New products, Protecting yourself

Competitors honor Bennigan’s, Steak and Ale gift cards

Matt Schulz

Don’t think that you’ll have to eat your gift cards just because your local Bennigan’s and Steak and Ale are closing.

Some rivals of the now-bankrupt restaurants have decided to honor the gift cards from their fallen competitors, according to multiple reports. Logan’s Roadhouse, a nationwide chain based in Nashville, Tennessee, is offering a free entree, up
to a $15 value, with purchase of another entree. Another national eatery chain, Texas Roadhouse, ironically based in Louisville, Kentucky, is offering a free entree, with no value limit, according to The Dallas News. Meanwhile, Texas-based sandwich shop Texadelphia is also honoring Bennigan’s and Steak and Ale restaurants in at least two of its Dallas-area stores.

However, it’s not clear if all of these restaurants’ locations will do so, thus be sure to call your nearest location before you visit.

More than 300 Bennigan’s and Steak and Ale restaurants closed recently when S&A Restaurants Corp., the parent company, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. Still, “138 domestic and international franchisee-owned restaurants were not part of that filing and will remain open,” according to a statement from the Bennigan’s Franchising Co. LP and the Steak & Ale Franchising Co. LP.

But, according to the South Bend Tribune, you won’t be able to use your gift cards at any of the still-open locations. Aaron Freitas, manager of the Bennigan’s restaurant in Elkhart, Indiana, told the Tribune, “I feel so bad. Hopefully the new company will say we have to honor these gift cards, but we won’t know as a franchise unit for a few weeks.”

Meanwhile, their competitors are more than willing to take them, which is apparently not uncommon. When retailer The Sharper Image declared bankruptcy, competitor Brookstone announced it would accept Sharper Image gift cards for a 25 percent discount off any purchase in its own stores.

Still, if none of the available options appeal to you, you can
always just file for a refund with a bankruptcy court. But with how long it would likely take to see that refund — if you ever see it at all — you might be better off turning your card in for a nice steak.

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  • keserbom

    We were stuck with a Steak and Ale Gift Card when they closed recently. On the back of the Steak and Ale gift card we were listed a number of other restaurants that the card would be good for. Ponderosa and Bonanzas were listed, and are still open (we only have Ponderosas in our area). We contacted a local Ponderosa and they would not honor the card — other than 1 free meal and drink (worth about 1/4 of the $$ amount that is still on this card).
    Is this fraud or false advertising? Is there any other recourse for us?

  • Pam

    My boss bought me two Steak and Ale gift cards at $25 each just a few days before they filed for bankruptcy. So I ended up with two worthless cards and no bonus. This totally sucks. I think someone should make them reimburse us for the cards. Or a competitor should do better than a free entree.

  • Keserbom, I’m sorry to hear about your issues with the S&A gift card. My suggestion would be to either email or call Ponderosa’s headquarters and see if they might be able to better answer your questions. Any good company that values its customer should be more than willing to help you find what you’re looking for.

  • Biker

    For people stuck with cards that have the names of four or five restaurant chains on them, the only sure way to find out if a Bennigan’s, Ponderosa, or Bonanza will redeem them is to call the restaurant. Franchisees that sold the cards kept the money until a claim came in from another restaurant. Some of those restaurants are honoring cards they sold. The problem is that non-franchisee cards were sold by the (chapter 7) S&A Restaurant Corp. part and not the Metromedia Steakhouses LP part (Bonanza, Ponderosa) of the Metromedia Company. Someone may be able to find a legal way to hold parent Metromedia Company responsible since the customer was not told who actually was behind issuing the card.

  • Linda Reale

    I had given my parents two certificates at different times ($90 total), and they had a meal at the Texas Roadhouse and were told that on their next visit they could have one entree free. This is generous of the Texas Roadhouse who doesn’t have to offer anything, but this is quite a loss. It teaches us NOT to purchase dinner certificates for any restaurant in the future.

  • Hutch Coxey

    We too have a $50 gift card that we held onto for too long and the S & A closed. Bennigans will not touch it. Ponderosa said they will give us 2 free buffets/drinks and we surrender the card. I think the above statement about not buying restaurant gift cards is correct. Don’t buy them.

  • J.L.

