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Bennigan's franchisees on their own

Posted by: John Tozzi on July 30, 2008

Bennigan’s is out of business — sort of. The restaurant chain, along with the associated Steak and Ale chain, filed Chapter 7 liquidation yesterday, WSJ reports. But while 200 corporate-owned stores shut down, 138 Bennigan’s franchisees will remain open, the Journal says. So what happens to a franchise when the franchisor goes under?

Some Bennigan's franchisees actually see the liquidation as a good thing, according to a report in the Post-Tribune, of northwest Indiana. Larry Briski, the local owner of several Bennigan's who also runs the franchisee association, tells the paper that a firm in Atlanta will buy Bennigan's name and continue the franchise operation. Briski says he expects better marketing and branding, calling the change "a very good thing for the franchisees."

The owners will need every bit of support they can get. The Journal details why times are rough for casual dining restaurants:

High ingredient and labor costs are eating into profits, and several years of rapid expansion by bar and grill chains has left a glut of locations in the market. Pressures such as high gasoline prices and dwindling home values have prompted consumers to eat out less often or switch to cheaper fast-food meals.

Reader Comments


July 30, 2008 04:43 PM

I'm not really understanding how the franchises can stay open when the company as a whole has gone under. I worked at a Bennigan's in Florham Park, NJ for the past 3 months, and yesterday I was told that I didn't have a job anymore. Do I seriously have to drive to Indiana to get my job back???? This is just a huge example of irresponsibility and unnecessary waste, that put a lot of people out of work yesterday. Metromedia BETTER have some money set aside for my unemployment benefits!

Professional Resume Writer

July 30, 2008 05:09 PM

Unemployment benefits are paid by the state. (Yes, the employer pays into the unemployment insurance fund, but your payments will come from the state. Go file with your local Workforce Development office and get on your way to getting a new job...


July 30, 2008 06:13 PM

I've worked at Bennigan's for years and have seen the slide of customers for quite some time. Disregarding a reluctance to adapt to current trends, the food has been microwaved removing all quality, the service has seen a desent upon average, and the cleanliness poor. Who wants to spend money at Bennigan's when many other establishments provide practically the same menu at a much better value. These restaurants didn't close because of the economy, they closed because management became content with less then their best.


July 30, 2008 09:02 PM

Is anyone surprised by this? Average food and sub par cleanliness is a bad formula.

Coyote Bartender

July 30, 2008 10:42 PM

personally i never understood how they ever made money, when the bennigan's opened near my home nobody went there, and they were located right next to the major movie theatre. The food was so bad everyone either drove to other shopping centers, or settled for BW3's. Then they tried to advertise as a bar, which didn't help because thier drinks were horrible. All in all, good riddance.


July 31, 2008 12:42 AM

Anytime you walked into a Bennigan's, you could just tell no one at the top cared. I'll bet the head honchos didn't even dine there. Dated inside and out. And it sounds like they are jsut throwing in the towel, which seems fitting given the lack of a quality experience they had in the marketplace.


July 31, 2008 02:21 AM

I was appalled at the way Metromedia Corp. is treating its employees. It brought back memories, not very plesant ones,of how I was lay off myself about 20 years ago. I've since then worked as a Financial advisor helping people deal with just such a thing.

But how do I contact those employees so I can be a source of help to those who are wondering how they can transfer their health/disability benefits and retirement plans so they don't lose those precious benefits, not to mention giving them resource information on what they can do to get themselves back on their feet. My email is if anyone have questions they like to ask Dave.


July 31, 2008 07:38 AM

Why not own your own franchise and stop letting someone else decide your financial future? Be in business for yourself and learn from the best. Visit and click on "Opportunity"


July 31, 2008 07:41 AM

Why not own your own franchise and be in business for yourself? Visit and click on "Contact Us" to learn more


July 31, 2008 08:42 AM

The franchise locations have always been better run and were much cleaner. The Bennigan's in Montgomeryville, PA is still open and very busy.

