Cedar Hill, Texas-Bennigan's recently introduced a smaller-sized, freestanding prototype at a new company-owned store southwest of Dallas and a second, franchisee-owned unit in Vernon, Connecticut. Both units feature a 4,500-square-foot building, compared with the company's standard 6,500- and 7,000-square-foot units introduced in 1998. The change reduces seating by 30 for a total of 190 seats.

"We developed the smaller prototype to give us and our franchisees a new development option for smaller target markets and trade areas," said Jerry Comstock, president of Bennigan's.

Comstock said the new Bennigan's prototype "gives us the flexibility to open restaurants at locations where limited available space would have precluded us from developing."

Other casual-dining concepts, including Chili's and TGI Friday's, have been offering scaled-down versions of their stores for the past several years. -Nation's Restaurant News