    My 15 year old daughter bought me a $50.00 gift card for a daddy/daughter date for my birthday. (because that is where she liked to eat) Now we are stuck with this card that has NO value. It makes me very angery to think that a child has spent her money on a very sweet gift for Dad’s birthday and it is wasted. Isn’t it amazing how Large companies can do what ever they want and not have to own up to there end of the bargain!!!!! Unfortunately it seems like today that is the American way….What a shame!

  • Jan

    We are stuck with 2 $25 Bennigan’s cards too. We live in the Chicagoland area. Any ideas?

  • Barb

    What a bummer? What can we do here in Northeast PA? This was bought by my daughter’s sweat, too.

  • LA

    I’m stuck with a $150.00 gift card in Dallas. Never use it and it was for our 10th anniversary. My parents bought it so our family can have a wonderful meal or two together. Both parents are on fixed income and this really stinks. Corporate can do what ever they want and get away with it. Way to go SA



  • Willia-Mae Green-Jones

    I’m stuck with 1 $25 Bennigan’s cards also. I live in the Houston area.

  • Dorothy

    Keep your card, but do get in touch with your Attorney General’s office to file a complaint
    because here in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. they never closed while changing owners, someone has to
    be responible to the people. I called the service number on back of card & it told me how much money was on the card, did not say was a involid card

  • Carl

    Just visited Bennigan’s in Kissamee, FL. Notice on the door stated that they were not accepting gift cards but would give you 10% off. I checked with the greeter and she confirmed that they were not accepting the gift cards. I said thank you, we’ll find somewhere else to eat then. She looked kinda disappointed, but not too. I refuse to eat at a place that will not honor their cards, so I won’t give them any more of my hardearned money.

  • steve

    We have a local Ponderosa in our town but they will not accept their gift cards,not even for a free meal. I have 6 $25.00 cards that do not expire. They told me to call number on back to complain but that only gives me automated recording with balance.Can someone post the headquarters phone number and address please and where can I file a legal complaint.

  • Arlene

    We live in N.J. Our kids got us a $50 gift card last year (no expiration). I didn’t even realize Ponderosa was shut down until we went there to use the card. What a waste of money for my kids. Not to mention the disappointment and wasted time and gas to get to our closest Ponderosa, in Middletown N.Y.
    If anyone hears of anyone in the tri-state area who may be honoring a portion of the card, please post. Thanks

  • bob

    I have a $50.00 Bennigans gift card from our kids.
    We went to Bennigans in Bonnita Springs Fl.
    They would not honor it.
    Finished my beer, paid the bill and left.
    I will never buy a retaurant gift card again and have instructed my family not to do it either.
    Seems like a great way for these retaurants to steal the publics money.They will open under a new
    corporation eventually.
    Where are the Fed’s when you need them?

  • Joe

    Has anyone heard of anything lately regarding gift cards???

  • Juanita

    My husband and I received a $50.00 gift card as an anniversary gift and were surprised to find that they had closed. I attempted to obtain information about redeeming the card but the only information I am able to find is the balance remaining on the gift card.

  • Peggy

    My husband and daughter bought $85.00 worth of Steak & Ale gift cards the day before my birthday. They took me to dinner the next day and Steak & Ale was closed! They were shocked!!

  • Scott

    All these corporate rest. are the worst I bought my parents a Steak and Ale gift card for a 100 bucks…of course they close and chuck us the finger while trying to redeem these pieces of crap….F all of these chain box rst..guess the only good place are the diners on the roadside..or just stay home and make something…never again a gift card ill just give cash..

  • Joan

    My parents received a gift card to either Bonanza, Ponderosa, Bennigans or Steak and Ale. Due to my father’s illness, they were unable to use the card. It still has a balance of $ 50.00 but the restaurants have closed. They live near Philadelphia. I am trying to get a refund on the gift card so that they can use some of the money at another restaurant. It doesn’t make sense.

  • Janice Hudson

    Please someone help me. My daughter purchased me a Steak & Ale gift card and they are all closed in Atlanta area, no Ponderosas, no Bennigan’s. How or where can I redeem this gift card? It is heart wrenching when I think of the money lost.

  • Pam

    I have a $50.00 Bennigan’s gift card. Any ideas on where I can use it in New Orleans?

