Wall of Heroes campaign, support of wounded veterans, underscores year-round commitment
DALLAS, TX (November 7, 2013) – Bennigan’s doesn’t wait until Veterans Day to pay tribute to America’s military heroes. Like many other brands, its franchisees will be offering varying discounts to active-duty, reserve and retired service members this Monday at participating restaurants across the nation.
But Bennigan’s commitment to supporting veterans goes much deeper than a one-day offer.
The Legendary restaurant brand renowned for its signature Irish hospitality has been raising funds for wounded veterans since May through its second annual Wall of Heroes campaign, a guest-inspired initiative that invites customers to purchase a drink in honor of anyone that is currently serving or has served in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Guests are encouraged to take a photo of the drink and a personal note written to their military hero, then upload it to Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #WallofHeroes. Bennigan’s donates $1.00 for every posting to the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes, a leading not-for-profit organization dedicated to rebuilding the lives of severely wounded veterans of the War on Terror.
The Wall of Heroes kicked off on Memorial Day and wraps up for the year on Veterans Day, November 11th.
“Everyone at Bennigan’s recognizes the sacrifices made by the 20 million veterans now living in the U.S. and those still in harm’s way in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Korean peninsula and all across the globe,” said Bennigan’s President & CEO Paul Mangiamele. “Our dedication to honoring, supporting and partnering with these brave men and women is an uncompromising aspect of our corporate culture.”
Earlier this year, the World Franchising Network recognized Bennigan’s for its multi-faceted outreach to veterans by selecting the company to its Top 50 Franchises for Veterans in 2013. The WFN’s fourth-annual survey conducted for USA Today evaluated companies on a wide array of measures, including veteran representation in senior management and franchise ranks, programs specifically created to attract veterans and discounts offered on initial investment, franchise fees and on-going royalties. The Top 50 were selected from a pool of more than 425 applicants.
“It’s certainly gratifying to be recognized on the Top 50 list, but we’re not in this for the accolades,” stressed Mangiamele. “We’re in it for our country and, selfishly, we understand that nobody knows what it means to work hard and be committed to a cause more than a veteran. We want them in the trenches with us at Bennigan’s.”
When he was recruited in 2011 to lead the iconic Bennigan’s brand back to its former glory, Mangiamele instituted a program that waives the company’s franchise fee for all qualified and honorably discharged veterans. Operated through Bennigan’s membership in the International Franchise Association’s VetFran program, the franchise incentive offers a total savings of approximately $35,000. Due to the positive response from veterans, the program has been extended to the end of 2014.
In addition, proceeds from the sale of Mangiamele’s book, Bennigan’s Return to Relevance: Bleeding Green 25/8, benefit “Operation Enduring Opportunity,” a program developed by the IFA with a goal “to hire as team members and recruit as franchise business owners 75,000 veterans and military spouses and 5,000 wounded warriors by 2014.”
Last month, Bennigan’s signed on as a national sponsor of an extraordinary cross-country cycling trek by Paralympian Rob Jones, a combat-wounded retired Marine.
What makes Rob Jones Journey so unique is that he will be pedaling his bicycle for 5,400 miles using prosthetic legs. Jones set out from Bar Harbor, ME, on October 14th, and he doesn’t plan to quit until he’s reached the sandy beaches of San Diego sometime between February and April.
Jones is attempting to raise $1 million for three charitable organizations – including the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes – that helped him most during his darkest hours after he was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED) in Afghanistan, resulting in double above-knee amputations of both his legs.
“I’ve been inspired by many exceptional veterans in my day, but it’s hard to top what Rob is undertaking,” said Mangiamele. “Not only has he sacrificed his limbs for our freedom, and brought home a bronze medal for Team USA at the London Paralympics, but he’s now putting his body to another incredible test to raise money for veterans charities. I’ve never made an easier decision than to sponsor Rob Jones’ Journey.”
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, every meal, every day. Every member of the team “bleeds green” and demonstrates a 25/8 focus to support its franchise community. The company’s revolutionary comeback has introduced a new generation of Bennigan’s that reflects the brand’s history and pays respect to its rich heritage. Bennigan’s focus on reinvention, flexible prototypes, innovative food, Legendary service and other sales-generating initiatives has resulted in explosive growth both domestically and internationally. For franchising information, visit www.bennigans.com or call 855-GOT-BENN.