Bennigan's CEO on 'treacherous' supply chain issues, inflation hitting restaurants

Paul Mangiamele argues 'The vagaries of our business have never been as acute.'

The CEO of Legendary Restaurant Brands, which owns the iconic Bennigan's and Steak and Ale brands, explained on Monday how "treacherous" supply chain issues and inflation are hitting the restaurant industry and what steps should be taken to alleviate the problems. 

Paul Mangiamele also noted that labor shortages are impacting the industry and told "Cavuto: Coast to Coast" on Monday that "the vagaries of our business have never been as acute." 

Mangiamele noted that he focused on employee "retention," stressing that "the intellectual capital of your teams and, in our case, our franchise partners have been critical in getting us over these humps." 

He explained that he recently signed a deal with a company in Miami, Florida that uses "delivery vessels," to bring his products "to thousands of points of distribution both domestically and internationally." 

On Wednesday, President Biden called for private sector businesses to "step up" and assist his administration’s latest push to address the supply chain crisis that has sparked fears of empty shelves during the holiday shopping season.  

Biden’s push coincided with the White House’s announcement that the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will shift to 24/7 operations to clear a cargo backlog. Several prominent retailers and logistics companies, including Walmart and UPS, have agreed to extend their hours of operation in response to supply chain disruptions.

Supply chain disruptions have hindered efforts to bolster the U.S. economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. The labor shortage has contributed to a shipping logjam at major ports. 

Several major companies have noted higher logistics-related costs and disruptions to their normal operations. The issues have also impacted consumers in the form of empty shelves and higher prices, prompting fears that lower spending will slow the economic recovery.


Last week it was revealed that U.S. consumer prices in September accelerated at their fastest annual pace in 13 years. The Consumer Price Index rose 5.4% year over year last month, according to the Labor Department, matching the July reading for the hottest print since 2008. Prices increased 0.4% month over month.  Analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting prices to rise 5.3% annually and 0.3% in September. 

Food prices jumped 0.9% last month and are now up 4.6% annually, according to the index. The price for meats, poultry, fish and eggs soared 10.5% this year, while beef prices climbed a whopping 17.6%. Fruits and vegetables rose by 3%. 

On Monday, Mangiamele called on the federal government to take more action to help address the issues. 

He acknowledged that Economic Injury Disaster Loans are available, but noted that "it takes literally months and months and months before they review our applications." 

Mangiamele went on to say that "we should have another round of PPP [Paycheck Protection Program] or take a look at some of the revitalization programs or the funding that was done under the Trump administration to just to be released. It was already approved." 


Mangiamele told host Neil Cavuto that to deal with the challenges presented, "we have taken a look at addressing and adjusting our operating hours."

"In some areas we are closed on a Monday, for example, or we do dinner only for a couple of days to have better utilization of the teams that we have," he continued. "From a consumer view, thank God we have the pent-up demand out there for our great food." 

He told Cavuto that all his restaurants were able to stay open during the last 18 months even with all the economic challenges presented to the industry. 

"In fact, the prospects for growth look better than they ever have," Mangiamele said.


FOX Business’ Thomas Barrabi and Jonathan Garber contributed to this report.