On the heels of another phenomenal year of growth in 2012, Bennigan’s Franchising Company is continuing to reinvent itself in the U.S. and on a global scale. The iconic brand announced the signing of five new franchise agreements and plans to develop 20 new restaurants. These newest franchise partners will bring the chain's legendary Irish hospitality to cities throughout Texas, Tennessee, and Florida, joining a franchise team that is also currently expanding the brand internationally in the United Arab Emirates, Cyprus, and Mexico. This explosive growth, along with three domestic openings at the end of 2012 and a recent debut in Dubai, is another example of how Bennigan's has rekindled a 'bleeding green' passion in loyal guests and partners around the world.
“We are honored to team up with so many committed franchisees who believe in our mission and want to grow with us as we continue to revolutionize casual dining," says Paul Mangiamele, Bennigan’s president & CEO. "This intense passion and nostalgia for our brand is what has fueled our return to relevance and shown our guests and franchise partners that the beloved Irish brand they remember is back and better than ever."
New Bennigan's Area Developer Aslam Khan, CEO of Falcon Holdings, is a well-respected businessman in the QSR space with more than 200 Church’s Fried Chicken locations. The Bennigan's corporate team is looking forward to partnering with such a talented and experienced restaurateur to develop five restaurants and expand the brand into Florida and Texas markets. Khan’s first restaurant is expected to open in late 2013 on the site of a former high-volume Bennigan's location in Orlando, Fla.
“Having been a franchisee for several decades, I seek franchisors with a razor-like focus on providing the resources and infrastructure that not only supports their franchisees but also provides a business model capable of producing compelling returns on capital," Khan says. “For me, it's about finding true restaurant operators servicing operators. Falcon Holdings has found this unique formula with the Bennigan’s Franchise model.”
David and Melissa Hunt are also new multi-unit franchise partners joining the Green Dream Team, signing an agreement to develop five Bennigan's restaurants in Tennessee. The first location is expected to open in Fayetteville this summer. The Hunts are long-time residents of Jackson, Tenn., and have owned Hunt Services since 1999. Through that company, they own and operate several foodservice and hotel businesses.
David Hollinger of Hollinger Restaurant Group has signed an agreement to develop three Bennigan's restaurants in the Florida Panhandle. Hollinger has also enjoyed business success in the automotive industry and real estate development, but he started in the restaurant industry and has always had a passion for the service sector.
Mesa Restaurant Holdings, LLC, led by Marisol Gonzales and her husband Allamm Morales, has signed on to bring Bennigan's to Melbourne, Fla. Finally, Paradigm Restaurant Hospitality, LLC, led by Nimit Patel, will open Bennigan’s in the Pampa, Texas, area in late 2013.
"Our newest franchise partners are joining the Bennigan's renaissance at a very exciting time, and we are thrilled to grow our presence in these three states in the years to come," Mangiamele says. "Over the past few months, we have launched new prototype and design options, new menus, a new bar experience and new marketing initiatives that have set our restaurant teams on a path for success and customer loyalty in their communities. Our food, our Irish hospitality and our passion for what we do is delivering results and fueling our continued growth."
Internationally, the brand recently celebrated a grand opening in the United Arab Emirates. Franchise partners Dynamic Hospitality opened their first Dubai location in January and plan to open two more Bennigan’s in the United Arab Emirates this year. One will be in the Dubai Mall, the world’s largest shopping mall, and is expected to open in the first quarter of 2013. The second will be in the Sahara Centre in Sharjah. In Mexico, Bennigan's will be opening two new restaurants in Veracruz with the Consorcio Restaurantero Group. Finally, the AXM Overseas Holdings Group will be adding their fifth Bennigan's in Cyprus later this year.
Now approaching 100 units, Bennigan's experienced extensive domestic and international expansion in 2012, ending the year with three openings in December alone. These included Clarksburg, Md., where the opening of Bennigan's brought the first official casual dining restaurant to that town. Bennigan's restaurants also opened in Jonesboro, Ark., and Fort Worth, Texas.
These new and existing franchisees are benefitting from the chain's comeback, which began in May 2011 and has separated Bennigan's from a sea of sameness. Through careful attention to menu optimization and a streamlined new prototype, the brand has honored its heritage while launching new initiatives that both rekindle emotional connections and affect a dramatic impact on restaurant sales and profits.
Bennigan's Franchising Company plans to continue its growth momentum and has agreements to develop over 30 new restaurants in the next few years in New Jersey, Virginia, Texas, Arkansas, Minnesota, Florida, Tennessee, and Michigan. International openings are slated for Dubai, Mexico, Panama, El Salvador, Cyprus, and U.S. Army Base Camp Humphreys in the Republic of Korea.