Benihana has revealed a 53% increase in its international footprint ahead of its participation at the International Franchise Show ’19 in London
Pioneering teppanyaki restaurant renowned for its flamboyant dining experience will open new restaurants in Egypt, Mexico and Pakistan this year in pursuit of its strategic expansion plan
UK, May 2019: Benihana, renowned globally for its unique entertaining teppanyaki-style dining experience, has today announced a successful start to 2019 with record international growth having been realised through its successful franchise programme. This news coincided with Benihana’s participation at the International Franchise Show 2019, at the ExCeL London (5 & 6 April), where the company explored additional growth opportunities.
The global restauranteurs revealed a 53% increase in its restaurant numbers with multi-market franchise agreements signed in Egypt (5 restaurants) and Pakistan (3 restaurants), and a single-unit agreement in Mexico; thus, creating a total of 29 restaurants across their global portfolio upon completion in the coming years. As part of the new agreements, restaurants showcasing Benihana’s iconic Teppanyaki dining experience will open this year in Cairo, Lahore and Mexico City featuring a fresh new menu and updated experience for guests. The brand is celebrating its 55th anniversary this year, in which time it has grown to be synonymous for its fast-paced performance of chopping and juggling by guest’s personal chef.
Expansion in the restaurant’s global footprint follows investment by billion-dollar Asian hospitality, lifestyle and restaurant leaders Minor International, that acquired a 75% stake in Benihana (BHPL) in 2018. Minor International has been a firm supporter of Benihana for more than three decades as the brand’s longest standing franchisee, and now before acquiring a majority stake. Minor has a proven track record delivering excellence and a superior dining experience as evidenced by their AVANI Atrium Benihana, that this week celebrated its #1 ranking of 11,516 restaurants in Bangkok by TripAdvisor. Following the acquisition last year, Richard Mackay formerly of Wagamama and Nozomi, was appointed as Managing Director and has been spearheading the business, and the expansion programme.
Benihana first opened its doors with just four tables back in 1964, entertaining guests was the legendary founder ‘Hiroki ‘Rocky’ Aoki.’ Operations now span across Asia (Indonesia, Pakistan, Thailand), Europe (Poland, Romania Slovakia, UK), the Middle East (Beirut, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the UAE), North Africa (Egypt), and North America (Canada, Mexico).
Richard Mackay, Managing Director, Benihana commented; “With the strong support and vision of Minor International, the Benihana Board of Directors and a strategic global network, we have embarked on an aggressive expansion of the brand to take Benihana into the future. We are by no means resting on our laurels with this recent success and continue to identify new partnerships, with a particular focus on opportunities in Continental Europe.”
Mackay continued: “The expansion plan is supported by a new, experienced development team across property, procurement, marketing and branding to help secure a further 55-year success story. With a five-year growth plan in action to open more than 40 new restaurants we are excited to share this exciting journey with our guests and partners. We are inspired by the success of our founder, Rocky Aoki who once said; “only those who do not fear failure will achieve success.””
Record growth comes hot on the heels of the recent opening of Benihana Glasgow (February 2019) that revealed an evolved, new look and feel for the brand, where guests experience a beautiful new design concept that marries authentic Japanese visuals with a modern palette and texturised materials. Furthermore, with the introduction of a new small dish menu to complement the popular Teppanyaki plates and a new partnership with Amsterdam-based The Cocktail Professor, the team is expanding the offering and bringing new and exciting options for guests.
Richard Mackay said of the new restaurant in Scotland: “As the first equity restaurant to open in more than 20 years, the opening of Glasgow was a marker for our future aspirations. This is an important period as we look to evolve, both through new bricks and mortar, as well as culinary experiences. I would like to thank the Benihana Board of Directors and Minor International in their support making the expansion a reality.”