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Bennigan's Goes Bust


Toliver
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I'm not really surprised that Bennigin's is in this position.  Friday's, Applebee's, Chili's and all of the restaurants like them won't be able to keep up their margin's either.  Think about it.  These restaurant have been serving overpriced garbage food for a long time now.  People are becoming a bit more food savvy and are tired of the pricing.  They make a lot of money on their drinks which are highly overpriced.  And don't forget about the fact that they give people a massive amount of food.  Half of it goes to waste because they can't eat it all.  And then they give massive desserts that are the size of a meal.  It could be that people are saying:  " I don't need that much food.  I'd rather go somewhere where the portions are smaller and manageable."  I can't imagine they were making much money on the food.  Probably wasted more food than they bought.  They were making it on volume.  Now that the economy is in the tank, they don't have volume, so guess what?  Down the drain they go.

I would normally agree with you 100 gazillion percent.

HOWEVER, the Other paper (really, it's called the Other paper) out of Columbus, OH just did a reader survey for the best restaurant in Columbus. Result? The f-in Cheesecake Factory. Who, as anyone who has eaten there will tell you, proudly boast of their portion size.

Apparently what Bennigan's was lacking wasn't good food, but a two hour wait for a table for mediocre food.

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Places are tanking because of the economy.

In my area places are closing fast.

The squeeze starts to happen in restaurants where the profits that are large, ie. alcohol, start shrinking.

With prices going up from suppliers in house and customers wrestling with their wallets as EVERYTHING goes up pricewise things can get dicey very quickly.

I don't know if I've ever been to a Bennigans, I wouldn't expect them to be very good but if you start seeing the Cheesecake Factory having problems, that should bring it home .

When corp. like them & Starbucks started expanding no one could foresee the kind of situation that's happening now.

My two cents...

2317/5000

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A couple of other interesting Fast Food items that I've noticed:

KFC has now launched a Value Menu*. Items range from 99 cents up to almost $2. It looks like they're trying to position themselves as a place where a fast food bargain can be found though they're one of the last restaurants I'd think of when it comes to fast food bargains. Maybe this menu launching is to counteract that perception among consumers.

*It will be interesting to see if McDonald's follows suit and rechristens their Dollar Menu as a Value Menu, which will allow them to escape being boxed-in by the limited pricing of a dollar. It's likely they will help ease the transition to the retitled menu by adding a new menu item or two (a new value combo, perhaps?) that is priced higher than a dollar which will give them justification for changing the name of the menu.

Subway has commercials currently airing touting their five dollar footlongs and stresses in their audio that their offerings are extra meaty. This has to be a response to the Quizno's campaign that their five dollar sandwiches have more meat than Subway's.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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Not being from the correct part of the country to know what a Bennigan's was, I had the misfortune of accepting a suggestion to eat at one in Seoul.

That was my second most expensive meal on that particular trip (Western food typically fetches a bit of a premium, even if it's awful), and by far the worst food I'd ever eaten on multiple trips to Korea. Corn syrupy tomato sauce and overcooked spaghetti with lots of big pieces of carrots. Bizarre. It made me wish I had ordered a $10 frosty frozen cocktail of some sort, which, as Jeffrey Steingarten says, makes such places bearable.

The news stories indicated that franchisees will (possibly) stick around, but that company-owned stores would be shuttered. That's a fascinating strategy; usually, when things look bad for a chain restaurant concept, you'd expect corporate to want to take more control of quality. But franchising is the least capital-intensive way of operating a restaurant business, I suppose.

Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

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I'm not really surprised that Bennigin's is in this position.  Friday's, Applebee's, Chili's and all of the restaurants like them won't be able to keep up their margin's either.  Think about it.  These restaurant have been serving overpriced garbage food for a long time now.  People are becoming a bit more food savvy and are tired of the pricing.  They make a lot of money on their drinks which are highly overpriced.  And don't forget about the fact that they give people a massive amount of food.  Half of it goes to waste because they can't eat it all.  And then they give massive desserts that are the size of a meal.  It could be that people are saying:  " I don't need that much food.  I'd rather go somewhere where the portions are smaller and manageable."  I can't imagine they were making much money on the food.  Probably wasted more food than they bought.  They were making it on volume.  Now that the economy is in the tank, they don't have volume, so guess what?  Down the drain they go.

I would normally agree with you 100 gazillion percent.

HOWEVER, the Other paper (really, it's called the Other paper) out of Columbus, OH just did a reader survey for the best restaurant in Columbus. Result? The f-in Cheesecake Factory. Who, as anyone who has eaten there will tell you, proudly boast of their portion size.

Apparently what Bennigan's was lacking wasn't good food, but a two hour wait for a table for mediocre food.

Of course, we also must look at the demographics. Ohio is one of the most obese states in the country. So, it's not surprising that portion size is the reason for going to the Cheesecake Factory for that state. It would be interesting to see statistics from other states to see if portion size is important for those states - barring other "obese" states as well.

Edited because I kan't spel.

Edited by KensethFan (log)

--- KensethFan

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I think it's more a sign that Bennigan's sucked.  Even among those types of restaurants, Bennigan's was bad.

Bennigan's isn't great, but IMO, Applebee's, then Chili's is the WORST!

TGIFriday's I can live with.

