Paul Mangiamele already has put the Bennigan’s brand on the route to a turnaround. Now, he told brandchannel, he plans to do something similar with Steak and Ale.
The last outlet in the venerable Steak and Ale chain closed about six years ago, said Mangiamele, a 30-year veteran of the restaurant-franchising business who has taken to revitalizing old brands. But by early 2014, he said, the familiar marque will be back in business. Then the rest is up to his team’s execution—and the public.
“There are exactly zero Steak and Ales anywhere in the world right now,” said Mangiamele, who brought Bennigan’s out of a five-year bankruptcy earlier this year and has opened dozens of new restaurants and refined the Bennigan’s business model in an effort to bring about a comeback. The same ill-fated parent used to own both chains.[more]
But with Steak and Ale as with Bennigan’s a couple of years ago, he explained, “I looked at the tremendous brand equity that still exists domestically and internationally.” After putting news of a Steak and Ale comeback on Facebook, Mangiamele enthused, “we had more than 2,000 ‘likes.’ It’s about the look and feel and family experiences that still resonate with an emotional connection,” to the Steak and Ale brand as well as to Bennigan’s.
Mangiamele said that the Steak and Ale return “is now taking on specifc structure,” over major variables such as the menu, supply chain, prototype outlets, equipment, furniture, fixtures and trade dress. “We’ve put a lot of time and effort into this.”
The “new” Steak and Ale, he said, will sport “a complete new look at prototype design. I will do what I did with Bennigan’s: We’ll still have those special touches that harken back to the heyday of the chain in the late Seventies and early Eighties, but they wont’ be thematic.”
And what about the sluggish US restaurant consumer, who has been vexing both quick-serve and fast-casual chains alike with mostly indifference over the last few years? “You’ve got to deliver a value proposition,” Mangiamele said, “that is pretty strong.”