Bennigan's Files For Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, Closes Restaurants Nationwide

Bennigan’s all around the nation have abruptly closed today, after the chain’s parent company filed for bankruptcy. The Chicago Tribune dropped by the Bennigan’s at 255 N. Michigan Ave., and found a sign on the door of the restaurant that said “Closed for Business as of Tuesday, July 29.”

NBC5 in Dallas called a local restaurant and was told, “We won’t be opening anymore,” and a manager added, “This sucks. I’m out of a job.”

Details are hard to come by, but CBS 2 Chicago is reporting that the closure applies only to corporate-owned stores nationwide, and that independent franchise locations will remain open. Unfortunately for Bennigan’s fans, CBS 2 says the company has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which means that the restaurants are being liquidated and will not be staying in business. The station’s legal analyst says that Chapter 7 bankruptcy means that it is unlikely that employees will get their last paycheck.

Bennigan’s Restaurants Shut Down Nationwide
[CBS 2] (Thanks, Joel!)
(Photo: zesmerelda )

Comments

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  1. Go4EVA says:

    This sucks. I wonder if the ones in other countries (Korea, etc) will also be closing.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Shoulda been you, TGI Friday’s.

  3. CaliforniaCajun says:

    All employees are hereby requested to turn in all their pieces of flair before collecting their last check. Thank you, signed, Mr. Bennigan.

  4. Jabberkaty says:

    Poor Butters won’t be going to Bennigan’s anytime soon. Well, shoot.

  5. Bennigans is where I celebrated part of my 21st birthday. We started with beer and food at Hooters, then stumbled/walked next door to Bennigan’s for real drinks.

  6. @Jabberkaty: Bennigan’s closed? You’re grounded.

  7. Barry Zuckerkorn, Esq. says:

    Since they won’t be honoring coupons, does this mean Canada is going back on strike?

  8. gibbersome says:

    As long as Old Country Buffet stays open, I’m okay.

  9. Bennigan’s was a staple of my college days. I’m curious to drive by the one near me in NoVA to see if it’s still open now.

  10. Where is Butters going to eat now? … sorry, had to do it.

  11. Jabberkaty says:
  12. Gopher bond says:

    Oh man, on my last business trip there was a Bennigan’s right next to the hotel (20 second walk) and the staff there gave me about a case of free beers over the course of the week. Cause and effect or did they know something?

    I wonder what that place will be next time I go there.

  13. copious28 says:

    @MeSoHornsby: you are so right! at least Bennigans wasnt overtly racist like TGIF

  14. Man, that’s a big suck for the folks that work there. I feel bad for em.

  15. EBounding says:

    “Aw hamburgers!”

    Why couldn’t it have been Applebees?

  16. Fujikopez says:

    :(
    They had the best chicken tenders and fries.
    My husband used to work there in his college days as a cook. He brought home the most yummy food.

  17. Ein2015 says:

    I was just about to send in this tip, too…

    [www.msnbc.msn.com]

  18. chiieddy says:

    Interestingly, I’m on their coupon mailing list and I got a notification of a sale going on this week. You’d think if they were in trouble they’d ease up on coupons and sales. Of course, who knows who they’re going to sell my email to

  19. jamesdenver says:

    I had no idea people loved Bennigans this much. I thought it was just another cheese/greasy chain joint.

  20. logicalnoise says:

    shame, it’s one of the better chain bar/night life restaurants. their guiness burger was terrific, as well as most of their menu.

  21. startertan says:

    Too bad. I didn’t go there too often but the few times I did the ice cream cake dessert where they pour chocolate over it and it hardens is the best!

  22. BlondeGrlz says:

    When they liquidate their stores it’s going to be like the most awesome garage sale ever. I call dibs on the lifesize carousel ponies and old fashioned tennis rackets!

  23. AaronZ says:

    “The station’s legal analyst says that Chapter 7 bankruptcy means that it is unlikely that employees will get their last paycheck.”

    Raid the store!
    Take all the ‘flair’ off they walls they can carry! That, and a 2 week’s supply of split pea soup and mozzarella sticks.

    Really though, if you heard you weren’t getting a paycheck, and that the store wasn’t going to re-open again, wouldn’t you (and your manager) pretty much raid the hell out of the place before locking up and leaving?

  24. @Fujikopez: Call them up and find out who their supplier is. Hell, you might be able to buy some of the frying medium and some frozen food off them, they obviously need the money.

  25. Gopher bond says:

    @AaronZ: “wouldn’t you (and your manager) pretty much raid the hell out of the place before locking up and leaving?”

    Hells yeah! The bar at the one I was at was 15 taps long and made of solid oak. I’d rip that up and take it home for my basement bar. It was beeyootiful!

  26. MyPetFly says:

    Fuddrucker’s, anyone?

  27. EyeHeartPie says:

    @CaliforniaCajun: Except since they filed for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy,

    …which means that the restaurants are being liquidated and will not be staying in business. The station’s legal analyst says that Chapter 7 bankruptcy means that it is unlikely that employees will get their last paycheck.

