By Steve Coulter
On July 29, 2008, all remaining Steak and Ale locations closed as part of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding. Now after nearly 12 years, Steak and Ale is poised for an epic comeback.
Created in 1966 by the late Norman Brinker. The iconic restaurant chain with its dimly lit ambiance, billed itself as offering an upscale steak experience at lower prices.
Steak and Ale was known for its signature herb-roasted prime rib, Kensington club, New York strip, filet mignon, Hawaiian chicken, and spicy grilled chicken pasta. It also featured warm honey wheat brown bread and a bountiful salad bar with chilled salad plates.
The brand, recipes and intellectual property is now owned by Dallas based Legendary Restaurant Brands, LLC, the parent company for Bennigan’s and Bennigan’s on the fly. The company has 225 restaurants either open, under contract or under development. And now they are launching the return of Steak and Ale.
“Many people told me, nobody’s ever been able to come back from a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. My answer is…watch us! Because when you have passionate people that care about the brands, that remember them fondly and a consumer that already knows and loves the brand…well…I mean there’s just no stopping us,” said Legendary Restaurant Brands Chairman and CEO Paul Mangiamele.
The new Steak and Ale is planning to once again set the standard for affordable steakhouses. Redefined as a 21st century polished-casual concept, while retaining all the signature elements that customers remember and loved.
The Steak and Ale comeback is set to begin in Mexico. “The first one is under construction right now in Cancun,” said Mangiamele. “So we’re literally right on the beach and it’s going to be magnificent!”
And now the search is on for great franchisees in the United States.
“Right now we are looking from North Carolina to Oklahoma believe it or not…Oklahoma City,” said Mangiamele. “I would love to find really solid franchisees or investors in Oklahoma, so we can continue to grow our brand north of Dallas.”
“The emotion, the culture, the passion is something that is so unique in our industry and obviously creates a lot of demand. Everybody knows the brands and it makes it such an interesting value proposition. Not only to the consumer but to investors as we franchise,” said Mangiamele.
Steak and Ale is pivoting and making some changes right now due to COVID-19.
“We are planning on taking the salad bar and bringing it to the table. When’s the last time you got table side service for anything? We can still deliver on the value, still deliver on the expectations and hopefully exceed that,” Mangiamele said. “So for the salad bar, post vaccine will probably have that back in our restaurants.”
They plan on introducing some new menu items, while still featuring the classics.
“Absolutely positively the signature and some cases trademark favorites, that people remember from Steak and Ale will be on the menu,” said Mangiamele.
The Cancun location is planning to open the first quarter of 2021. Qualified franchisees have the opportunity to generate immediate consumer loyalty by bringing back a beloved restaurant with decades of goodwill and brand equity.
For more information about becoming a franchisee or investor go to bennigans.com or legendaryrestaurantbrands.com