Project Management

Project Management Case Study Of CSR in Benihana Restaurant

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Word Count

2800 words


Corporate Social Responsibility


5 Days

Assignment Criteria

For this assessment, you will prepare a report that examines how an organisation can increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the operational systems that produce its products and services.

The case study is based on the Japanese themed restaurant Benihana (which is one of three different types of restaurants run by the company (see a brief overview of all three)). Utilise the Benihana simulation used in tutorials to illustrate your arguments, analysis and recommendations in this assignment.

Steps in the process

  1. Identify and evaluate issues/problems with Benihana's Teppanyake restaurant's current operations using theory/ies covered in topics 1-7 (You can choose any specific Benihana as an exemplar – YouTube contains numerous videos from Benihana restaurants around the world).
  2. Provide a critical discussion of the key Corporate Social Responsibility issues facing Benihana restaurants.
  3. Based on your research and analysis, prepare recommendations (3 or 4) on how Benihana can improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the operations systems that produce its products and services.
  4. Prepare a report on your analysis and recommendations.

A brief overview of Benihana

The Benihana Company started with the descendent of a samurai warrior and a small Tokyo coffee shop. Just after the Second World War, Yunosuke Aoki (a samurai descendent and popular entertainer) decided to start a coffee shop with his wife, Katsu. Wanting to offer something different than other coffee shops in the area, Yunosuke Aoki rode his bike over 20 miles to purchase real sugar to serve in his shop.

This flair for doing something different caught the eye of his son, Hiroaki. As did the shop's name: Benihana. After college, Hiroaki (or Rocky, as he would become known) moved to the U.S. to pursue his dream of opening his own restaurant. One that combined his father's flair for doing something different with food that was truly memorable. But with little money to his name, Rocky's path was not an easy one.

He started by selling ice cream on the streets of Harlem while studying restaurant management at night. The ice cream business turned out to be very profitable, thanks in part to the colorful Japanese cocktail umbrellas he added to the treats, and he managed to save up $10,000 for his restaurant.

With his seed money in place, Rocky took out a loan and used it to start America's first teppanyaki restaurant on West 56th street. Named after his parents' Tokyo coffee shop, Benihana opened in 1964, featuring an authentic Japanese farmhouse interior and food prepared on steel grills right in front of customers.

His highly trained chefs delighted customers with intricate knife work and theatrics. Not to mention delicious food. But it wasn't until a legendary US food critic Clementine Paddleford gave Benihana a rave review that the restaurant really took off, paying for itself in just six months.

Soon after, Rocky opened a second location in New York and one in Chicago. And by 1972, there were six Benihana locations across the country, with more opening every day. Sadly, Rocky Aoki died in 2008 at the age of 69. But, his legacy lives on with more than 70 Benihana restaurants in the U.S. and across the world, and more than 100 million meals served.

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Assignment Solution

Benihana a Japanese steakhouse restaurant with hibachi idea initiated in 1964 in West Side, New York. This restaurant was established by Hiroaki (Rocky) Aoki, an opportunity seeker, who recognized the undiscovered needs in the American restaurant industry in the wake of having done an intensive investigation of the business.

His idea serves the unfulfilled needs of the business sector particularly the center salary specialists by giving colorful surroundings, the legitimate Japanese atmosphere, and offering new experience by having culinary experts cooked before clients. The thought immediately picked up the prevalence; brought about high benefits and quick extension. (Benihana, 2015)

Identify and evaluate issues/problems with Benihana's Teppanyake restaurant's current operations using theory/ies

Benihana Teppanyake restaurants have been in the steakhouse segment in the Japanese cuisine and eating out the industry for more than 40 years and offer more than a 100 stores worldwide. The major problems with the chain are that its operations are too stretched out globally with no centralized system of supply chain management, leading to lopsided and maladjusted pricing in different parts of the world. For example, the same portion size of a food item costs differently in the US, UK, and in Thailand. In the globalized world where customer reviews and feedback are commonly accessible to all, this creates problems of customer dissatisfaction

Another factor severely affecting the company's OR management is the integration of different layers of functional management within the same unit. A Gap Analysis may be conducted to pinpoint specific issues and problems with Benihana. The GAP analysis has identified for the management the CBP which are the factors of success that the management has defined for the business which can be improved, namely, product, service, process design, and quality standards (Hill & Jones, 2013). The gaps in these factors identified in the GAP analysis and CBP are discussed in detail below –

Product Gap

The gap in the product may be understood as the shortcomings between the company's and the customers' expectations, and what the company actually produces. Product consistency and uniformity may be defined as one of the major requirements and as per the customer reviews many restaurants especially the branch in New York has been unable to maintain that. The lack of consistency has been mainly identified as an operations management problem, as most of the times, the product had some crucial ingredient missing, such as avocados in the salad, etc. This may be traced to a lack of proper coordination and integration in the chain's management, as the company needs to be aware of the deficiencies in stocks and inventories across all the different branches.  Failure to do so may result in a lack of customer satisfaction (Russell & Taylor, 2009).

Service Gap

Several gaps in service have also been identified from the customer reviews, as the service by the waiting staff as well as chefs was far from satisfactory. This may be improved by an enhanced training program combined with a stricter monitoring and evaluation system.

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