  28. ARP says:

    They say that the location on Michigan Ave (Across from the Art Institute) was the busiest Bennigans location and one of the busiest restaurants in the world (in terms of number of tables and percentage full). It’s constantly packed. I guess one restaurant can’t keep the rest afloat.

  29. backbroken says:

    There was a Bennigans in Columbia, MD to which I used to take my out of town visitors. I wonder if it is even still there. They used to push the ‘beer club card’ or whatever it was on all the customers. I always used to wonder just how often you had to eat at Bennigans and just how much beer you had to drink for it to pay off.

  30. allnitecp says:

    OMG!!! Where-oh-where will I ever get my Monte Cristo fix again!!! ARGH!!

    My body craves the battered and deep fried ham/turkey/cheese goodness at least once a month!

  31. hexychick says:

    @pr0FF3ss0r_j3rkwh3at’s lost baseball season: The one at Fair Oaks Mall is where I rang in my 21st birthday quite some time ago. Suddenly I’m nostalgic. I really loved their broccoli bites.

  32. Diet-Orange-Soda says:

    Bennigans has been on my do-not-eat list for a while. Just another chain restaurant with the same menu, except now everything is fried. Hopefully this will just push my coworkers toward actually trying something new sometime.

  33. quail says:

    @testsicles: Hauling out the food and liquor and the craptastic stuff on the walls is one thing. Taking fixtures is another. Those fixtures belong to the landlord who’s totally ‘flaired’ right about now. Please be kind.

  34. RabbitDinner says:

    My least favorite place to get precooked crap. They won’t be missed, not as long as I have my Flannigan’s, TGI Friday’s, Applebee’s, and Chili’s.

  35. MBZ321 says:

    I’m surprised so many people on here love Bennigan’s…I have nothing but complaints from scowering the web about slow service and bad food. I haven’t eaten in one in 10 years (not because I thought it was terrible, just out of my way)

  36. picardia says:

    Was that the place with the honey-butter croissants? Years ago (15 years, seriously), a friend and I ordered those, and somehow the order got mixed up and kept getting refilled, over and over. We had never eaten there before and honestly thought it was some kind of bottomless honey-butter croissant basket or something. Those were good. We went back a few times, hoping it would happen again, but no such luck.

    The honey-butter croissants are the only things I miss now that I have mostly given up chain restaurants.

  37. strife1012 says:

    That was fast, the Website is Gone too: [www.bennigans.com]

  38. alice_bunnie says:

    Monte Cristo, where will I get you now???? I could only get you in Florida, and now never again. Well, except for that place in St. Thomas that had one like it, but that’s an expensive trip for a good sandwich.

  39. picardia says:

    Wait, no, I think that was a Rafferty’s. Who can tell them apart? The only chain restaurant that really stands out to me is Applebee’s, and that’s because I waited tables there and know that it is, in fact, the door to the underworld and to be avoided at ALL costs. The others I visit very rarely, but are okay for “any port in a storm” emergencies.

  40. RabbitDinner says:

    Other than the bar and decor,Bennigan’s and Friday’s are like a glorified McDonald’s with table service. At least Friday’s changes its menu often. The new stuff by Guy Fieri from the Food Network is pretty damn tasty

  41. Snarkysnake says:

    Last went into Bennies when on vacation in St. Pete Beach. Ugh. If swallowed,do not induce vomiting,call physician immediately. I haven’t had a worse meal since I was a 20 year old bachelor (and made it meself). I left half and got out of there quick.Good God,I believe they deep fried the iced tea. All in all,no loss here…

  42. @alice_bunnie: @allnitecp: Rest In Peace, ham donut.

  43. RabbitDinner says:

    @Snarkysnake: I don’t know what’s wrong with you, but I love a cold burger, soggy fries, and dirty silverware. In all fairness though, that’s bad management not bad food, but still, every single time.

  44. alice_bunnie says:

    @allnitecp:
    OMG!!! Where-oh-where will I ever get my Monte Cristo fix again!!! ARGH!!

    There’s a bar in St. Thomas, USVI that makes a very good one. :p They’re right near the port. Not one of those grilled french toast sandwiches, but they didn’t have the raspberry jelly. :(. But, you’d have to really be addicted. I’m sure they’re somewhere else, I just haven’t found them yet.

  45. alice_bunnie says:

    @pr0FF3ss0r_j3rkwh3at’s lost baseball season:

    I almost shot Diet Coke out my nose. :p I’ll have to remember that!

  46. BloggyMcBlogBlog says:

    I once had a girlfriend whose favorite restaurant was Bennigan’s. No, we’re still not together.

  47. MonkeyMonk says:

    I used to eat at Bennigan’s a lot in college until I graduated and figured out that Bennigan’s was nasty. There was a Bennigan’s on Michigan Ave. in Chicago that I went to once and it was seriously the dirtiest chain restaurant I had even eaten at.

    I’m not shedding a tear although it sucks if you worked there.

