Hiroaki (Rocky) Aoki and Benihana's

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In 1964, Hiroaki (Rocky) Aoki opened the first Benihana's on the West Side of New York City. This would prove to be a beautifully planned opportunity for the young restaurateur in that the idea and marketing approach was unique. This concept has outlived other competitors as well as proved to be worthy of expansion. The concept has not changed in the forty years of the business. However there are certain opportunities that have displayed themselves to Rocky. This has proved to be difficult for the management to adapt to. There are questions of expansion, franchisizing, which has already been attempted, expansions into other realms of business and as well as selling products under the brand name. This of course will raise many different questions that must be addressed: 1.What exactly is being expanded?

2.Is diversification possible with the current brand name?
3.Can modifications be made to the current Benihana model?
The first question is easy to answer with the following graphs:

It should be obvious from these graphs that Benihana is currently selling an experience rather than a certain product. This three pointed model, food, service and atmosphere, is what has allowed Benihana to become so successful. This will help to understand the problems with some of these ideas that have been brought before the management. Expansion appears to be a possibility here. The idea of providing good food combined with an authentic environment and impeccable service, has proved to be a successful combination for Rocky. However, this expansion should be kept within the restaurant business. The idea of opening more Benihana"s should considered seriously. The keep points to look at here will be maintaining the exact replicas of the current restaurant. The possibility of doing this at a lower cost than the quoted $300,000 should be looked at. This may require more workers from Japan or possibly non-Japanese construction workers. This could...
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