Business Magazine

Benihana Kuwait Update

By Seabee
You surely must know that the big story in cyberspace is Benihana Kuwait, that's the Japanese-style restaurant franchise, suing a Kuwaiti blogger because, in what is a balanced review, he said he didn't like the food and wouldn't go back.
In my post on Monday I said the story needs to get as much exposure on the 'net as we can give it, and I urged other bloggers and social media users to expose these people.
You could hardly have done better!
It's all over cyberspace and now all sorts of media is picking up the story and joining in the universal condemnation of the crass stupidity.
There've been a couple of recent developments.
Michael Kata, COO and Executive Vice President of Benihana of Tokyo, who license the Kuwaiti franchise, told boingboing.net that the franchise agreement didn't allow them to order franchisees to sue or withdraw lawsuits, but that they were empowered to terminate the agreement should the franchisee bring the brand into disrepute.
As I said on Monday, that's exactly what they have done. It'll be interesting to see what the franchiser does.
The other development is a press release from the other half of the company, Benihana Inc. in Miami.
Obviously concerned at the effect of the stupidity on investors in their company, they're distancing themselves as far as they can from it.
Absolutely nothing to do with us, they say. There are two totally separate companies and we have no control or authority over what the other company does.
They take a dig at the franchisee, saying their half of the company seriously consider all feedback an opportunity for improving operations and We encourage you to share your opinions and comments directly with Benihana of Tokyo, Inc. The company's contact information is available on www.BenihanaGroup.com.
They're well aware what a storm the stupidity has created and that there's universal condemnation, and they clearly want us to let the franchiser know our feelings directly. The full press release is here.
By the way, if you haven't started at the beginning of this story, the original post with the restaurant review is here.
Like me, I don't think you'll see anything in the review that relates to the claims made in the lawsuit. The words Mark uses have no connection with the claims made in the writ.
boingboing have a translation, which includes: "And so, we order the payment of KD5001 as a compensation for the damages caused to the restaurant management and for encouraging large number of customers not to try the restaurant by insulting, doubting the quality and food served by Benihana and using expressions that disgust people from trying the food. The person has caused huge material damages to the restaurant, ethic damage to the restaurant's reputation as an international brand that has chains all over the world as well as hurt the restaurant's potential to expand in Kuwait by influencing all kinds of nationalities not to try a restaurant that offers a specific type of food that is subject to taste preference.
If anyone should be sued for causing 'ethic damage to the restaurant's reputation' it's their own management.

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