  48. pixiegirl1 says:

    I have to agree with those who are surprised that so many people liked them I never liked their food. That really sucks for the employees as if they don’t get screwed enough with their $3 a hour pay but I guess in retrospect maybe it’s better they get most of their wages in tips.

  49. thewriteguy says:

    @RabbitDinner:

    I wonder if one or two of the other major chains will shut down by year’s end. The market for these major chain theme restaurants is saturated, and most Americans don’t exactly have the income to spend eating out at these mediocre restaurants.

  50. Sherryness says:

    I usually don’t like places like this, but their Monte Cristo sandwich was the best.

  51. wattznext says:

    @AaronZ: I don;t know about your state laws, but in NJ, where i worked as a waiter, minimum wage for waiters was 2.15/hr. usually, the tax on your CC tips ate up all the hourly wages anyway. I got many $0.00 check from my waiting jobs.
    the cooks are most likely illegal, and won’t come forward for money.
    The managers are screwed too, but they were screwed anyway, working 50+ hour weeks and barely making above a base entry level salary…

  52. ophmarketing says:

    And it’s official: The ’80s are now finally over.

  53. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    Bennigan’s Files For Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, Closes Restaurants Nationwide

    Greasy, crappy food… surly, lying waiters… abusive employee culture… can’t-be-bothered corporate attitude… nonexistent customer service… outdated menu… Don’t let the door hit you on the @$$ on the way out. Bennigan’s.

  54. thewriteguy says:

    @ophmarketing:

    Hell, this and the closing of 600 Starbuckses could be a sign of more to come — the end of The ’90s.

  55. Khaotix says:

    @AaronZ:

    Yep :D

    If I heard that news I’d show up with a few boxes and cart out the entire contents of the bar. I imagine a commercial grade blender and a ton of booze would ease the pain of a lost paycheck a bit.

    It’s pretty scummy of companies to shut down and not pay out their workers though … If they are liquidating all their assets the first thing they should deal with is reconciling their payroll.

  56. Khaotix says:

    @speedwell:

    This. A lot. Not sad to see them go by any means. Nice part about living in Boston is that crappy chains are more or less non-existent inside the city. Plenty of good locally owned places to go with fresh food that doesn’t taste like cardboard.

  57. britne says:

    @strife1012: uhh, website is still up and has no mention of the closings. looks like all is normal.

  58. TracyHamandEggs says:

    @backbroken: Still there (well till today I guess), but even though I can walk there I havent been in forever. When Columbia’s restaurant stable starting really growing a decade or so ago they kinda fell by the wayside. I think half their business was from the hotel..

  59. boshaus says:

    Personally, I will miss their death by chocolate desert… mmm that was heaven.

  60. Diet-Orange-Soda says:

    @TracyHamandEggs9 is the bitchiest banana: That’s about the only thing chain restaurants are good for, when you’re on the road and don’t want to risk dysentery from a local greasy spoon. Even then, I’d rather frequent a McD’s or Burger King.

  61. cmdrsass says:

    Bennigans, Chilis, TGI Fridays, Applebees, Unos, Fuddruckers. These are all effectively the same restaurant folks. We could do with a lot less of them.

  62. thewriteguy says:

    @Khaotix:

    Man, I really don’t mean to be a negative Nancy here, folks, but from what I’ve heard (through friends who work the restaurant biz) is that everybody is getting squeezed by the fuel prices through the suppliers.

    Imagine you are in a colony on another planet. A supply ship comes twice a month. But then rocket fuel prices go up dramatically, and the supply ship company can only come once a month now. That’s what is happening across the nation with the restaurant business in regards to the companies that supply them — fuel prices for the delivery trucks are cutting back their delivery schedules.

    The major chain restaurants may be better situated to figure ways to get through this, but the indie owned restaurants are having a difficult time now, as the rising costs of supply deliveries hits them hardest — they can’t just “spread the costs out” across several restaurants nationwide. A friend of mine who owns a successful restaurant told me he predicts 1 out of every 3 independently owned restaurants will have to close by the end of the year. I thought that was dire, and I’ve never known him to be that dire about his business.

    I know of Starbuckses and independent coffeehouses that run out of certain ingredients which they cannot get quickly re-supplied for.

  63. JanetCarol says:

    They owe my company money – I just found out when we called the Springfield, VA location this morning.
    Thanks a lot jerks.

  64. bohemian says:

    Bennigan’s here in my corner of hell went out about a year ago. The service the first time we were there was so bad I didn’t tip, I can’t remember the last time I did that ever because service sucked.

    The second time we went there, hoping the first was a fluke we finally walked out after being seated for 20 minutes and never being waited on at all and there were only two other tables occupied in the entire place.

    Good riddance.

  65. SigmundTheSeaMonster says:

    Wow, all those chachkees and brass poles! SOLD!

  66. Oh noessss no more Monte Cristoooooooooooooooooooo.

  67. poetry1mind says:

    Oh gee,
    Bennigans is the only place I can afford to eat and drink. I hope this doesn’t affect our location.

