• 23
  • May

Drunken pot roast, bacon cheeseburger chips, fried cheesecake and more. Those meals and treats are undoubtedly familiar to fans of the once-foundering Bennigan's chain of quasi-Irish restaurants. And it's all being resurrected in a return to Florida.

Several companies that owned the chain and 150 restaurants filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in 2008, but the chain is under new management and is staging a comeback here and elsewhere.

Independent franchises weren't affected by the bankruptcy. Many of them remained open for business, including one in Tampa.

But many Bennigan's restaurants in Florida were shuttered, apparently victims of the downturn in the economy and rising food and fuel prices, among other financial pressures.

At the time of the bankruptcy filing, Time magazine opined that the restaurants were outdated, serving fatty foods no longer popular with a belt- and wallet-tightening America.

Bennigan's franchisees were steadfast, however. They had an identifiable brand and faithful following that would stand with them until the economy began to lift.

While few would say the U.S. economy is fully healthy again, there are some signs that it's slowly improving; a prognosis the Dallas-based Bennigan's Franchising Co. apparently shares.

While many people think of Chapter 7 bankruptcy as a legal protection strictly for individuals, it can be used by partnerships, corporations and individuals. The biggest difference Chapter 7 offers from Chapter 11 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies is that it can eliminate most debt.

When it comes to a business filing for Chapter 7 in Florida, it typically means a liquidation of assets with proceeds going to creditors.

Source: Orlando Business Journal: "Bennigan's returns to Central Florida" by Anjali Fluker: May 19, 2011