Larry Briski, president of the Franchise Operators Association for Bennigan’s, was taken by surprise Tuesday morning by reports that Bennigan’s parent Metromedia Restaurant Group was shuttering company stores and declaring bankruptcy in order to to liquidate its assets and shut down, citing $550 million in assets and about $150 million in debt.
According to an article in the Post-Tribune, franchisee Briski learned more on a conference call tuesday afternoon.
Briski said a Tuesday afternoon conference call with company officials affirmed Bennigan’s name and franchise operation would be sold to an Atlanta-based company. The firm, he said, is in the restaurant business and plans to continue the Bennigan’s franchise.
“This will assure us we will have longevity,” Briski said.
He said the new owners will do what it takes to build the brand. He does not anticipate major changes in the franchise operation but does expect to see better marketing and more innovative menu items.
“This is a very good thing for the franchisees,” he said.
…After meeting with corporate officials on several occasions, he said it was his understanding the company would close some underperforming corporate units.
“I was surprised by what they did today. I thought I was more or less in the loop,” he said.
Franchises that remain open still have access to franchise support, such as menu items, purchasing and the supply chain. Briski said his franchises will also welcome corporate coupons.
Briski said he wants to make sure customers understand only the corporate-run Bennigan’s restaurants have closed. “We are open,” he said.
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