  68. Gopher bond says:

    @quail: “Hauling out the food and liquor and the craptastic stuff on the walls is one thing. Taking fixtures is another. Those fixtures belong to the landlord who’s totally ‘flaired’ right about now. Please be kind. “

    Well, that’s something Mr. Landlord will need to workout with Sir Corporate Bennigan’s. That oak bar is awesome and I think looting is cool.

  69. trogam says:

    @hexychick: Its now replaced by Cheese Cake Factory…that was one place that was just…consistent. Bennigans, not Cheese Cake Factory…

  70. RandomHookup says:

    ***Runs to eBay to sell Bennigan’s gift cards***

  71. joellevand says:

    @britne: Go to the store locators. Every state, even ones listed as having a Bennigans, lists no locations.

    Also….

    Happy happy anniversary from everyone at Bennigans. Happy happy anniversary from everyone at Bennigans!

  72. sprocket79 says:

    But… but… my Turkey O’Toole!!! Noooooooooooooooooo!!!!!! Whatever will I do? Now I won’t get a free meal from them on my birthday! Oh the humanity!!!!!!!

  73. mhguy703 says:

    I will miss the Turkey O’Toole sandwich on the pretzel bun goodness! Interestingly enough I received a coupon via email two days ago for 1/2 lb hamburger from Bennigans. RIP Bennigans.

  74. woodenturkey says:

    @pixiegirl1:

    yea but the cooks and dishwasher etc. get paid by the hour

  75. sashazur says:

    I predict that if more of these chains go belly-up (not a bad thing except for employees), the ones that are left will become even more generic. That’s the only way they’ll be able to entice new customers to come in the door – most people are afraid to try anything new.

    The best/worst example of this is the chain restaurants in the middle of Times Square in New York – here you are, in the restaurant capital of the world, and you want to eat at Olive Garden???!!!

  76. organicgardener says:

    Oh shoot, now where will my coworkers and I go for happy hour in 1995?

  77. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @SigmundTheSeaMonster: Points for vocabulary… it’s “tchotchkes,” by the way. I hate like hell when I use a word wrong, so this is not a flame, it’s an attempt to help out. :)

  78. CumaeanSibyl says:

    Hmph. If I’d had to guess which chain-with-crazy-crap-on-the-walls would go under first, I would’ve picked Applebee’s.

  79. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    I believe in property rights with all my soul, by the way… and my take on looting the place on your way out is this: Folks, don’t take any more than your most honest estimate of your last paycheck plus two weeks worth of earnings as severance.

  80. dwarf74 says:

    My wife and I ate there quite a bit when they had a $5 lunch deal. Seriously, $5 for a meal, plus drink. The Turkey O’Toole was delicious.

    I used to love Monte Cristos, but I could quite seriously feel my arteries hardening as I ate it. :) They’re not as good as I remember, and I will not miss them.

    It’s funny – we went there this past Thursday for lunch, had a disappointing meal, and more or less said, “I don’t think we’ll be coming back here.”

    Coincidence? Prophecy? You be the judge!

  81. Bix says:

    For family fun and great food, too, come on down to… Bennigan’s

    Buffalo wings and partridge scones, plus cru found at… Bennigan’s

    So come and eat at…

    Bennigan’s.

    You’ll love all our…

    Shenanigans

  82. Javert says:

    Noooo…my Monte Cristo…no one took a ham, turkey and cheese sandwich and deepfried it like Bennys!!! And then served it with jelly. And a diet coke.

    And what about my world beer tour? I was close to my copper mug? Ahhhhh.

  83. hellinmyeyes says:

    I liked Benningan’s food. Sure, there was a LOT of fried crap on there, but I did manage to find something semi-healthy when I went there with friends. The best part was the drink specials, not too bad. The one here in Tallahassee closed down well over a year ago. The place was filthy, and the service always was so poor. I figured it was just the local management, and I was not surprised to see it go. I wonder if maybe this wasn’t more a corporate slacking management issue. I’m not so certain the current economy is to blame so much. As the article on CBS2 stated, they were already in muddy water with their borrowing.

  84. AaronZ says:

    @RandomHookup: “Runs to eBay to sell Bennigan’s gift cards.”

    I’m thinking if you lived in a location where one of these “Franchise” Bennigan’s was still open, you could make a killing in gift cards!
    Buy up all the defunct cards on ebay and treat the whole bar to drinks all night!

  85. stacye says:

    I prefer Grizzlebee’s. COWABUNGA!

  86. AaronZ says:

    PS, I’ll trade you 2 Sharper Image gift cards for your Bennigan’s gift card and a vitamin water.

    :p

  87. arthurat says:

    I’m glad I used my gift card… They are worthless now.

  88. kimdog says:

    Makes me a little sad. When I was a kid, and my mom was a struggling single parent, she took me to Bennigan’s for my 12th birthday. It was just me and her, and it was the first time I had ever been to a “fancy” restaurant (this was the early 80′s in rural east TN). That memory is very bitter sweet (especially now that I live in NYC, and have eaten at truly great restaurants).

