Bennigan’s Files For Bankruptcy – Michigan Locations Safe

29 07 2008

Bennigan’s becomes the first casual dining restaurant casualty of the weakend economy.  Parent company Metromedia Restaurant group filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection today in the Eastern District of Texas. 

All restaurants have been struggling as consumers cut back on discretionary spending to better deal with high gas prices, the weak housing market and inflation. The hardest hit have been casual dining chains and bar and grill restaurants, which charge higher prices than fast food and other quick-service chains.

Bar and grill restaurants have also suffered from intense competition. Morningstar analyst John Owens said several chains expanded quickly, making it more difficult for customers to differentiate between them and forcing many companies to cut prices to lure diners.

“Bennigan’s was the weakest of the major players,” Owens said.

Meanwhile, commodity costs have soared, forcing chains to either raise menu prices or see profits plunge.

Even though the parent company is closing most stores, the Mid-Michigan stores will not be closing.  The stores are not owned by Metromedia.  They are owned privately by LaBelle Management.  LaBelle has bought the rights to use the Bennigan’s name and menu.  The bankruptcy filing by Metromedia will put more pressure on LaBelle in regards to advertising and supply, but customers shouldn’t see a difference.  The following press release was sent out this morning by LaBelle Management.


Despite recent news regarding Metromedia Restaurant Group closing and filing for Chapter 7
Bankruptcy, (the parent company of Bennigan’s and Steak & Ale), LaBelle Management will keep all
of their 14 Bennigan’s in Michigan open and growing strong. LaBelle Management has been in the
restaurant and hospitality business for over 60 years and has no desire to leave the “people

“We are an independent franchisee of MRG. We are a strong, viable company that simply represents
the Bennigan’s brand in the state of Michigan. We have no intention of closing any of our locations
state-wide. We will continue to take care of our internal and external Guests. We will continue to
serve our famous Irish hospitality to all of our regulars, by doing so, we are able to employ many local
members of our community and support the local economy.” said Brad Hansen, Chief Executive
Officer of LaBelle Management.

LaBelle Management owns and operates a total of 37 establishments in Michigan and Indiana that
include the Comfort Inn & Suites Hotel & Conference Center, Fairfield Inn & Suites, Holiday Inn Hotel
& Conference Center, Grand Beach Resort Hotel, Sugar Beach Resort Hotel, The Villas at Grand
Beach and Sugar Beach Villas of Traverse City, 14 Bennigan’s, 2 Big Apple Bagels, 2 Big Boy, The
Italian Oven, 8 Ponderosa Steakhouses as well as the Pixie Restaurant in Mt. Pleasant where it all
began in 1948.



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