|This article needs additional citations for verification. (April 2009)|
|Headquarters||Miami, Florida, U.S.|
|Key people||Richard Stockinger (CEO, President)|
|Revenue||US$314M (FY 2010)|
|Operating income||US$-7.74M (FY 2010)|
|Net income||US$-10.0M (FY 2010)|
|Total assets||US$234M (FY 2010)|
|Total equity||US$144M (FY 2010)|
|Owner(s)||Angelo, Gordon & Co.|
|Divisions||Benihana, Samurai, Haru, RA Sushi|
Benihana (Japanese language: 紅花 "Safflower") is a Doral, Florida-based (suburb of Miami, Florida) American company that owns or franchises 116 Japanese cuisine restaurants around the world including its flagship Benihana Teppanyaki brand as well as the Haru (fusion cuisine), and RA Sushi restaurants. It was founded by Hiroaki Aoki.
The company was founded in 1964 on West 56th Street in New York City by 25-year-old Hiroaki "Rocky" Aoki.
Aoki, a wrestler who had qualified for but did not attend the 1960 Summer Olympics started the restaurant with $10,000 earned from driving an ice cream truck in Harlem. The first restaurant, Benihana of Tokyo, was named for the red Safflower that was the name for the coffee shop owned by his parents in Tokyo.
Aoki's concept was for the meals to be theatrically prepared by a knife-wielding, joke-telling chef at a teppanyaki table surrounded by a wooden eating surface in front of the guests (Teppan meaning "steel grill" or "griddle" and yaki meaning "grilled" or "broiled"). It initially did not do well until early 1965 when Clementine Paddleford of the New York Herald Tribune gave it a rave review. The Beatles and Muhammad Ali were among the celebrities who then descended on the four-table restaurant.
In 1968 it opened its first restaurant outside of New York City in Chicago.
Aoki brought in consultant Hardwicke Companies (its founder Charles H. Stein was the original developer of Six Flags Great Adventure and also operated various New York restaurants including Tavern on the Green) as a partner to run the company in 1976. Aoki terminated the relationship in 1980 and settled a Securities and Exchange Commission complaint of insider trading of Hardwicke stock.
In 1982 Benihana National Corporation went public with Joel Schwartz as president. Some of the restaurants continued to be privately owned by Aoki. The company had some missteps including the opening of the upscale Big Splash restaurant and a frozen foods division Benihana National Classics. Its stock dived and shareholders sued over management including the fact that Aoki still had his privately held restaurants of the same name.
In 1995 all of the Benihana Restaurants were consolidated under Benihana Inc.
The company has since expanded by purchasing the Haru and RA Sushi restaurants, which operate under those names. Haru is based in New York City; RA has locations across the country, and is based in Scottsdale, Arizona, with its original four locations scattered around the greater Phoenix area. Although Benihana owns these concepts, they are independently operated and were developed autonomously. It also acquired the Samurai and Kyoto restaurants which it has incorporated into its other brands.
In 2004 the company issued a class of preferred stock to BFC Financial corporation to renovate its restaurants and expand. The stock diluted Aoki control of the chain and the family sued. Citing that Benihana had no compelling need for the cash, other forms of capital were available, and that the terms of the preferred stock issued to BFC were onerous. One of the members of the board of directors was also a director of BFC, a company that held controlling interests of BankAtlantic, Blue Green and Levitt Homes. However, the Delaware Court of Chancery has upheld the decision.
Benihana agreed in 2012 to be purchased by the private equity firm of Angelo Gordon & Company for $296 million.
On January 30, 2011, Benihana (Kuwait) filed a defamation lawsuit against a blogger for writing about his experience on his website. Las Palmas, the company that owns Benihana in Kuwait, took legal action against the reviewer for his "negative" attitudes towards the restaurant and for recording the videos without permission. The company alleged that the blogger worked for an advertising company and might have personal motives that could be linked to his work to denigrate Benihana and praise its competitors located in the same area.
