Here’s another chain emerging out of the casual dining fog. Bennigan’s 40th anniversary in 2016 turned out to be a year to remember. The chain, which was founded by Norman E. Brinker in 1976 and has 150 units open, under development or under contract, experienced 6 percent same-store sales growth in 2016—a nearly mythical jump in today’s casual dining lexicon.
In the past six years, Bennigan’s has appreciated average unit volume growth in excess of 35 percent. This past year, the chain was building restaurants in Sacramento, California, Lexington, Kentucky, Jackson, Tennessee, and Monahans, Texas, as well as international locations in Qatar and Bahrain.
Bennigan’s debuted a new prototype, which drove guest check and frequency, and poured resources into its core—Monte Cristos to ribs to customer service. “We still have a lot of the signature favorites that everyone knows and loves. And that’s what’s built an emotional connection to the brands that makes the pent-up demand around the world very strong,” said Paul Mangiamele, CEO of Legendary Restaurant Brands.