Norman Brinker, the casual dining pioneer who created Bennigan’s and Steak & Ale, has died, reports Nation’s Restaurant News.
Brinker, who was 78, began his career as a busboy. He worked his way up through the restaurant industry, creating Steak & Ale in 1966 and Bennigan’s in the 1970s. As president of the Pillsbury Restaurant Group from 1982-1983, he oversaw the Burger King, Steak & Ale, Bennigan’s and Poppin Fresh chains. Later, he invested in Chili’s, and, as the head of Brinker International, was responsible for the chain’s growth from 28 locations to more than 1,700.