Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Wednesday, July 30, 2021

Just how bad is the economy? When as ubiquitous a dining-hole as Bennigan’s abruptly shuts its doors, snuffing itself out completely via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it’s a pretty good barometer for how much things are in the toilet.

And “abrupt” means abrupt:

Bennigan’s, owned by privately held Metromedia Restaurant Group, collapsed in a particularly dramatic fashion Tuesday. Managers of restaurants across the country were awakened by midnight phone calls telling them to shutter their stores immediately, according to interviews with several restaurant managers.

Customers and employees were left peering in windows.

“Closed for business as of Tuesday, July 29,” said a paper taped to the door of Bennigan’s at 225 N. Michigan Ave. in Chicago.

Caleb Kosek, 24, showed up for his first day of work at the store only to find it locked. “Wow,” he said as he peeked into the empty restaurant.

Apparently just the corporate-owned stores are biting it, meaning the franchisees — a distinct minority — will be sticking around. But I’m sure they’ll dwindle away as well soon enough, now that the mothership is gone.

Bennigan’s was very much part of the landscape during my Florida years. The one on St. Pete Beach was something of a desination for my college; I knew plenty of fellow students who worked there at one time or another, and it was a safety choice for a night out. I also patronized enough other locations throughout the Tampa Bay area.

Funny thing though, I’m not sure I can recall seeing one here in New York, either in the City or upstate. There’s got to be at least token outposts hereabouts, but they’re definitely thin on the ground. Even thinner now, obviously. Could be there are too many authentic (if in name only) Irish pubs here that a corporately-generated one couldn’t hack it.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 07/30/2008 01:33:04 PM
Category: Business, Food
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4 Feedbacks »
  1. Larry Briski, president of the Bennigan’s Franchise Operator Association: “They will be open today, tomorrow and months and years to come,” Briski said of the franchise locations.

    Uh…good luck with that.

    Sad.

    Comment by david — 07/30/2008 @ 01:46:43 PM

  2. Yup, wishful thinking. I don’t know exactly how these liquidations work, but I’d guess that the independent franchises would have to buy the Bennigan’s branding from the corporate parent, in order to continue to use it. Doubtful that many would consent to this; the follow-up story will be how the remaining restaurants were forced to give up on “Bennigan’s”.

    Comment by CT — 07/30/2008 @ 02:00:32 PM

  3. There was a Bennigan’s on 8th and 48th (or around there) for a short while a couple of years back. I’m assuming they thought they’d say it was in Times Square, but it’s not part of the normal tourist walk and it died quickly.

    Comment by David — 07/30/2008 @ 09:13:19 PM

  4. REVISION: BENNIGONE’S…

    Earlier today, I was chatting with my friend Kirby about the recent, and abrupt, shuttering of the Bennigan’s restaurant chain.
    He offered up a pithy one-word summation of the episode: “Bennigone’s”.
    I was instantly jealous that…

    Trackback by Population Statistic — 09/08/2021 @ 10:49:44 PM

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