Bennigan's staffers say some restaurants closed

Tue Jul 29, 2008 8:12pm IST

CHICAGO, July 29 (Reuters) - Managers of at least three Bennigan's Grill and Tavern restaurants in New Jersey said that their restaurants were closed on Tuesday, while a Chicago radio station reported that three managers in Illinois said their restaurants were shutting down immediately.

It was not clear how many locations in the roughly 300-restaurant chain were being closed. One manager of a franchised restaurant told Reuters that his was still open on Tuesday.

Parent company Metromedia Restaurant Group had no comment, a receptionist said, and no one else there would speak with a Reuters reporter on Tuesday morning.

"We were told by corporate that 'today is not a work day,'" said a Bennigan's employee who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "We certainly won't have a lunch today, but it's unclear about dinner."

Three Chicago-area Bennigan's general managers said their units were closing down on Tuesday, WBBM-AM radio in Chicago reported.

Bennigan's, a casual-dining restaurant chain, was founded in 1976 and has restaurants in 32 states.

Plano, Texas-based Metromedia also owns the Steak and Ale, Ponderosa and Bonanza chains.

On a call to a Ponderosa restaurant in Pennsylvania, an employee said it was open for business.

(Reporting by Brad Dorfman and Patrick Fitzgibbons; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

((bradley.dorfman@thomsonreuters.com; +1 312 408 8133; Reuters Messaging: bradley.dorfman.reuters.com@reuters.net))

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