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Bennigan's - Tavern-Themed Chain in Fourteen Countries Worldwide - Closed Except Franchises in Tysons Corner and Clarksburg


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I haven't thought about Bennigan's in years. My memory of that chain will be their Monte Cristo (AKA Monte Crisco) sandwich, a great guilty pleasure.

Here,here. That is the first place I've ever had a Monte Cristo, and ended up being my standard there. My sister will be sad, since I think this was where her first date with her husband was. :lol:

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I haven't thought about Bennigan's in years. My memory of that chain will be their Monte Cristo (AKA Monte Crisco) sandwich, a great guilty pleasure.

Actually, it was a horrible Monte Cristo that I had at the Bennigan's in Rockville that made me promise myself I'd never return.

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Maybe this belongs in that recession topic that was alive a few months back but I am too lazy to find it. Do you think the same factors that allow big corporations to squash and push out small individually owned restaurants (large scale ordering which allows for lower prices, ability to set prices at razor thin profit margins due to volume, all other economies of scale type effects, standardized menus and quality, large marketing departments, etc. etc.) also make it sluggish and more susceptible to recession?

I feel like a smaller individually owned restaurant can duck and move much quicker. The filet mignon isn't moving? Switch it to hanger steak tomorrow night. The whole menu is too expensive? Rewrite it with cheaper options. You notice the price of green beans is rising faster than asparagus? Don't buy green beans this week. High end booze isn't selling? Start serving gourmet sodas and make a "value" section on the wine list or have discount corkage nights. Budget is still too tight? Run the door with one hostess instead of two. Price of gas is cutting the number of people driving to your restaurant? Provide free valet or something.

The large corporate groups can't make these kinds of decisions on the fly. A menu change must take months of focus groups, recipe development, supplier contract negotiation etc. Also when the economy starts turning down the large numbers in the marketing, development and corporate engines that allow these companies to expand during the good times must be breaking their back during the tough times. Laying people off takes time and money and you run the risk of getting rid of someone you will want around in a few months when things turn back around.

Anyways, just some random thoughts I had while sifting through the GDP data today...

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I never had the Monte Cristo, but Bennigan's was head and shoulders above TGI Friday's back in the early to mid 80's, if not the early 90's.  At some point thereafter, Bennigan's plummeted to below-grade fare.  I was served a burger that, in order to make it seem like it was grilled on some sort of grate, had remnants of some sort of paper strip that was supposed to impart grill marks to the beef.  Even way back then, I vowed "never again".

Is it possible that the relatively new Tyson's outpost has reverted to the origins?

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I went to the Bennigan's in Tysons shortly after it opened and got the Monte Cristo (natch) and an order of Broccoli Bites. I recall loving the Monte Cristo when I ate there as a kid but when I had it here, it was far too sweet for my tastes and neither my wife nor I enjoyed it. The Broccoli Bites, however, were fantastic, and I heartily recommend them.

Also, fwiw, Houlihan's was the best in the unholy trinity of Houlihans, Bennigan's, and TGI Fridays.

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When I had the Monte Cristo at the Clarksburg location a year or so ago, it was not very similar to the ones I had had at other locations. It did not appear to be in a deep fried shell of any sort, and was pretty overdone. Not particularly good. I dunno what the deal is or why their's was different.

Anyway, there's another one of these opening in Frederick at Market Square, for whatever that's worth.

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I went to the Bennigan's in Tysons shortly after it opened and got the Monte Cristo (natch) and an order of Broccoli Bites. I recall loving the Monte Cristo when I ate there as a kid but when I had it here, it was far too sweet for my tastes and neither my wife nor I enjoyed it. The Broccoli Bites, however, were fantastic, and I heartily recommend them.

Also, fwiw, Houlihan's was the best in the unholy trinity of Houlihans, Bennigan's, and TGI Fridays.

I liked Houlihan's the best too.

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