Benihana Launches New Anime Commercial

MIAMI, Nov. 4 -- Following up on its successful ad campaign featuring a tongue-in-cheek spoof of many martial arts box office hits, Benihana (Nasdaq: BNHNA BNHN) is thrilled with the launch of its latest television commercial featuring the magic of anime and guaranteed to capture the attention of younger diners who make up the new generation of Benihana loyal customers.

The fast-paced, action-packed thirty-second spot took over seven months to produce and included more than 9000 sketches developed in a collaborative effort of anime artists spanning two coasts and three continents. While it may look slick and sexy to the average eye, anime enthusiasts will recognize the deeply rooted Asian authenticity of the commercial created by professional stylists who were brought in to legitimize every aspect of the commercial, from the look of the wardrobe to the make of the motorcycle.

Produced at a time when American interest in Asian culture is at its peak, the commercial features a storyline both creative and authentic. Audiences will experience an animated action adventure featuring a young couple in love, a dramatic motorcycle chase scene and eventually a surprise birthday party at Benihana. The end result is an esthetically powerful vision originally created by Gad Romann, creative director of The Roman Group. "This is the first generation in American history that is not European-influenced," said Romann. "The agency's vision was to create something cutting-edge and stimulating that would talk to today's generation of Asian-influenced restaurant goers."

Kevin Aoki, Benihana Vice President of Marketing, recognizes the impact of effective branding in grasping the attention of new generations. "Benihana is fortunate that our branding efforts are capable of evolving with each new generation of diners. Young people today surround themselves with high-tech gadgets and are extremely perceptive to visual stimulation. Our anime campaign addresses these factors, showing that while the tradition of the Benihana experience has not changed, the face of the future is guaranteed to get your attention."

Benihana, now in its 40th year and one of the nation's largest chains of Asian restaurants, currently operates 70 restaurants nationwide, including 57 Benihana teppanyaki restaurants, five Haru sushi restaurants, eight RA Sushi Bar Restaurants and one Doraku restaurant. Under development at present are five restaurants -- one Benihana, two Haru and one RA Sushi. In addition, a total of 23 franchised Benihana teppanyaki restaurants are now open or under development in the U.S. and Latin America.

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