Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Bennigans and Steak & Ale
The 93-year old German bought Bennigan's and Steak & Ale and then spent the remaining time between then and now running them into the ground. The way he did it was to progressively degrade the menu, service, and decor over twenty-plus years. Steak & Ale suffered the least of the two, but Bennigan's was devastated. Someone could pick them up at a fire sale price and make them into good restaurants, again, very easily. They only ended up in this state by really wrong-minded management. Bennigan's went from a favorite to a place that I rarely visited. Even Chili's is doing some of the same things that the Bennigan's management did, but so far, they have not flipped over the precipice. Screw healthy menu choices. People want food that tastes good. Being good for you is secondary. The restaurants should be a place that is friendly and a nice place to be in, and the food and atmosphere should be good. You need many menu choices, not too few. At both Steak & Ale and Bennigan's, you should have been able to get a regular slice of hot pecan or apple pie, with ice cream. Doing away with that option was alone, a killer.