Benihana

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For other uses, see Benihana (disambiguation).
Benihana Inc.
Type Private
Founded 1964
Founder(s) Rocky Aoki
Headquarters Doral, Florida, U.S.
Key people Steve Shlemon (President and CEO)
Products Japanese cuisine
Revenue IncreaseUS$314M (FY 2010)[1]
Operating income DecreaseUS$-7.74M (FY 2010)[1]
Net income DecreaseUS$-10.0M (FY 2010)[1]
Total assets DecreaseUS$234M (FY 2010)[2]
Total equity DecreaseUS$144M (FY 2010)[2]
Owner(s) Angelo, Gordon & Co.
Employees 5,000[3]
Divisions Benihana, Samurai, Haru, RA Sushi
Website www.benihana.com
Benihana on West 56th Street in New York City

Benihana Inc. (Japanese language: "Safflower") is a Doral, Florida-based American restaurant company.[4] It 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.[5][6] It was founded by Hiroaki Aoki.

History[edit]

A chef preparing a dinner at the table

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.[7]

Within a year Aoki opened a bigger restaurant that featured Samurai armour, heavy wooden ceiling beams, and sliding Shoji screens to provide some privacy.

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.

The famous Benihana "Tiki Mug", used for various exotic cocktails, has become collectible. (This mug is known as Hotei.)

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.[7]

In 1995 all of the Benihana Restaurants were consolidated under Benihana Inc.[7]

The company has since expanded by purchasing the Haru and RA Sushi restaurants, which operate under those names.[8] 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's 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 upheld the decision.[9]

Benihana's famous figural "tiki mugs" for exotic cocktails, the most common of which depicts "Hotei" a chubby buddha-like figure with arms raised in the air, have become collectible.

Aoki died in 2008 at the age of 69.[10]

In 2009 Richard C. Stockinger became chief executive to replace Joel A. Schwartz,[11] and in 2010 became president as Juan C. Garcia resigned.[12]

Benihana agreed in 2012 to be purchased by the private equity firm of Angelo Gordon & Company for $296 million.[8]

On February 5, 2014 the Board of Directors of Benihana Inc. announced that restaurant industry veteran Steve Shlemon has been named the company's new President and Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately.[13]

Lawsuits[edit]

In Benihana of Tokyo, Inc. v. Benihana, Inc.,[14] financial issues and a change of corporate control led three of the members of the Benihana, Inc.'s board of directors to consider the issuance of convertible stock and its sale to a potential buyer. Eventually, the entire board approved resolutions ratifying a stock purchase agreement with the buyer and authorizing the stock issuance. Afterwards, the company filed an action against almost all of Benihana, Inc.'s directors, alleging breaches of fiduciary duties.

On January 30, 2011, Benihana (Kuwait) filed a defamation lawsuit against a blogger for writing about his experience on his website.[15][16][17] 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.[17]

International locations[edit]

Benihana is present in 22 countries.

North America Europe South America Asia Oceania

In popular culture[edit]

  • The restaurant was referenced in the 1980 film Caddyshack when Cindy Morgan's character reacts to seeing Ty Webb's (played by Chevy Chase) bachelor pad by asking "Who's your decorator, Benihana?"
  • The 2012 film Ted makes reference to it when Mark Wahlberg's character John asks his coworkers "Hey guys, does anybody know a nice restaurant? Like where they give free bubblegum out in the bathrooms?" Guy (Patrick Warburton) replies "Whatever, Take her to Benihana"
  • The restaurant was featured in episode 757 of Saturday Night Live with Jonah Hill.
  • The restaurant made an appearance in the 2013 film The Wolf of Wall Street. Jonah Hill's character utters, "I'm never eating at Benihana again. I don't care whose birthday it is." after another character's arrest related to a scheme with Benihana.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The restaurant was parodied in the 2009 American Dad! Season 5 episode Stan's Night Out.
  • It was featured in the 2007 movie Juno, where Bleeker says "A bunch of us from the team are going to Benihana, then go the prom, then go to Vijay’s parents’ cabin."
  • The restaurant was featured in the 2006 The Office episode "A Benihana Christmas".
  • The restaurant was also featured in the Chuck episode "Chuck Versus the Colonel", where Morgan reveals his goal in life is to become a Benihana chef.
  • 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 Benihana.
  • French Rapper Booba refers to Benihana in his song "OKLM" "J'vais la découper sur place comme à Benihana" In English "I'm gonna cut it on the spot like in Benihana"
  • In the 2003 film Shanghai Knights, Owen Wilson tells Jackie Chan to use the fake name Benihana at a party

Restatements[edit]

On February 16, 2005, the company restated a credit agreement dated December 3, 2002 by and among Benihana Inc., the Guarantors and Wachovia Bank, National Association, as Agent and Lender.[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Benihana (BNHNA) annual SEC income statement filing via Wikinvest.
  2. ^ a b Benihana (BNHNA) annual SEC balance sheet filing via Wikinvest.
  3. ^ "Company Profile for Benihana Inc (BNHNA)". Retrieved 2008-10-21. 
  4. ^ "Contact Us." Benihana. Retrieved on January 24, 2014. "Benihana Inc.[...]8750 NW 36th Street Suite 300 Doral, FL 33178"
  5. ^ Walker, Elaine. "Doral, Fla.-Based Benihana Discloses Secret of Its Success." Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News. May 26, 1999. Retrieved on January 9, 2010.
  6. ^ "Franchising Contacts." Benihana. Retrieved on January 9, 2010.
  7. ^ a b c "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. 
  8. ^ a b Gasparro, Annie (May 23, 2012). "Benihana to Go Private in Buyout". The Wall Street Journal. p. B6. Retrieved May 23, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Benihana Inc · 8-K · For 12/9/05 · EX-99.1". secinfo.com. 2005-12-09. Retrieved 2011-11-08. 
  10. ^ "Obituary". Legacy.com. Retrieved 2011-11-08. 
  11. ^ Ruggless, Ron."Benihana names new CEO as Schwartz retires." Nations Restaurant News. February 10, 2009. Retrieved, February 19, 2010.
  12. ^ Ruggless, Ron."Benihana begins work with turnaround firm." Nations Restaurant News. January 14, 2009. Retrieved, February 19, 2010.
  13. ^ http://online.wsj.com/article/PR-CO-20140205-911662.html
  14. ^ Benihana of Tokyo, Inc. v. Benihana, Inc., 906 A.2d 114 (2006)
  15. ^ "Kuwait Times Website". Kuwaittimes.net. Retrieved 2011-11-08. 
  16. ^ "Kuwait blogger sued over bad restaurant review - Media". ArabianBusiness.com. Retrieved 2011-11-08. 
  17. ^ a b "Kuwait blogger sued for posting dinner experience". gulfnews. 2011-02-01. Retrieved 2011-11-08. 
  18. ^ "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. Retrieved 2006-06-13. 
  • Rosengarten, David (2003). It's All American Food (1st ed.). Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 0-316-05315-5. 

External links[edit]