  89. Eryk says:

    @strife1012:

    Website seems to work for me. Funny enough, the website front page suggests that I should “Give the gift of a gift card today.”

    Something tells me that I probably could still order one too – but I won’t be testing it out.

  90. palookapalooza says:

    According to Yahoo/AP, Steak & Ale restaurants are closing as well…

  91. Angryrider says:

    I thought the South Park bump was good enough to keep it afloat.
    [www.southparkstudios.com]

  92. SigmundTheSeaMonster says:

    @speedwell: LOL! I was going to spell it Chachi’s! Thanks! :)

  93. Birki says:

    A nearby Bennigans attached to a hotel closed a few months ago. I wondered what happened to it. It had been a long time since I’d eaten there- we called it the “faux Irish” place what with the Guinness wings and Irish Ale Queso.

  94. SacraBos says:

    @Eryk: Web site kinda works for me. Really slow, probably getting hammered as the news is getting out.

    With the current market, people are eating in a little more, costs are up some, and it’s just making it a more competitive market. And TGIF, Bennigans, Applebees, et. al. are virtually all alike making it difficult for them to differentiate themselves. Bennigans is the first to fall, and there will be at least one more I think.

    Then we can start getting new types/styles of eating establishments so they are not all the same.

  95. xthexlanternx says:

    “Farva, what’s that restaurant you love with all the crazy shit on the walls?”

  96. Dave on bass says:

    @pr0FF3ss0r_j3rkwh3at’s lost baseball season: Hey Jerkwheat – if they’re all going down, then that means Springfield and 7 Corners too, BUT if you find that either is still open, let us know – I shall have a ham donut appointment to make.

  97. CumaeanSibyl says:

    @xthexlanternx: “You mean Shenanigans?”

  98. Ilikenumbers says:

    @Backbroken + TracyHamandEggs

    Nope, definately NOT there off of Snowden River Pkwy and near 100. Closed nearly 7 months ago. There was some random shooting a year and a half ago (asian suburbanite drug dealers, i kid you not) and business was slow since then. It is now a weird artsy upscale type place.

    It doesn’t take long for the “Good, the food was unhealthy wah wah wah” crowd to come out. Remember, consumers have more choices about where to spend their money than most restaurant employees. No restaurants = no jobs.

  99. SwatLax says:

    @backbroken: @TracyHamandEggs9 is the bitchiest banana: Actually, the Bennigan’s on Snowden River in Columbia MD has been closed for over year. The building sat vacant for some time before someone else renovated the space for another restaurant.

  100. SeanOHara says:

    I wonder what their pay cycle is — did the employees lose three days pay, or twelve?

    If I were an evil corporate monkey, I’d time the shut down for the day before we had to cut the checks, that way we’d keep earning money but not have to pay anyone for their efforts.

  101. SwatLax says:

    @Ilikenumbers: Interesting to note how many Gawker commenters are in the area. I thought it had been longer since they closed, but I’ll go with your numbers.

  102. Ilikenumbers says:

    The more that I think about it, it is interesting that of all of the places in this niche, Bennigan’s filed Chapter 7, rather than 13. How telling is it that rather than reorganize, the powers that be said, “aw, fuck it”?

    Friday’s did the whole reinvention thing in mid-2003 if I recall, and by reinventing the brand, they managed to get out ahead of some of the backlash that clearly Bennigan’s couldn’t.

  103. modenastradale says:

    Isn’t Bennigan’s the restaurant chain that served up a grilled turkey and cheese sandwich, battered and deep-fried, and then topped with powdered sugar and raspberry jam?

    I can’t imagine why they were having difficulty.

  104. abundesen says:

    “Bennigans will not be open today” <— sign on door in Melbourne FL location

  105. Dave on bass says:

    @TracyHamandEggs9 is the bitchiest banana: unrelated to the article, but wanted to let you know that I’m a follower now based on your “bitchiest banana” handle. Shawn Spencer for the comedy win. That is all.

    Oh, and yes, I want to get my Monte Cristo on, regardless that it always makes me feel like I’m about to die when i finish one.

  106. CaptainConsumer says:

    If I were a manager there on the last day and told ‘no job no check’ I’d leave the building wide open, throw the keys into a swamp somewhere, walk out and call it even

  107. RabbitDinner says:

    Basically a fast food restaurant with table service and a bar. I’m content to have lunch at Friday’s because they actually have some variety and change the menu often. But to pay for a frozen meal and have to tip on top of that-man, no thanks, I’ll take Burger King or save for a nicer place.

  108. HogwartsAlum says:

    I’ve never eaten at Bennigan’s. We don’t have one here. We do have Chili’s, TGI Fridays, Garfield’s (used to), Macaroni Grill (recently added), and supposedly getting a Houlihan’s in the giant hotel four blocks from me.