  • Ronna

    I have a $25.00 gift card for Bennigan’s and cannot even get through to their customer service department. All that is asked is to enter the gift card number and they verify how much is on it. Basically this is a worthless piece of plastic that someone has made money on and cheated all of us out of. I guess when purchasing a gift card one should go with a reputable company like visa or american express.

  • Julie

    I redeemed my Discover Card rewards points for a $50.00 Steak and Ale gift card. Our only Steak and Ale location closed without notice. When I called Discover, they said the card was no longer valid. Therefore, I lost my reward points and got nothing at all for them. This sucks.. You would think Discover would at least refund my reward points. I will no longer redeem rewards points for a restaurant gift card and I’m not sure I’ll even use Discover again.

  • darlene

    I have a gift card to one of the restuarants that were closed. what can i do with my 50dollar gift card. What other places will oner it.

  • Peggy

    I also recieved a gift card for Steak and Ale, Bennigan’s, Bonanza, Ponderosa or the Plano Tavern I didn’t realize so many people also are stuck with worthless gift cards Looks like we can be screwed in many ways and left without our gifts and they are left with our money. Is there a place to complain or does anyone care?

  • peggy

    I also have a worthless Steak and ale, Bonznza, Bennigans, The Plano Tavern Is there anyone to complain to?

  • Mea

    We also have a worthless Steak and ale, Bonanza, Bennigan’s, The Plano Tavern & Ponderosa gift card. How nice it was of our grandson to give us this as a gift. Sad to say he really had to save as he only worked parttime after school. Is there anyone to complain to? Am looking for help in Wisconsin area

  • Dee Chavis

    I recevied a gift card from my daughter for $50.00 webt ti steak and ale in paramas NJ the store was closed very upset. We went looking for a great steak no store.

  • Jo Ann

    I have a $25.00 gift card for Bennigans, Ponderosa, Bonanza, or Steak and Ale and went to use in Hickory, NC and the place is no longer in business. It is a shame that they are still selling these gift cards and no one is able to use them. Does anyone have knowledge on what we can do with these gifts cards? I hope all this money is helping them with their bankruptcy!!!!

  • Patunia

    In my opinion, Bennigans and Ponderosas are still opened in Orlando area and should offer some to gift card owners instead of chase them away. That will teach them to close down their business.

  • Chef C

    As part of a wedding gift from my husband’s brother, My husband and I received a $25.00 gift card to Bennigans,and 4 other restaurants listed on the front. We live in Los Angeles and the closes one to us is down in San Diego

  • donna

    I also have two cards, I am hanging on to them also. They were a gift for my son, bennigans was a great place, it never crossed my mind they would close. The way stores and restaurants close with NO warning and allow these cards to be sold is NOT the American Way. Cash is the Only way to go.

  • jeanette

    I was given a $15 retirement gift card for Steak and Ale Restaurant. It closed before I could use the card. Is there any hope of getting anything for my money?

  • Robin Hay

    I have a $25.00 card that is good for Bennigan’s, Bonanza, Ponderosa or Steak and Ale. Do any of these restuarants still exist??

  • Big W

    I was cleaning up and found my gift card too.
    $25. I called the number and the phone message stated $25 value.
    Card list: Bennigan’s, Bonanza, Ponderosa, Steak and Ale, The Plano Tavern, and The Southlake Tavern.
    Any word on any of these restaurants in Maryland?

  • Marcia Hogan

    Kept this card thinking somewhere we went we would find an open business. Gennigan’s, Steak and Ale, Ponderosa and Bonanza. What a laugh.
    Is there anyone who accepts these cards? I also called the number today and the balance is still $20.00
    December 13th 20ll

  • Lori

    I was recently given a gift card good at Bennigans, Ponderosa, Steak and Ale, and The Plano Tavern. Called the number and it said it’s for $25. There aren’t any of these restaurants in the Memphis, TN area. Does any other restaurant in Memphis honor this card?

  • Cheryl

    These restaurants made so much off of unused gift cards-they should be able to reopen!!!!

  • fred figatner

    I have a 50 dollar gift card with 5 different restaurants and. none llocated in new york city location. The customer svc # says it is still good. Any help with this. Thanks