Persevering the Unpredictable

When COVID-19 interrupted operations in March 2020, restaurants nationwide were left with many unanswered questions.

During that stressful time, several brands faced obstacles head-on, and leveraged a variety of innovation, whether it was virtual brands, makeshift drive-thrus, ghost kitchens, or rebranding stores.

A year later, chains that pivoted are being rewarded for their perseverance. Sales are increasing, vaccines are on the rise, and even California, arguably the most restrictive state since the pandemic began, is aiming to

Here are 13 small and mid-sized chains positioned to prosper because of tools and initiatives they put in place throughout the crisis.


Paul Mangiamele, CEO of Bennigan’s and Steak & Ale, had a goal to leverage the emotional connection guests have with his concepts, and unlock avenues to growth, such as ghost kitchens.

Kinseth Hospitality Companies, which directs 75-plus hotels and runs Bennigan’s stores in Iowa, inked a licensing agreement to debut two virtual kitchens under the “Bennigan’s On The Fly” banner. Kinseth will offer Bennigan’s On The Fly for delivery, and to its guests, in two of its hotels.

Bennigan’s is also forging ahead with a redesigned prototype that goes back a couple of years; the option to open around 5,200 square feet or so instead of 8,000 to 10,000.

In the last few years, Bennigan’s opened new franchise locations in Melbourne, Florida; Veracruz, Mexico; Larnaca, Cyprus; Doha, Qatar; and Amwaj Islands, Bahrain. It’s new design proved a fit for secondary, smaller, markets, such as Steubenville, Ohio; Mandan, North Dakota.; and Monahans, Texas. A new Bennigan’s On The Fly is headed to Peoria, Arizona in 2021.

Click here for the original article