Benihana is present in 17 countries.
|North America||Europe||South America||Asia||Oceania|
In popular culture
- The restaurant was featured in the 2006 The Office episode "A Benihana Christmas".
- Also featured in the movie Juno (2007): Bleeker: "A bunch of us from the team are going to Benihana, then go the prom, then go to Vijay’s parents’ cabin."
- It was also featured in the 2010 fourth season Mad Men episode entitled "The Chrysanthemum and the Sword" which was set in March 1965 in the original location at West 56th Street in Manhattan that opened in May 1964.
- As well as in the Chuck episode "Chuck Versus the Colonel", the character Morgan reveals his goal in life is to become a Benihana chef.
- In the 30 Rock episode "Leap Day," Tracy Jordan reveals he did a TV ad for them and was paid with a $50,000 "Benibucks" gift card that he wound up spending in its entirety feeding both his friends and the homeless on February 29, 2012.
- Rap lyrics frequently mention Benihana, often comparing the MC's skills to that of one of the theatrically skilled Benihana chefs. The Beastie Boys song "Putting Shame in Your Game" from the album Hello Nasty features the lyric "I'm the Benihana chef on the SP12/ I chop the **** out the beats left on the shelf." See Rap's Infatuation with Benihana.
- Rapper 2 Chainz makes several references to Benihanas, in a song called "Crack" saying "Extra garlic butter, I got Benihana issues.
- Rapper Big Sean also references Benihana in his song Higher on the Detroit Mixtape saying "Benihana, my McDonalds".
- Rapper Young Jeezy also refers to Benihana with a song entitled Benihana.
- A skateboard trick is named after Benihana
On February 16, 2005, the company restated credit agreement dated December 3, 2002 by and among Benihana Inc., the Guarantors and Wachovia Bank, National Association, as Agent and Lender.
- Benihana (BNHNA) annual SEC income statement filing via Wikinvest.
- Benihana (BNHNA) annual SEC balance sheet filing via Wikinvest.
- "Company Profile for Benihana Inc (BNHNA)". Retrieved 2008-10-21.
- Walker, Elaine. "Doral, Fla.-Based Benihana Discloses Secret of Its Success." Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News. May 26, 1999. Retrieved on January 9, 2010.
- "Franchising Contacts." Benihana. Retrieved on January 9, 2010.
- "Benihana, Inc. profile - International Directory of Company Histories, Vol. 18. St. James Press, 1997 - Via fundinguniverse.com - Retrieved February 16, 2008". Fundinguniverse.com. Retrieved 2011-11-08.
- Gasparro, Annie (May 23, 2012). "Benihana to Go Private in Buyout". The Wall Street Journal. p. B6. Retrieved May 23, 2012.
- "Benihana Inc · 8-K · For 12/9/05 · EX-99.1". secinfo.com. 2005-12-09. Retrieved 2011-11-08.
- "Obituary". Legacy.com. Retrieved 2011-11-08.
- Ruggless, Ron."Benihana names new CEO as Schwartz retires." Nations Restaurant News. February 10, 2009. Retrieved, February 19, 2010.
- Ruggless, Ron."Benihana begins work with turnaround firm." Nations Restaurant News. January 14, 2009. Retrieved, February 19, 2010.
- "Kuwait Times Website". Kuwaittimes.net. Retrieved 2011-11-08.
- "Kuwait blogger sued over bad restaurant review - Media". ArabianBusiness.com. Retrieved 2011-11-08.
- "Kuwait blogger sued for posting dinner experience". gulfnews. 2011-02-01. Retrieved 2011-11-08.
- "BENIHANA INC.".
- Collier, David A.; James R. Evans (2006). Operations Management: Goods Services and Value Chains (2nd ed.). South-western College Pub. ISBN 0-324-17939-1.
- Sasser Jr., W. Earl and John R. Klug (2004-07-20). Benihana of Tokyo. revision, orig. pub. 1972. Harvard Business School Case. Unknown parameter
- Rosengarten, David (2003). It's All American Food (1st ed.). Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 0-316-05315-5.
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