    There’s a SpongeBob episode that is a spoof of these restaurants. A chain called “Crabby O’Mondays” takes over the Krusty Krab and serves Krabby Patties made out of some extruded gray reconstituted cardboard stuff. They put crap all over the walls and Squidward had to smile and sing to the customers. I laughed myself sick. :)

  109. Wdeal says:

    Score one for the Vegans !!!

  110. drjayphd says:

    @MyPetFly: Nope, they’ve gotta fulfill the prophecy laid down in Idiocracy.

  111. synergy says:

    Their poor employees.

    I’m not surprised, though. Two times my husband and I have gone there in the last, oh, 3 or 4 years and both times service was atrocious. After the second time we swore never to enter a Bennigan’s again unless it was the only thing open for 50 miles.

  112. drjayphd says:

    @joellevand: Yeah, tried that and decided it was just easier to use the Google. Already plotting my raid of the CT locations… ;)

  113. backbroken says:

    @SwatLax: @Ilikenumbers:
    I haven’t lived in Columbia for 8 years (my gawd has it really been 8 years???) and I left the area completely 5 years ago. So it’s been probably a decade since I ate there. The Columbia I knew wasn’t quite so built up on the Snowden corrider and the little Waterfront area was just…um…a little Waterfront area.

    Still, I miss the town.

  114. backbroken says:

    @backbroken: In related news, I just made myself feel really old. Thanks a lot Bennigans!!!!

  115. Loved the Turkey O’Toole and Monte Cristo. Loved the Wheelhouse back when they still had it. Even the Guinness stuff was pretty decent (although not as good as Friday’s Jack Daniels items). But service was usually AWFUL. Bennigan’s is the only restaurant I’ve ever walked out of without paying (and the manager was well aware we were doing it). If the restaurant is empty and the wait staff are all putzing around chatting with the bartender, it shouldn’t take 30 minutes to get drinks, an hour to get (the wrong) food, etc.

    Maybe I’ll have to try out a Monte Cristo at a diner around here, see if it’s any good.

  116. BloggyMcBlogBlog says:

    TGI Fridays, Owned by Carlson (37 Billion in revenue last year): Probably safe
    Applebees, Owned by IHOP(!), made 101 million in net income in ’05: Probably safe
    Chili’s, Owned by Brinker International(which also owns On the Border, Maggiano’s and Macaroni Grill with net income of 230 million in ’05): probably safe

  117. Jimmy M says:

    First IndyMac, now this?

    What a world.

  118. Ilikenumbers says:

    @Bloggy

    Great finds…just checked Darden (OG, Red Lobster, Bahama Breeze) and they’re trading up at 32+ a share…they’re probably safe too…

  119. TechnoDestructo says:

    I guess the Star Wars historians will have to find someplace else to debate.

  120. StockBroker says:

    Bennigan’s lost is appeal a LONG time ago. The quality of their food has been on the decline, and they were not keeping up with changing consumer trends.

    I echo the comments from other posters who are saying we have too many of these casual restaurants. The market is oversaturated with them and there is no clear point of difference between them.

    I expect to see more chains to implode.

    Darwinism at its finest!

  121. Ilikenumbers says:

    @Back

    Think things have changed? Just wait until the NEW development comes. An “improved” MPP, but new high-rise apartments.

  122. RandomHookup says:

    @AaronZ: True, but then you find out they decide not to honor them because there’s no corporate piggy bank to reimburse them from.

  123. Mr. B says:

    This is a shame, especially for the workers. The Bennigan’s near me is a local franchise and will remain open. I’ve been there a few times and enjoyed it. It’s pretty decent as far as chains go.

  124. MoCo says:

    Might as well contact your credit card company and contest the charges for any meals that you had at Bennigan’s during the past 60 days. Their won’t be anyone at Bennigan’s to respond to the credit card companies, so it’s free meal time!

  125. BeastMD says:

    The last meal I had there came, after ordering 1 hour earlier, ice cold and looked like someone stepped on it. I called the manager over and he gave me no love at all, just “Oops, sorry”. I told him to shove the food up his *bleep* and left, left in front of a bunch of people. Never went there again, it closed for good about a month later. I heard they were having some kind of employee revolt.

  126. joel. says:

    Kind of sucks. They had batter-dipped deep-fried Monte Cristos… I’m sure they lead to heart attacks and cancer, but they were SO good. I’ll miss Bennigan’s… this should’ve been Applebees.

  127. lingum says:

    I first read this as “Bennington’s.”

    Oh well ….Ron and Fez, noon to 3 XM202

  128. diablodevil2 says:

    Hm. And here I thought that was just a fake restaurant in South Park. Honestly never heard of it before.

  129. There’s a Hooligan’s near that 255 N. Michigan Ave Bennigan’s they mention on the article. I always had trouble figuring out which franchise was which.

  130. quagmire0 says:

    I’ll miss the Turkey O’Toole, but good riddance. The one by my house (Bolingbrook, IL) had THE worst service of any restaurant I’ve been to, by far. They had kids running the place and no adult managers to be found. So, what that meant, is that you could have a half empty restaurant and it would still take you 30 minutes to an hour to get a seat.