The Franchisees are left out in the dark, no one answers their phone calls at corporate headquarters, support people abandoned them. It's another situtation of what's wrong with society, some people only help when there is something in it for them.


July 31, 2008 12:15 PM

It was the same old bland, crappy chain food that litters this country. Except Bennigan's went one further by having their entire restaurants (not just the bar) smell of cigarettes. Who would want to bother? The only good thing about them was that they had Guinness on tap.


July 31, 2008 01:31 PM

My friend worked at the resturant in Ill. on Torrence Ave and the manager was so pissed off witht the campany he told everyone to take what the wanted and the took everything I mean they cleaned the place out.


July 31, 2008 04:39 PM

This is a case of "franchise buyer beware"! You buy a franchise because the corporation promises to help you succeed. You sign a contract in which the corporation promises to do certain things for the franchisee in exchange for a cut of his profits. Before you buy a franchise, look at a sampling of restaurants in the chain (you select the sample, not the parent co.). Talk to the managers, staff, and customers. If you don't like what you see, run!


August 1, 2008 05:01 PM



August 6, 2008 11:54 PM

It is my understanding that employees, at least rank n file, are first in line to be paid in a company Chapter 7. You should expect a delay in this payment though, since the Bankruptcy court must approve all cash disbursements.
Bennigans certainly has some money still to come in, ie. credit card transactions are typiclly delayed, and they will have assets to sell. I don; know if Bennigans owns any of the land their restaurants are on, or if they lease primarily, but if they do, that would be a source of revenue to pay employees due wages.

Roger Finnigan

August 8, 2008 01:39 PM

7 or 8 years ago I was contacted thru my web site by someone from Metromedia Corporate. I met with them at a location in Orlando as they wanted to discuss what changes would be needed to convert the stores to authentic Irish pubs. I advised them to redesign interiors and exteriors, change their menu and improve the quality of the food and that they needed to raise their service standards. I wish they would have listened and accepted my proposal back then. If there are any franchisees out there who would like to discuss a converrsion I can be reached at

I hope all of the staff members find jobs quickly.

Chris N

August 11, 2008 10:58 PM

The corporate management of the S&A company aka Bennigan's were over paid for doing absolutley nothing about this. The owner (John Kluge ) a billionaire, instead of at least paying his employees the last checks they were owed, he gave millions to his hometown college. It just shows that when your in your 90's and are a multi-billionaire you don't need to care about " the little people" ala leona helmsley. All that aside , I can tell you as a former manager , this falls directly on the corporate heads and the retarded lackies they hired to run their field operations. This does not fall upon the hardworking, overworked and now out of work store employees & managers.We did everything possible to make these stores work. So let us remember who is at fault here and stop talking about how it's not a dissapointment these stores closed. For me and about 10,000 of your niehbors are now out of work!!!!!

Anthony R

August 17, 2008 10:34 PM

Well said Chris i wasGM for one of the locations and all but one in my area wastill proforming as a area we had a 57% flow through and if you seen any of the flash reports this could have have easy been a chapter 11 instead of the screw you over move they made they just gave up it was a tax right off for John


January 6, 2009 04:34 PM

I need to know how to get my W2 from Bennigans I worked there last year then moved to pennsilvania the restaurant i worked in in Florham Park closed help


January 13, 2009 10:42 AM

i also worked at bennigans last year and need to know who to call or what to do to get my w2. please help :-)


shenise m

January 17, 2009 03:06 PM

my husband got laid off on michigan ave bennigan's,how do we get his last paycheck and w2's please help


January 23, 2009 02:23 PM

You can call the main number and follow the prompts (972)244-8900; Also you would need to complete Form 4852. If you should have any further questions please contact the IRS. They will be glad to assist you futher.

