Bennigan’s Return to Relevance… Bleeding Green 25/8

Bennigan’s President and CEO Paul Mangiamele recently announced that his new book — “Bennigan’s Return to Relevance…Bleeding Green 25/8” — will debut at the Restaurant Leadership Conference on April 21-24 in Scottsdale, Ariz.

In this inspiring business page-turner, Mangiamele delves into the iconic restaurant’s renaissance and defines the scale and scope of bringing a Chapter 7 brand back from the brink.  The book likewise pulls back the curtain on the casual dining revolution and shares both business development ideas and franchising fundamentals. is pleased to present the first excerpts from the forthcoming release.  To pre-order “Bennigan’s Return to Relevance…Bleeding Green 25/8,” visit


Bennigan’s Return to Relevance…Bleeding Green 25/8

By Paul Mangiamele


Bennigan's Return to Relevance…Bleeding Green 25/8Everyone loves a comeback story and the tale of Bennigan’s journey to Chapter 7 and back is a classic.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a proceeding in which the company stops all operations and goes completely out of business, is about as bad as it gets. And when Bennigan’s filed for Chapter 7 in July of 2008, it would have ceased to exist except for the franchisees that continued to carry the company banner and the investors who recognized and respected the brand equity and brought Bennigan’s out of bankruptcy.

It is because of their passion for Bennigan’s that I am here, honored and humbled to be at the helm of this iconic brand.

When I first started as the new President and CEO of Bennigan’s Franchising Company in May of 2011, colleagues in the restaurant industry advised me against an attempt to bring back a “dead brand.” In the middle of an interview, one reporter looked me dead in the eye and asked, “Did you know that no brand has ever made it successfully back from a Chapter 7 filing? What makes you think you can?”

I’ve never listened to naysayers so none of that negativity fazed me. However, I soon had an encounter that further cemented my belief in this brand’s resilience. My lovely wife Gwen and I were having dinner in a white-tablecloth, French restaurant when we happened to hear the table next to ours discussing the menu options. The item of note was this restaurant’s “Croque Monsieur,” and they were reminiscing about a similar sandwich they had eaten years ago at…wait for it…Bennigan’s. They were going on and on, waxing poetically about how much they loved that sandwich and missed their local Bennigan’s in Jackson, Mississippi. That menu item is called the “World Famous Monte Cristo,” and our phenomenal combination of ham, turkey and cheese is still a bestseller. I couldn’t help myself and had to intrude into their conversation. The six of us then spent a few fun minutes talking about the beloved Monte Cristo, as well as Bennigan’s return to prominence. I promised them a new Bennigan’s would be opening just north of them in Memphis, Tennessee and they told me I could count on them to be at the opening. I was beaming.

This is just one of many stories that illustrate the love and emotional connection that people have for this brand. Everywhere I go, people like to tell me about “their” Bennigan’s and what the restaurant has meant to them. It has always been a neighborhood favorite – a place that was about more than just food and drink. It was somewhere to meet friends, kick back and let your hair down for a little while. That Bennigan’s spirit lives on in everything we do, every single day. This is the foundation by which Bennigan’s wascreated and although the company lost its focus through the years, it is the way we are operating today.

Rebirth, resurgence, renaissance; all of these “Re’s” have been part of the formula to move Bennigan’s from serious “brand drift” back to a reinvigorated, relevant food service company that is revolutionizing casual dining. This has all been possible because of an indispensable team of trusted, experienced and respected colleagues, franchisees, store teams and vendor partners who “Bleed (Irish) Green.”

Brand drift is a fact of business for many, but the smart brands survive and come back stronger than ever when they seize the opportunity to become Legendary. This is the story of how Bennigan’s became Legendary.


A Rallying Cry – The Five Pillars

As we set Bennigan’s renaissance in motion, we started by developing five pillars on which to operate our mission, vision, purpose statement, strategy and tactics, and finally, culture. These pillars, along with five key initiatives, would get us from where we were to where we wanted to be.

First and foremost, the mission for Bennigan’s is to create a “Legendary” brand experience for every guest, every meal, every day and to be known for our remarkable people, chef-driven food, innovative drinks and warm friendly hospitality. This is our rallying cry and a very important part of bringing all constituents together and working toward the same goal. For Bennigan’s to rise above the “sea of sameness” and differentiate itself, it has to know where it came from: its roots, heritage and legacy. This shift in thinking andaction requires whole-team alignment, from the hostess and the line cook, to the franchisee and the corporate office.

Bennigan's Return to Relevance…Bleeding Green 25/8

Paul Mangiamele, Bennigans President & CEO

Our vision and purpose statement follows suit in that we, each and every one of us, need to “live” Bennigan’s. To do this, we must build an emotional connection to our guests by delivering flawless execution and going “Above and Beyond the Call of Duty” (ABCD) in all we do.

With a solid mission and vision statement in place, we could next assemble the right teams, strategies and tactics in order to accomplish our goals.

But not before implementing my five initiatives. Initiative development is critical to the achievement of your mission, vision and the financial objectives for your brand. The five initiatives that are imperative to the success of our brand include: creating and sustaining momentum; developing habitual dependability; maintaining a continuous connection at every level of our business; visualizing our “big picture” outcome; and finally, developing a significant point of differentiation to make our brand unique.

To pre-order “Bennigan’s Return to Relevance…Bleeding Green 25/8,” visit