-energy neighborhood restaurant and tavern that is redefining casual dining. With chef-driven food, innovative drinks and warm, friendly Irish hospitality, this Legendary brand delivers memorable dining experiences to every guest and compelling returns to all its franchisees. Steak and Ale is another American classic poised for a triumphant return. Redefined as a 21st Century polished-casual concept, the new Steak and Ale will once again set the standard for affordable steakhouses. Bennigan’s and Steak and Ale will be celebrating their 40th and 50th anniversaries, respectively, in 2016.
For franchising information, visit Bennigans.com or call 855-GOT-BENN.