Hope Left For Bennigan’s

Even in the face of a shattering chapter seven bankruptcy, it looks like die-hard fans of Bennigans and Steak and Ale need not give in, entirely, to despair. The Orlando Business Journal reported Monday that two New York financial firms will be taking over management of the chains, and may spare them the wholesale liquidation that seemed almost certain:

Atalaya Capital Management LP and CRG Partners on July 31 told Orlando-based JRJ Restaurants Ltd., which operates two Central Florida Bennigan’s restaurants, about the company’s plans, JRJ Restaurants principal Tyrone Nabbie told Orlando Business Journal.

The firms said they plan to keep the franchise system’s infrastructure intact in the wake of the Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing of the restaurant chain’s parent company, S&A; Restaurant Corp. and its affiliated companies, Nabbie said.

The story broke Friday in Nation’s Restaurant News, where the word, “optimistic” even crept into the copy:

Rick Pastorek, president of BOL Inc. of Baton Rouge, which owns six Bennigan’s in Louisiana and one in Memphis, Tenn., said Atalaya and CRG have had conference calls with franchisees, leaving him optimistic about the brand’s future.

So what does it mean about the state of the nation’s restaurant industry that major financial firms are interested in propping up a failing chain as food prices soar and dining trends go all willy nilly? Well, it could mean that the honchos at the tops of these companies are betting that the brand, and casual dining in general, has a future. It could be a toehold for these firms in an industry that really can’t die, whether they keep the Bennigan’s brand name or not. What we’re not-so-secretly hoping for, however, is that the decision-makers in this deal are taking tips from South Park’s very own Butters. Now there’s an economic adviser worth listening to.

Report: Firms to take over Bennigan’s franchise system [Orlando Business Journal]
Bennigan’s franchise system taken over [Nation’s Restaurant News]
Butters’ Very Own Episode [Wikipedia]

[Image via Uncyclopedia]

Hope Left For Bennigan’s