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Blogger Sued By Restaurant For Bad Review

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the no-steak-for-you dept.

Idle 166

Voulnet writes "A recently opened Benihana branch in Kuwait sued 248am.com, a well known Kuwaiti blog, for posting a bad restaurant review about its food, asking for the blog to be shut and more than $17,500 in damages (5000 KD). Kuwaiti bloggers everywhere have announced their support for the reviewing blogger; even though it is highly unlikely the restaurant will get anything from the court, since journalists are almost always favored in libel cases in Kuwaiti courts. It seems Benihana hasn't heard of Cooks source magazine."

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166 comments

Streisand effect in 3...2...1... (4, Insightful)

Even on Slashdot FOE (1870208) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073294)

Oh wait, I'm fairly certain it has already started. Too bad I'm not going to Kuwait so I can snub these people. Still, they have all the bad publicity they could ever wish to avoid.

Re:Streisand effect in 3...2...1... (1)

bradgoodman (964302) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073394)

BIG-TIME Streisand Effect! This is like the third or fourth place I've seen this posted today!!

Re:Streisand effect in 3...2...1... (4, Funny)

reub2000 (705806) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073480)

Slashdot effect in 3...2...1...

Oh wait, I'm fairly certain it has already started.

Re:Streisand effect in 3...2...1... (1)

cowboy76Spain (815442) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073782)

Whatever...

I somewhat doubt that they worry about what you or me think about them, their only trouble is the Streissand effect in Kuwait.

Re:Streisand effect in 3...2...1... (1)

BluBrick (1924) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073828)

I'm going to snub these people whether I go to Kuwait or not. No way these folks are getting any of my hard earned (dinars? riyals?). Nuh-uhh!

Re:Streisand effect in 3...2...1... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#35076248)

They have Benihana restaurants here in the states, too. And in other places. Why not just avoid them?

Your posting style looks familiar. I wonder who this is a later account for?

I'm for free speech and all (4, Funny)

TommydCat (791543) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073300)

but... those dudes have really large knives!

Re:I'm for free speech and all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35074618)

And over here we have idiots with guns.

Eh, it was probably right (4, Insightful)

jandrese (485) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073348)

Benihana isn't bad, but it is badly overpriced for what it is. Unless you're lucky to get the chef who really knows how to put on a show it's simply not worth the premium over all of the other Japanese steakhouse options. The food is alright, but unexceptional--you're paying mostly for the show. If the show isn't outstanding, the whole thing tends to be a waste of time.

This also means reviews for those Steakhouses can vary quite a lot, depending on who the reviewer got that evening.

Re:Eh, it was probably right (4, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073530)

You're missing the point - it's not about the food, it's about them thinking they can silence any criticism by suing. Whether or not you like Benihana, taste is subjective and opinions are usually protected speech in countries that still believe in free speech. He doesn't have to like Benihana, and he sure is allowed to tell the whole world that he doesn't like it - whether Benihana likes it or not. One would expect a chain with a halfway decent customer service/PR department to try and address the issues, not launch lawsuits. IN MY OPINION Benihana behaved foolishly, and I certainly will never eat there because of this. There are plenty of other, less pretentious restaurants. I'm sure this will cost them far, far more than $15,000 worldwide.

Re:Eh, it was probably right (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074068)

Are Benihana restaurants company owned or franchises? *Especially* if they're franchises, it seems unwise to punish the entire chain (including other franchises, if that is indeed what they are), for the actions of one particular store.

Re:Eh, it was probably right (2)

lostmongoose (1094523) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074410)

It's plenty fair to punish the whole chain. If the corporate HQ allows a franchise to act like this without having their franchise license revoked, then you boycott the whole chain. It's like boycotting Activision. You don't just boycott Activision's own stuff, you boycott any devs who sign up with them for publishing too. You choose to do business with an entity of questionable ethics, you suffer the consequences. In this case that would be any franchisees as well as wholly owned locations.

