National restaurant chains Bennigan's and Steak & Ale have closed their doors and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, shuttering more than 300 locations and letting go of thousands of employees.

It is one of the country's largest restaurant bankruptcies and eliminates two sit-down chains that have been part of the casual-dining landscape for decades. The chains will liquidate and aren't likely to re-open.


The pub-themed Bennigan's had 310 restaurants in 32 states. It was founded in 1976. It is heavily concentrated in states like Texas, Illinois and Michigan. It posted U.S. sales of $542 million in 2007, according to Technomic Inc., a food-industry research and consulting firm.


Metromedia Restaurant Group earlier this year violated several terms of a lending agreement with GE Capital Solutions. It had been in negotiations with lenders for months to stave off the filing, while closing some stores and looking for a buyer, said two people involved in the matter.

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