The New York Times blames a general trend of decreased diner expenditure for the shuttering of the Irish-themed Bennigan’s casual-dining chain (registration required). Sister chain Steak and Ale is also history.
For the record, Chowhounds saw it coming and blamed the food, not the economy. Here’s a 2007 thread titled “How is Bennigan’s still in business??” The overall trend: A restaurant chain that once was good (or not very good) turning into a restaurant chain that is bad (or very, very bad).
It used to be decent fern bar fare, at least in Tallahassee. Our family likes to go to Chili’s for lunch after church, but once it was very crowded and we decided to try the Bennigan’s 100 yards away. What a let down…only one quarter of the place was even open; 75% of the restaurant was actually closed down, with chairs upside on the tables and the lights off. That should have been a clue to leave, but we ordered and not only was the food not good…it was horrible.
Of course this same thread also features someone taking a pass on Bennigan’s and bringing his girlfriend—now wife—to Red Lobster “because she was special.” Take it from this here shrimp-eating hobo: yikes.