Re:Eh, it was probably right (1)

hurfy (735314) | more than 3 years ago | (#35075202)

There are apparently 2 "chains"

US, Central and South America are a diferent chain, and didnt seem too impressed.

The other HQ had no comment yet. Benihana of Tokyo (in New York!) The name alone is.....well nm

pretty entertaining comment section...i hope their lawyer eats A LOT of food....doesn't sound like many others there plan to :O

Re:Eh, it was probably right (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 3 years ago | (#35075058)

Yes, they are.

Which I only know after searching Wikipedia to figure out what the hell everyone was talking out, the uncultured slob that I am.

Re:Eh, it was probably right (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 3 years ago | (#35075394)

I asked an either/or question, and you answered "Yes".

(According to Wikipedia, the parent company does franchise, as well as own some stores.)

Re:Eh, it was probably right (3, Interesting)

jandrese (485) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074126)

Does Kuwait even have protected free speech? I know it's pretty liberal by Middle Eastern standards, but that's not saying much.

Re:Eh, it was probably right (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074896)

Kuwait is not liberal by Middle Eastern standards. Bahrain, the UAE and Israel are liberal by Middle Eastern standards, Kuwait is moderate, but still pretty conservative.

They are liberal on religion though, allowing Churches and Synagogues.

Alcohol is outlawed.
Worst on Human Trafficking by the State Department.
Eating and drinking in public during daytime in the month ramadan is banned.
Women are also prohibited from jobs that "contravene with public morals" and that require women to be in otherwise all-male environments.
Homosexuality and cross-dressing are treated as crimes and signs of immorality.

interesting euphemism: Middle Eastern standards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35076136)

Don't you mean "liberal by Muslim/Arab standards"? Israel has free speech, gender equality, protection for minorities, debates about gay marriage, as in most western countries.

Re:Sue (2)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074144)

Problem is, we're just on the turning point where stifling lawsuits work.

Your Country May Vary, but it only takes about 3 more dumb laws to make it game over.

Re:Eh, it was probably right (2)

zonky (1153039) | more than 3 years ago | (#35075332)

He implied that the chicken was tasteless- fine. He said it was becuase it was undercooked raw, which now means he's accused Benihana of trying to poison/kill people. Which is certainly not so fine.

Re:Eh, it was probably right (1)

starfishsystems (834319) | more than 3 years ago | (#35075386)

One would expect a chain with a halfway decent customer service/PR department to try and address the issues, not launch lawsuits.

Agreed. And... it's a restaurant chain. That shifts matters considerably, in my opinion. I can understand how a single small restaurant can feel itself exceedingly vulnerable to criticism. Fair criticism and fair praise are how a restaurant becomes known, so any decent restaurant will welcome both, but unfair or malicious treatment is another matter. It can really hurt real people.

A restaurant chain, on the other hand, is not at all the same as a hardworking chef or two and a few staff. It's a corporation, not part of the neighborhood but parasitic of it. As a matter of personal taste, I despise such places. And I can see no valid reason why that point of view should not be protected speech.

Re:Eh, it was probably right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35073666)

(looks up on internet) Oh, so it's an American chain restaurant, like McDonalds or Burger King or Taco Bell? Since when are they known for their food?

Re:Eh, it was probably right (2)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073936)

Yes because everyone knows that every American restaurant is the same quality as every other one. And you named 3 fast food franchises, Benihana is a sit down restaurant - hardly in the same category. Nice try at drumming up anti-US sentiment though.

not implying anything, nosiree... (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073978)

So, it's an American restaurant like Outback, Olive Garden or Red Lobster?

Re:Eh, it was probably right (3, Informative)

Fallen Kell (165468) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073716)

That said, I don't think the show had changed since it the places have opened. You get the shrimp tail flip to the chef's shirt pocket or hat, the onion "volcano" from oil/water, the "egg roll" joke (at least in English speaking ones), the beating fried rice heart (assuming you ordered the fried rice, same with the egg roll since it is normally when they are cooking the fried rice), and then you get some salt/pepper shaker tapping/flipping, and maybe some skilled knife-work....