    Of course, knowing my luck that Bolingbrook location is independently owned. :D

  131. RabbitDinner says:

    Although, I have to say, I don’t like how serious Friday’s has gotten. Its time they brought back the striped shirts, suspenders, and pieces of flair. I had lunch there the other day, and to my chagrin I found that only a small section of the wall was covered in tchotchkes/memoribilia, etc. Wtf. They’re becoming way too serious with their image

  132. Ooops. I meant Houlihan’s. Sorry. I’m still confused.

  133. JustinAche says:

    The two bennigans near me in Jax have been closed for months. They were shitholes too, always crappy service. The one in Orlando was great, ok service, but great food.

  134. TVGenius says:

    I seriously thought the company went out of business years ago. I’ve not come across an open Bennigan’s in at least the last 9 years… in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen one that hadn’t gone out of business already… huh…

  135. FlashIV says:

    @allnitecp: A little piece of me died inside.

  136. weave says:

    I’ll miss Steak-n-Ale. Of all the similarly-priced steak places, that one was quiet. I could at least have a pleasant conversation with my dinner guest there. The rest of the steak places (Outback, Lonestar, etc) are just way too loud.

  137. centraal says:

    For what it’s worth, Bennigan’s ads are still running on South Korean television. Probably a long way for most of you to travel for a Monte Cristo, but come on over if you like.

  138. There’s a Bennigan’s a few doors down from the hotel I’m staying in now. I just stopped there on my way back from dinner (at a local joint called The 621 Diner, which I’ll recommend to anybody looking for a greasy spoon in Lombard, IL). Closed without even a note on the front door. It’s like their manager didn’t even bother coming in.

    And the 621 Diner has a Monte Cristo on the menu, by the way.

  139. radiochief says:

    Meanwhile, in related news…

    Stomachs Across America Rejoice!

  140. backbroken says:

    @Ilikenumbers: Yeah, seems like they are getting farther and farther away from the original Columbia vision.

  141. SisterHavana says:

    @quagmire0: I’m in Bolingbrook too. : )

    From the Sun-Times: A sign at the Bennigan’s at 145 S. Weber Road in the Country Aire Plaza in Bolingbrook read, “I regret to inform you that Benningan’s is no longer part of your community,” one Sun-Times reader reported.” Another note on the door said:

    “To all our employees: I must say this is the hardest thing we have ever had to do. It’s not only a job we are losing but a family we have here is not replaceable. Thank you for all the hard work, total dedication and commitment to making this place amazing. Love, Jen, Ronda and Jonathon.”

    I did read that one Bennigans manager let his employees in to take whatever they wanted: tchotchkes, food, liquor, etc. I’m sure that wasn’t the only one who did.

  142. mrblahh says:

    Years ago we went to a bennigans after the Chicago south side irish parade. Guinness was on the menu with a price of ‘market price’. That was odd since there isnt really a market on beer prices but whatever, but how bad could it be I thought. 2 pints cost me about 20 bucks. Last time I went back and Im not sad to see them go.

    Oh and looking back I can see how lame it was going to a fake irish joint like this after the parade…i dont need to be reminded :P

  143. Nic715 says:

    This actually makes me sad…of all the serving jobs I had through college with a number of the chains…Benny’s was definitely the best. It was the ONLY job I ever had in college that I didn’t DREAD going to after the first few weeks and the only serving job I ever had where I’d actually be willing to skip class to go to work if any of my coworkers ever called me to cover a shift.

    Maybe it was my coworkers…maybe it was the fact that in my particular location (Latham, NY…suburb of Albany) every manager I had at the time had worked their way up from Host/Server and had worked virtually every position in the restaurant before becoming a manager, thus they REALLY AND TRULY understood our jobs and were conscious of our needs as employees…thus allowed us to eat our free shift meals on the clock, provided our sections were empty or that the server in a neighboring section was able to cover ours without neglecting their own and we even had our own back booth to sit in during our down time…even though that hardly happened because we were ALWAYS packed…it wasn’t like the managers I had at Applebee’s with the “if you have time to lean you have time to clean” mentality…our restaurant was always clean and they understood that we’d spend upwards of 12 hours on our feet each day and sometimes we just needed to SIT.

    Also…I made pretty good money at Benny’s, there were some weeks I’d bring home more there than I make now at my full time career …not always, but still. For a chain I’d say we did well.

    *RIP BENNYS*

  144. samisalsa says:

    I work at a Bennigan’s – a franchise that is supposedly not closing. Will probably start looking for another job soon!

    The thing that sucks most is hearing about how horrible all the other Bennigan’s are – mine is less than two years old, most of the employees give a crap, and we clean the hell out of the place. Sorry to hear that some other locations have ruined it for everyone else.

  145. TACP says:

    I went to one about 10 years ago. Bad food, crappy service, and it took forever. It closed 6 months later. IMHO, Ruby Tuesday is next.

  146. theblackdog says:

    Now I’ll have to check the bennigans by my house. Too bad though, I liked the burgers they served in the pita bread.

