Bennigan’s: Acting one’s age is so overrated

BennigansCasual-dining chains like Applebee’s, T.G.I. Friday’s and Bennigan’s are upsetting places. Is it the bogus enthusiasm? The “flair”? The pretense of neighborhoody charm? The food? It’s hard to pin down. There’s actually an Applebee’s in the Bronx, about five minutes from my apartment; I hope I never have to go in there. Anyway, we read in Adweek this morning that Bennigan’s is celebrating its 30th anniversary. How are they going about it? “Internally, the company has dubbed 2006 ‘The return to cool.’ Television, radio and outdoor ads touting the brand’s 30th anniversary use ‘We refuse to act our age’ as a theme.” What does this “return to cool” mean for the Bennigan’s wait staff? They’re wearing “Leprechaun Rights” T-shirts as part of a St. Patrick’s Day promo. How cool is that? (Some of them may “act their age” while taking your order, but let’s hope not.) A new ad for Bennigan’s potato skins reads, “We thought we’d get your attention by showing you some skin.” Cool! Bennigan’s marketing chief is quoted as saying, “Nothing we’re doing is revolutionary.” Surely it’s only a matter of time.

—Posted by Tim Nudd