Re:Eh, it was probably right (3, Informative)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073862)

They used to do a lot more.

I remember when they'd do the flame-flash with the meat. (Cam'ron, Can't Hurt My Style, "Flame it like Benihana's...")

The juggling with various ingredients to make the fried rice.

A lot of it is skilled knife-work, no question. Then again, ever time I've gone with friends to Benihana, the food's been wonderful.

YMMV by location and by chef, of course. And that pretty much holds for any Teppanyaki place.

Re:Eh, it was probably right (1)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 3 years ago | (#35076532)

They are on the low side here. We have several great teppanyaki places here. The only thing keeping benihaha from obscurity is their past reputation, their name, that they had deep pockets when they picked their location and yuppies who have no taste.
There two locally owned teppanyaki places local to me and one fantastic sushi place. I love locally owned businesses as they pay taxes to local government and are a part of the community. In all three of those restaurants I am greeted by name if the server knows me and I've never gotten a bad meal.

You have to go look for them rather than stop in the mall's choke and puke outlot area or the faux trendy areas with 'upscale' chains that slop mystery sauce and near dehydrated veggies in a wok and serve it too you without having too much of the cooks sweat as an added awesome sauch.

Re:Eh, it was probably right (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073898)

it's simply not worth the premium over all of the other Japanese steakhouse options.

Or even options that serve real Japanese food.

As long as the review was honest... (2)

errxn (108621) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073412)

...Benihana really doesn't have any room to complain. On the other hand, if the blogger was pulling a Deadspin vs. ESPN move, they *should* go after him.

The Wrong Way to fix this (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073478)

If "we" wanted to get nasty about this we could just go ahead and 1 write actual letters to the corporate office in protest 2 boycott the place 3 do both

Now what should have been done is the operator should have contacted the blogger and then sorted it out privately
(hint comp a meal and figure out if its a product/training issue).

Re:The Wrong Way to fix this (1)

gknoy (899301) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073596)

You could DOS them with physical mail (but probably shouldn't), but very few of us live in Kuwait so a boycott might be less effective.

Re:The Wrong Way to fix this (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073892)

You could DOS them with physical mail (but probably shouldn't), but very few of us live in Kuwait so a boycott might be less effective.

If you were really serious, you'd move to Kuwait and *then* boycott them. ;-)

Re:The Wrong Way to fix this (1)

shawb (16347) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074742)

Benihana is a chain. There's a good chance you can boycott locally.

I ate there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35073494)

Their Khlav kalash is terrible but they do serve a good crab juice.

Google cache to slashdotted original (1)

bwintx (813768) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073594)

Here. [googleusercontent.com]

Re:Google cache to slashdotted original (1)

bwintx (813768) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073640)

Sorry to reply to my own post, but thought I'd also post a link to the Google cache of the review that got the whole 'storm started: Cache of review [googleusercontent.com].

Re:Google cache to slashdotted original (2)

sconeu (64226) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073730)

No way in hell is that libel. That's an ordinary restaurant review.

Re:Google cache to slashdotted original (1)

reilwin (1303589) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073856)

The linked videos of his visit are hosted on youtube and in one you can see the poor chef throwing his implements into the air and missing the catch several times.

Re:Google cache to slashdotted original (1)

Progman3K (515744) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074100)

Yup, I think the problem is with the clearly-inexperienced chef he was assigned. You can see the guy is new at it.
What do you expect though, newly-opened restaurant and all.
The chefs at that place should watch the video referenced by the article of a super-chef at work, it would show them what to aim for.

Re:Google cache to slashdotted original (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074646)

Not only that but they don't have a leg to stand on as it is laid out as a standard critique. He points out when it is his own tastes (preferring a stronger sauce for instance) vs when it is just badly prepared (chicken was chewy) or bad ingredients (vegetables left bad aftertaste) .