  147. anyanka323 says:

    I feel bad for their employees and wish them the best of luck.

    I’ve had mixed experiences at Bennigans. The one in Champaign, IL which was open a little over a year was consistently understaffed, but the staff seemed enthusiastic there. I ate at the one on Michigan Ave across from the Art Institute fairly frequently during visits to Chicago and thought the food was better there than at some of their other locations.

    The last time I was in was on St. Patrick’s Day weekend. The special menu was overpriced and limited. I know it’s a chain, but the beer selection was worse than usual. After waiting in line for 30+ minutes, we went to a local place with a better menu and beer selection.

  148. thewriteguy says:

    @napalmlove:

    From what I’m reading here, it seems the best Bennigan’s are the franchised ones. Perhaps the chain could live on as a franchise-only restaurant.

    It will be interesting to see if there is a follow-up to this news. Maybe the surviving franchised restaurants will all band together and figure a way to share the costs of nationwide advertising and supply deliveries.

  149. BMRFILE says:

    That’s a shame. I used to go to Bennigan’s quite frequently in college, for it was a good place to meet up with friends, grab a bite, and if you happen to go there during happy hour, the beer was cheap. But I went to a Bennigan’s two years ago and the food was nasty, full of salt and grease. The decor didn’t change from what they had back in the early 90′s.

  150. iboost79 says:

    I hated this restaurant. I’m sure the one near my place is closed. Can anyone confirm? Springfield, VA location

  151. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    The one in Orange Park, FL has been closed for over a year now.

  152. boxjockey68 says:

    @jamesdenver: This surprises me as well….who knew??!

  153. backbroken says:

    @mrblahh: Unless you are in Ireland, aren’t they all just ‘fake’ Irish joints?

  154. redqueenmeg says:

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, I need my Monte Cristo!

    *flails*

  155. MMD says:

    I was walking down Michigan Avenue last night and was surprised to see that the Bennigans was closed. Next to the computer-generated “Sorry, We’re Closed” signs was a hand-written note that said a nearby restaurant was hiring.

    I figured the closure was temporary, maybe due to a kitchen fire or busted pipe, because most of the lights were still on. Guess not.

  156. FLConsumer says:

    @backbroken: Any of the chains are… Does anyone here remember McHale’s bar over on 46th & 8th? That was what all of these fake “Irish” chains aspired to be but never came close.

    Actually, I’m sad to see Bennigan’s go. It’s one of the few restaurants that’s open in Tampa/St. Pete and still serving food after 10pm. With that gone, the options are down to 7-11, McDonald’s, Steak & Shake, IHOP, and Sonic. Note the lack of alcohol. Granted, it’s not great food, but is more edible than the other choices.

    I’m surprised Ruby Tuesday hasn’t gone out. Since the decor/menu overhaul, it’s like they’re trying to be a hip restaurant that really isn’t. Terribly overpriced and staff which is probably better suited for working fast food.

  157. mariospants says:

    Recipe for the Monte Cristo for those mourning: [southernfood.about.com]

  158. backbroken says:

    @FLConsumer: I thought dinner time in the Tampa area was 3-6 anyway.

  159. jjkean2 says:

    @FLConsumer – the one over at Channelside is the only one staying open in the area, according to TBT.

  160. Nic715 says:

    @jjkean2: I was at the Channelside Bennigan’s for a good 5 hours in January after Gasparilla…let me tell you the bartenders put up one helluva fight trying to get my friend and I a cab after our ride had to leave in an emergency…and as I’m sure you’re aware that finding a taxi on Gasaprilla weekend is no small feat! It took them awhile to finally get us one but they never gave up, even though they were unbelievably busy dealing with the post-Gasparilla crowd. Glad to hear they escaped the cut!

  161. Stonecutter says:

    You can’t blame this one on high gas prices. My firm pitched their parent company for legal work about two years ago and they were in trouble back then.

    Plus, has anyone been to a Steak & Ale since 1978?

  162. mrblahh says:

    @backbroken: Thats true but the area that the parade is held in (Beverly) has tons of folks from ireland and tons of bars owned by them so its a little lame going to a chain restaurant when we could have been supporting the little guys.

  163. Haess says:

    “General Manager Mike Heffling said all of the Iowa restaurants are owned by Kinseth Hospitality Companies and will not close. “

    So the ones in Iowa are safe… Lovely..

    Last time my girl and I were in there, there were hairs in the appetizers.. Didn’t stick around to see the main course… yech

  164. joel. says:

    @mariospants: Not the same thing! Bennigan’s were BATTER DIPPED. who does that?!?! so good. I am depressed again.

  165. Wubbytoes says:

    Wow, I never got the chance to experience Bennigan’s

  166. AmericaTheBrave says:

    It looks like the rest of the chain has officially followed suit. Too bad, I liked that place, and a bunch of the Chicago area restaurants were franchisees who were trying to stay open. If you go to their main website you get an error message.

    [www.bennigans.com]