Less than two years after being recruited to lead the iconic Bennigan’s brand back to its former glory, president & CEO Paul Mangiamele has been nominated for one of the foodservice industry’s most prestigious awards.
Mangiamele is a candidate for the 2013 Silver Plate Award, presented annually by the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA) in recognition of outstanding industry achievements and commitment to innovation. IFMA has sponsored the awards, long considered the most coveted operator honors in the foodservice industry, for 59 years. Bennigan’s chief executive was nominated by Randy Young of Basic American Foods, one of the company’s supplier partners.
“This nomination is further affirmation that the Bennigan’s brand is not just relevant again, but that our relentless determination to revolutionize the casual-dining experience is taking hold,” says Mangiamele, who has led the chain’s re-emergence from bankruptcy since May 2011. “Our commitment to creating legendary experiences for every guest, every meal, every day has rekindled consumer loyalty and helped our franchise partners achieve exceptional results.”
Mangiamele has instituted a wide range of improvements to Bennigan’s, including giving the brand a new look and feel, improving operational standards and training, optimizing the food and beverage menu, and insisting on flawless execution. Every employee is inspired to “Bleed Green,” which Mangiamele has fostered as part of the new Bennigan’s culture. Bleeding Green is defined as the passion, work ethic, and commitment to delivering unparalleled service not just 24/7 but “25/8!”
The visionary leader is not satisfied with simply reenergizing the Bennigan’s brand. Rather, he speaks of "going above and beyond the call of duty for Bennigan's revered guests, restaurant team members, franchisees, and supplier partners by building an emotional connection to the brand that takes Bennigan's beyond the transactional and into the experiential.
“As the leader of Bennigan's, Paul has brought the focus back where it belongs – on the people, the food and the experience,” says Randy Young of Basic American Foods. “But equally important, in my eyes, is the emphasis Paul has placed on providing entrepreneurial opportunities for military veterans and minorities. He even instituted a program that waives Bennigan’s franchise fee for all qualified and honorably discharged veterans.”
The franchise incentive program, which offers total savings of approximately $35,000, runs through the end of 2013. The initiative is Bennigan’s contribution to "Operation Enduring Opportunity," a program developed by the International Franchise Association "to hire as team members and recruit as franchise business owners 75,000 veterans and military spouses and 5,000 wounded warriors by 2014."
With nearly 100 restaurants worldwide, demand is spiking for Bennigan’s franchises. Mangiamele has placed a premium on recruiting and supporting quality franchisees that share the chain’s commitment to extraordinary customer service and operational excellence.
“Our franchisees held the Bennigan’s brand together after the previous ownership mismanaged the company into bankruptcy,” Mangiamele says. “That’s why I’m so committed to working side-by-side with our existing and new franchise partners to expand at a deliberate pace and provide a level of support that goes well beyond the industry norm.”
Mangiamele adds, “I am honored and humbled to be nominated for the revered Silver Plate Award. I’ve worked in this industry for 35 years, and it’s true that when you are doing something you love, it doesn’t feel like work but a dream come true.”
For the 2013 Silver Plate Awards competition winners will be chosen by a Selection Jury that includes the 2012 Silver Plate winners, national trade press editors, other foodservice experts and the chairperson of the International Gold & Silver Plate Society.