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1. What are the differences between Benihana’s production process and that of a typical restaurant? How do these differences affect a customer’s dining experience? •Hibachi table: a combination grill and dining table

oThis concept allows customers to watch their food being prepared, and also means that they will be able to customize their order oEach table accommodates eight diners, with service being provided by a chef and a waitress. This gives them faster and more attentive service. oThis setup also keeps labor costs between 10-12% (typical for the industry). •Limited Menu

oCustomers are only offer a limited menu (steak, chicken and shrimp, staples of the American diet that make customers feel like they’re eating in a familiar place) in order to reduce inventory costs. •Japanese design and atmosphere

oAmericans who enjoy eating in exotic surroundings the experience they want, with quality food and service. oTrained Japanese chefs that demonstrate showmanship and have an entertaining cooking style that maximizes their dining experience. oCustomers enjoy an “authentic” but “safe” Japanese meal (no slimy things). •Enlarged bar/ lounge area

oBeverage sales account for 30-33% of total sales, above the average for typical service restaurants (Exhibit 1). oThis holding area would provide enough space for those waiting for seats, therefore reducing diners’ perceived waiting time. oAccommodates larger groups of business customers, which increases profits for the company.

3. Examine the design of Benihana’s operating system in detail. What major technology and design choices allow a typical meal to be served within one hour?

•The average turnover at the teppanyaki table was an hour, and up to an hour and a half in slow periods. •By eliminating the need for a conventional kitchen, the proportion of floor area devoted to productive dining space increased significantly which means the Benihana of Tokyo has the capacity to serve more customers at any point in time when compared with a restaurant that has the same floor area. •The group of eight is seated. The waitress then takes their order, brings soup, salad and beverages.

The chef then appears with the food cart and begins the show of making dinner. oThe wait at the bar beforehand, as well as the attentive service that’s given immediately upon sitting, makes sure that customers are hungry when they sit down and that they’re served as soon as possible. •Each table accommodated eight dinners, with service being provided by a chef and a waitress; each such team handled two regular tables. oHigher utilization rate of a chef and a waitress because after they finish with one table, customers of another table could give new orders or another table is seated with eight new customers oThe team of a chef and a waitress is fully devoted to that group of 16 people. In the traditional kind of restaurants, the chefs must continuously prioritize orders based on the cooking time and preparation time. •The cooked food is served directly to the customers. Consequently, there would be no delay due to mistakes because the customers could give direct requests to the chef to customize their meals. •Reputation as a lunch restaurant, with many dinner customers. oWhile the case mentions that lunch business was very important, close to 70% of customers listed that they were at Benihana’s for dinner. Therefore, customers adapted to the environment of a lunch restaurant and at more quickly.

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