What is in this article?:
- Benniganâ€™s to open second restaurant with new design
- Boosting bar business
The Florida unit is modeled after an existing location in Fayetteville, Tenn.
Bennigan’s Franchising Co. plans to open a second prototype casual-dining restaurant in Melbourne, Fla., in midsummer modeled after a new unit that opened earlier this year in Fayetteville, Tenn.
Components of the Fayetteville restaurant will also be used in conversions, such as one underway in The Woodlands, Texas, north of Houston, said Paul Mangiamele, president and chief executive of Dallas-based Bennigan’s Franchising, in an interview earlier this month.
“We worked on the investment costs and the return on that investment and a franchise model with compelling unit economics,” said Mangiamele, who took the helm of Bennigan’s in May 2011, of the Fayetteville restaurant.
Bennigan’s Franchising Co. acquired the Bennigan’s brand in 2008 after parent S&A Restaurant Corp., a division of Metromedia Restaurant Group, and affiliated companies filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation and closed about 240 company units. Bennigan’s has done several conversions, but this is the first ground-up unit since 2010.
Bennigan’s currently has 28 units domestically, down from 35 in 2011, and 57 in international markets, for a total of 85 locations.
“In order to move forward, sometimes you have to subtract,” Mangiamele said. “To reposition the brand with the franchisees and the locations that are capable of producing the sales and unit-level profitability, we had to make some hard decisions.
“Some of the locations were in trade areas that had seen the good days already pass them by,” Mangiamele added. In some cases, the franchise agreement and the lease agreement expired.
“I don’t want to be ever guilty of keeping a restaurant open at the expense of a franchisee to post a number,” he said. “That’s short-sighted.”
“A franchisor should always take a look at the bottom 10 percent of the system and either make tremendous efforts to get them up or make tremendous efforts to get them out,” Mangiamele said.
The new Tennessee restaurant was built by franchise owners David and Melissa Hunt, who also own and operate a Hampton Inn hotel nearby.
Mangiamele said the unit draws from a trade area of about 30 miles, reaching into northern Alabama.