It will be interesting to see if the chains you mentioned fare any better during the economic slowdown. The stats say business is down 25% at full service restaurants (and is up at fast food places). I wonder if they'll go the way of Starbucks and start closing poor performing locations.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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  • 1 month later...
Does anybody have fond memories of Bennigans from the distant past?  I've talked to other people about this, and it seems many people really liked going there. But in the past.  And they all pretty much agree it has slid downhill a great deal since those fond memories.

Did you watch your favorite sports team here? Did you go there all the time with co-worker friends for happy hour?  Any GOOD stories?

fond memories....oh, I have plenty! My first restaurant job was at a Bennigans about 20 years ago (yikes!)...

I started as a hostess and moved to waitress not to long after (all the waitresses told me I was too 'smart' to host and I'd make move money on the floor) then eventually I became a bartender...

As with many 'first experiences' the impressions made on me I still think of fondly to this day...

We were next to a University so practically everyone who worked there was a student...sometimes it was like one big frat party amougst the staff...ahhh....the memories...the fun....too many to list...

Anyone go to a "St Patty's Day" celebration? oh, boy...I remember having tents outside the restaurant selling green beer and wall to wall people everywhere getting drunk and having a jolly good time...

How about those 'clocked' lunches? You'd get this little timer as you sat and the waiter started it after you ordered and if if wasn't delivered in 15 minutes or less, it was free...

And who could ever forget the birthday song! All that clapping and whoo hoo'ing...gawd, I was such a ham...I loved doing it and it's a tune I'll never forget:

Happy, Happy Birthday

On this your special day

Happy, Happy Birthday

that's why we're here to say:

Happy, Happy Birthday

*put's arms across everyones sholders and sways*

"May All Your Dreams come true"

Happy, Happy Birthday

From Bennigans to you,

Hey!

have *that* with a little Death by Chocolate and you've just experienced THE Bennigan's signature...

of course, I'm too much of a food and wine snob to eat in these kinds of places today, but like someone said, if I must (ie... I'm with kids) I can tolerate Friday's (and yes I worked there too!)

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And who could ever forget the birthday song!  All that clapping and whoo hoo'ing...gawd, I was such a ham...I loved doing it and it's a tune I'll never forget:

Happy, Happy Birthday

On this your special day

Happy, Happy Birthday

that's why we're here to say:

Happy, Happy Birthday

*put's arms across everyones sholders and sways*

"May All Your Dreams come true"

Happy, Happy Birthday

From Bennigans to you,

Hey!

Oddly enough, I happen to know that they use almost *exactly* this same chant at Red Robin restaurants today. It's...uncanny, weird, and yes: pretty undignified for all concerned parties, unless, of course, your age is in the single digits.

The more chains change...

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And who could ever forget the birthday song!  All that clapping and whoo hoo'ing...gawd, I was such a ham...I loved doing it and it's a tune I'll never forget:

Happy, Happy Birthday

On this your special day

Happy, Happy Birthday

that's why we're here to say:

Happy, Happy Birthday

*put's arms across everyones sholders and sways*

"May All Your Dreams come true"

Happy, Happy Birthday

From Bennigans to you,

Hey!

Oddly enough, I happen to know that they use almost *exactly* this same chant at Red Robin restaurants today. It's...uncanny, weird, and yes: pretty undignified for all concerned parties, unless, of course, your age is in the single digits.

The more chains change...

Pat yourself on the back for being dignified. I have two little girls who love the treatment and I like to take them there for it, and I'm thankful they do it . Nothing weird about it, or undignified about it, it is what it is, that you don't like the side shows but go there is weird.

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Does anybody have fond memories of Bennigans from the distant past?  I've talked to other people about this, and it seems many people really liked going there. But in the past.  And they all pretty much agree it has slid downhill a great deal since those fond memories.

Did you watch your favorite sports team here? Did you go there all the time with co-worker friends for happy hour?  Any GOOD stories?

There was a Bennigans downstairs from my culinary school. During breaks we would rush the bar and enjoy the only thing I ever enjoyed there, ice cold draft beer in frozen mugs for $1.00. It was fantastic, but they discontinued the dollar beer thing later and I think I went to Bennigans off and on over the years but I can't recall any food consumed, but I'm sure I ate and I'm sure it was not good.

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Pat yourself on the back for being dignified. I have two little girls who love the treatment and I like to take them there for it, and I'm thankful they do it .  Nothing weird  about it, or undignified about it, it is what it is, that you don't like the side shows but go there is weird.

Easy, Tiger. The operative word in there being "little". As I said, the exception to the rule is for people whose age lies in the single digits. It's when the employees have to do their silly little chants for anyone out of, say, elementary school that I find it pretty degrading.

I mean, sheesh: who *doesn't* want little kids to have fun on their birthday? It's very nice, and the place *is* geared towards kids having a good time any time they're there. For crying out loud, they have a costumed robin flitting about the joint on busy weekends, with helium-filled balloons aplenty!

However, when the employees have to do it for people older than that...really, you don't find that to be pushing the limits of good graces? And more than a bit weird/undignified on *both* sides (i.e. both on the giving and receiving end of the chant)?

Oh, and just to be clear: I find it inappropriate at *any* place that does this, not just Red Robin. Feel free to disagree. If it's your birthday, and you'd like a free dessert, hey: no problem, enjoy! But please, for the love of Mike, don't make the employees dance and sing for you if you're old enough to know better.

Triple Curse Jackpot to idiots who "surprise" their older friends who are having a birthday and call upon the employees to do this. For kids? Fantastic! For everyone else? Um, no.

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