DALLAS, TX (May 22, 2014) – On March 27, 2012, a man walked into Bennigan’s in Borger, Texas, bought a beer and wrote a note in memory of a fallen soldier, his friend LTJG Frankie Toner. It was the third anniversary of Frankie’s death in Afghanistan, and the man asked that the beer and note be left on the bar that night to honor Frankie’s sacrifice.
The bartender was so touched by this gesture that she took a picture and posted it on her Facebook page. The photo went viral and quickly caught the attention of the Bennigan’s home office. Guests across the country were later invited to do the same for their military heroes. Thus began Bennigan’s Wall of Heroes.
The tradition continues this summer as Bennigan’s honors the millions of brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces, but with an added bonus: While Bennigan’s guests are invited to recognize the military heroes in their life while visiting their local restaurant, notes of gratitude may also be posted from home, work or anywhere else at WallofHeroes.org.
“Everyone at Bennigan’s recognizes the sacrifices made by America’s veterans and those still in harm’s way in places all across the globe; but given the immense support this campaign has generated in our restaurants, we decided we shouldn’t confine it to within our walls any longer,” said Bennigan’s President & CEO Paul Mangiamele. “This is for everyone who has ever been inspired by our service men and women. This is their campaign, so we’re excited to see how far they can go and how much we can raise as we express our thanks to thousands of true American heroes, all while supporting a great organization.”
The third-annual campaign, which kicks off on Memorial Day (May 26) and runs through Labor Day (Sept. 1), will again generate donations to the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes, a leading not-for-profit organization dedicated to rebuilding the lives of severely wounded veterans of the global War on Terror.
This year, Bennigan’s is encouraging patriots everywhere to raise a virtual toast in honor of anyone who is currently serving or has served in the U.S. Armed Forces at WallofHeroes.org. Supporters may choose from four different drinks, which may be personalized with messages thanking their hero for his or her sacrifice.
For every message uploaded, Bennigan’s will donate $1 to the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes. Direct, tax-deductible contributions to the Coalition can also be made through the site.
“We think the Wall of Heroes campaign is truly inspired, and we couldn’t be more grateful to Bennigan’s for going above and beyond to help increase awareness for our wounded veterans,” said David Walker, president and CEO of the Coalition. “Too many men and women return from combat every day broken in mind, body and/or spirit, yet so little support is provided to them. The Coalition is making a direct, immediate impact on thousands of these heroes, and the support from Bennigan’s and its guests will enable us to serve even more.”
Wall of Heroes is just one of Bennigan’s veteran-focused initiatives. Since he was recruited in 2011 to lead the iconic brand back to its former glory, Mangiamele has instituted a program that waives the company’s franchise fee for all qualified and honorably discharged veterans. Operated through Bennigan’s membership in the International Franchise Association’s VetFran program, the franchise incentive offers a total savings of approximately $35,000 and runs through the end of 2014.
ABOUT THE COALITION
The Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes, a 501(c)(3) organization based in Leesburg, VA, has provided an invaluable, immediate lifeline to thousands of America’s wounded veterans since its establishment in 2004. The Coalition is distinguished from other veteran-focused organizations by its direct financial and in-kind assistance to America’s wounded heroes. Its Emergency Financial Aid program has stopped foreclosure proceedings on veterans’ homes and kept their vehicles from being repossessed. The organization regularly provides gift checks to cover meals, medical and utility bills, clothing, car repairs and even baby diapers. For more information, and to learn how you can support its mission, visit SaluteHeroes.org.
Bennigan’s is a high-energy neighborhood restaurant and tavern that is redefining casual dining. With chef-driven food, innovative drinks and warm, friendly Irish Hospitality, this Legendary brand delivers memorable dining experiences to every guest, every meal, every day. Every member of the team “bleeds green” and demonstrates a 25/8 focus to support its franchise community. The company’s revolutionary comeback has introduced a new generation of Bennigan’s that reflects the brand’s history and pays respect to its rich heritage. Bennigan’s focus on reinvention, flexible prototypes, Legendary service and compelling returns on investment has resulted in explosive growth both domestically and internationally.
For franchising information, visit www.bennigans.com or call 855-GOT-BENN.