Stevan Wilson

February 4, 2009 08:27 AM


February 4, 2009 06:09 PM

I also worked at bennigans and have a 3 year old daughter. Bennigans should have to send us the W2s but the Irs should have some record of what we paid them. After getting fired I had no way to pay daycare and went into debt with them. It cost me over 800 dollars that month in daycare alone so I need that W2 to file the tax return to make up for lost money and time. Our bennigans didnt also bounced checks from direct deposit and put many others in the hole with their banks and didnt even look back. I am absolutly disgusted with them and not to mention a week before they close down they decide to change the menu and give us no reason tho think wew should be looking for another job. By the way, who thought of the cash crunch lunch. Thats probably the deal that put them under.


February 5, 2009 11:51 AM

Hi, Here is some information for your W-2. Go to for information. Have a Blessed day!


February 8, 2009 12:06 PM does not have W2 information for Bennigans/Metromedia employees

Mike K.

February 20, 2009 05:57 PM

I worked at the Bennigans in Springfield, NJ. That place was awful. Absolutely awful. It was a fun place to work being 18, the people were friendly and the job wasn't very hard, but I could see shaky management from the start. Bennigans' problem was they hired too many people from within (probably in an attempt to save money). Unfortunately for the managers at the Bennigans I worked at, they were given a run down building, on a property that was hard to see. Since that building was built, a TGI Fridays, Applebees, Red Lobster, Charlie Browns, and Outback Steakhouse have all been built making matters worse. The managers have no resources to improve the buildings.

The corprate handling was the absolute worst part of the situation. They posted a bulleten in the wait station saying "Manditory Staff Meeting Tuesday At 7". I go in for work at 4 that day, and I find the doors locked. I call inside to find out what was up and nobody answered. Some other coworkers showed up outside and it grew increasingly obvious what was going to happen. The regional VP didn't do very much to appease anybody's concerns. He offered no help in any way. It's obvious why Bennigans flopped.

Mike B.

February 21, 2009 01:35 PM

Has anyone got a W2 or does anyone know where who to talk to get info. about W2's from last year. They also owe me two paychecks if anyone could please halp contact me at or call 501-358-8058 Thanks


February 23, 2009 11:37 PM

Seems to be no W2's coming. Check out for more information.

Melissa C.

March 2, 2009 12:37 AM

I called the IRS about Bennigans not giving me a W2. As someone stated before me there is a form that you can fill out with your last pay check stub. Now here comes the catch. The pay check stub you have to use is the last one that you cashed and it actually cleared. I am not sure if there are others of you out there, I am sure there are, that cashed your paychecks in good faith only to have to pay that money back plus fees!! I know that I did, for two of them. All in all Bennigans owes for a month a work and I don't know how to go about getting that money back! Does anyone have any supestions? Help please!!! It seems that working for them actuallt costed me more money than I made! GGGRRRR!!!! There has to be legal ramifications for thier actions, has anyone looked in to a class action suit?


March 3, 2009 09:48 PM

This sucks I have a 1year old and its really bad we had to move outof my house. Becsue I was not makeing any money. It took me a mouth to get a job.I work at the one in humble and it was bad to. If you where not in with the mang.then you would not be there long.but iam mad that we are not geting our w2 they could give us that.

Beverly M.

March 18, 2009 01:58 PM

In May 2006 I was leaving the local Bennigans in Tyler Texas and the handicapped parking area was straight downhill, I fell and shattered two disc
in my back. I have a lawsuit pending, but now it dangles in bankrupt status..I would love to meet Mr John Kluge in person.Oh yea..they were ordered by the City officials to repair the parking never happened.

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What's it like to run your own company today? Entrepreneurs face multiple hurdles new and old, from raising capital and managing employees to keeping up with technology and competing in a global marketplace. In this blog, the Small Business channel's John Tozzi and Nick Leiber discuss the news, trends, and ideas that matter to small business owners. Follow them on Twitter @newentrepreneur.

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