Sample Analysis Paper of Benihana

Analysis of Benihana

Aoki started Benihana with the intention of making meals an expression of showmanship. The clients were treated to an entertaining cooking session the chief, and they had the opportunity to see their food in raw form and have in cooked as they observe. Americans knew very little about the Japanese cuisine before Benihana was introduced. They also had virtually no idea that the cuisine of japan was much more than the plain soup and raw finish that they were used to(Sasser 16). There was a need for the chefs to be entirely authentic in their skills, and that is why the firm sources these persons directly from japan where they have received rigorous training in the hibachi cooking.

Hibachi cooking entails the use of acrobatic feats by the chef as he prepares the meal for the patrons on a table that serves as a grill at the same time. Seeing the food prepared before their own eyes, the clients become even more convinced of the safety and hygiene of the food they are served. The purpose of this paper is to analyse the strategy that was used by Aoki as he started out the Benihana restaurants in 1964, and what made it so popular contributing to the growth of that chain of restaurants(Sasser 2). The 7-S model is going to be used for this purpose. The components of the 7-S model are as follows: strategy, structure, systems, shared values, staff, style and skills(Jurevicius par1).


Aoki felt that there was something wrong in the way that steak was served in America. He sought to find a better wayof serving it, one that would impress the clients and earn his restaurant a niche in the market. Hibachi cooking was the answer, and he named his restaurant that later grew into a chain of restaurants Benihana. The preparation and serving of steak using hibachi cooking is more interactive and entertaining compared to the impersonal service that other establishments were offering. There was also more effort put in making the meal as delicious as possible through the introduction of exotic spices. In a bid to satisfy the needs of the clients, the Benihana restaurants have also diversified by making beverages available for the patrons. This is to cater for those that might not be keen on the hibachi cuisine. The franchising method of expansion of this business has been rejected because it goes against the wishes and intentions of the founder. The franchising option is likely to increase profits at the expense of quality while making the management of the business difficult.


Structure is the most visible element of the organisation, and it is also the easiest to change. It refers to the divisions and units in the organisation and specifies who is accountable to whom in the organisation(Jurevicius par 5). A well spelled out structure ensure that there is proper communication and relationship between various persons and entities in the business. The organisational structure of Benihana. The management structure of the chain of restaurant is a simple one. It includes a manager, an assistant manager and two or three front men that are managers in training. This system is found in all the restaurants, and the managers are answerable to the manager of operations who in turn reports to the vice president in charge of operations and business development.


The system is inclusive of the processes and procedures that take place within the business. These reveal the actual activities of the business and are very important when a change is taking place in the enterprise, as they are the ones that get affected by a change in the organisation(Jurevicius par 7). The most notable aspect of the systems in place at Benihana is the process followed in the recruitment of the chefs. All the chefs in these establishments are native Japanese that have been intensively trained in hibachi cooking. They are taught English and the intricacies of the American culture before they are brought to come and work in the Benihana restaurants in America. Handling of these chefs requires a person that understands their background, and that is why the management in the lower levels consists of exclusively Japanese. The procedure followed in the serving of clients is also well established. It includes the assignment of the patrons to a table of eight that at the same time serves as a grill. The chef approaches that table with a trolley that contains the steak, chicken, fish and other materials that he is to prepare for the client. As the chef cooks, he entertains the patrons with knife handling skills. This rouses the interest of the patrons such that they do not realise it as time passes and their steak gets ready.

Shared values

These are inclusive of the standards and norms that direct the behaviour of the employees and company actions as well(Jurevicius par 8). Benihana is committed to provision of quality services to its clients, and that is the reason why the franchises were recalled after it was discovered that quality was getting compromised in those outlets. The founder of the business treats the employees in a paternal manner keeping them comfortable and happy. This is reflected in the services delivered by the workers to the clients.


The entails the type and number of employees that are required by a firm in order to deliver effectively.  This component is also concerned with the training, motivation and rewards for the employees(Jurevicius par 9). The most significant employees of Benihana restaurants are the chefs. They are of Japanese heritage and are trained for this job in Japan. The number of chefs in each restaurant is dependent on the amount of space available and the number of tables accommodated.


Refers to the way the company is managed by the top level managers. The top level manager of this company is the founder. He is very accommodative of the employees, most of whom are Japanese. His style can be described as paternalistic.


These are the capabilities and competencies possessed by the employees(Jurevicius par 11). The chefs of Benihaha are highly skilled in hibachi cooking as a result of having undergone intensive training in Japan. The management of this chain of restaurants is also very skilled in handling of people and resources as can be deduced from the way that the founder treats the employees.

Changes required in new strategy

            The intention by Aoki to venture into Japanese fast foods requires a change in the strategy, system, staff and skills as per the 7-s model. The strategy to major in hibachi cooking will most likely be replaced with diversification of the types of foods made available. The procedures and processes of running a fast food establishment are different from those used in the firm presently, hence will have to be added to the existing system. The staff required for hibachi cooking has to be highly qualified, while in the case of fast foods, they do necessarily have to be intensively trained. The skills of the workers at the fast food establishments do not need specialised skills; hence it will be easier for the firm to now higher employees who are not Japanese. All in all, the change that will occur as a result of venturing into fast foods will be of an incremental nature.



Works cited

Jurevicius, Ovidijus. ‘Mckinsey 7S | Strategic Management Insight’. N.p., 2013. Web. 22 May 2015.

Sasser, W. Earl. Benihana Of Tokyo. 1st ed. Harvard Business School, 2004. Print.