Benihana: Target Market and Freshly Prepared Food

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1. Examine the service delivery system of Benihana of Tokyo.

a. What are the flows?

A unique Japanese concept is used to deliver a food service to customers by serving freshly prepared food at the table by a chef using three basic menus. Since only fresh ingredients are used, storage is reduced to a minimum, i.e. 22% (including non-food areas as employee dressing room and office space) of total space compared to 30% in normal restaurants. The production flow is therefore very short, and limited to food being moved from the cooler room to the tables and being prepared at the table.

Supplier delivers inventories to organisation

To cold room


To tables

1 Chef and 1 waiter per table

Q1b. Where are the inventories held?

Inventories are negligible, and consist predominantly of fresh ingredients. The limited meat supply is stored in the walk in cold room.

Q2. What are the success factors?

-Concept of preparing and serving food at the table and combined with Japanese concept/culture is unique -Management owned due to uniqueness after franchising and joint ventures failed -Exotic ambiance/ "Different" environment

-High quality food and limited to three simple middle American entrees which contributes to minimal wastage -Quick service (average of 45 min.)
-Caters to business and pleasure customers
-Locality, central location (business districts)
-Highly trained
-Consistent level of standards
-Contract arrangements as well as good incentives resulted in low staff turnover -Correct (moderate) pricing
-Target audience (middle income)
-Optimised space utilisation
-Successful advertising strategy

Compare operating ratios with a typical restaurant (refer to exhibit 1)

ItemBenihana (%)Typical service restaurant (%)Comment
Food cost3038Lower
Beverage cost2025Lower
Back of house space2230Much lower
Employee benefits1032 to 42Much lower
Advertising100.75 to 2.0...
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