So frankly unless reviews aren't allowed in Kuwait they don't have a prayer. The review was polite, pointed out where they had done well as well as where they failed, it was about as professional a restaurant review as one would expect from any experienced restaurant critic. After reading it the only thing they'll be able to claim is they don't like the public knowing their food sucks, but that is kinda the whole point of reviews isn't it? To find out what sucks and what is good before laying down your money?

Boycott? (3, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073602)

I'd say I was boycotting them in retaliation for this, but the truth is there was no way I was going to pay for their ridiculously overpriced menu in the first place! If I want expensive entertainment, I'll hire a stripper.

Re:Boycott? (4, Funny)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074084)

Charlie? You're already posting to Slashdot, right out of rehab?

Re:Boycott? (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074156)

I didn't go to rehab, I went straight to the "two and a half cocaine-addled womanizers" set today and started working again. And if I wanna eat something that smells like sushi, I'll hire a porn starlet!

anybody read the review? (2)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073610)

Just curious. Everybody assumes it's big bad evil corporation vs little guy. Maybe it really is libel? People can get pretty vicious in their blogs, because they think they are invincible internet supermen.

Re:anybody read the review? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35073786)

It's probably not in English. Makes it hard for us to read.

In the US at least, the key to libel is that the statements have to be false, and further, the writer has to KNOW that they're false or display other recklessness. If I say you are a child molester, and you actually are, you can't sue me for libel. However, if you aren't, you need to prove that I made it up; if you were arrested for it but acquitted (or charges dismissed), for instance, it would be hard to make a case for the second criterion. Oh, there also has to be harm caused directly by the statements. These things make libel very difficult: if the business drops, the restaurant has to prove that customers stopped coming because of a false review. That's very difficult to do without rounding up the potential customers and asking them why they stopped coming, for instance.

But that's in the US. Who knows how it is in Kuwait.

Re:anybody read the review? (3, Interesting)

takowl (905807) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073816)

I read it before it was /.ed. It wasn't obviously libel: he more or less approved of the atmosphere, said two dishes were alright, nothing great, then laid into them on the quality of a couple more dishes. Of course, I have no way of knowing if he was telling the truth, or being paid by a competitor, but it read like a negative review, not a hate-filled diatribe.

Re:anybody read the review? (1)

imgumbydamnit (730663) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073868)

It's a straightforward critique; one ok dish, one mediocre dish, one really bad dish. No hyperbole, no profanity. Color Benihana Streisand.

Re:anybody read the review? (2)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074024)

Return question, why would he? What does he have to gain from slandering a restaurant chain?

Also note that this is his OPINION. Like all reviews. I might now follow this log because his taste in food matches mine, but what it eventually comes down to is that he states his opinion about the restaurant. Which is, at least in my country, his right to do. If I think your corned beef tastes like corned crap and I write that in my blog, I may well do so. I didn't like it and my opinion is that your food is no good.

Re:anybody read the review? (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074550)

Maybe it really is libel? People can get pretty vicious in their blogs, because they think they are invincible internet supermen.

Return question, why would he? What does he have to gain from slandering a restaurant chain?

You must be new to the interent - around here people are vicious, vindictive, etc... etc.. quite routinely whether they stand to gain in return or not.

Re:anybody read the review? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35074028)

Maybe it's defamation of character.
Assuming that corporations are treated as people then shouldn't they have the same rights?

Re:anybody read the review? (1)

JumperCable (673155) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074032)

Here is Benihana's General Manager's (Mike Servo) stated case against the blogger:

You mentioned clearly on a detour way on not to go to Benihana and go to Maki or Wasabi or Chocolate Bar and we believe that this is against the law of Kuwait, We respect our rights on not to advertise in your website and if we don’t, this will not mean that we will be hurt by your side and if this done, the court in Kuwait will be in our side to give us our rights.

Re:anybody read the review? (1)

D'Eyncourt (237843) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074242)

I did read the review before its site got Slashdotted and it was a relatively mild rebuke of the restaurant, saying that it was new so it might be understandable not to have everything fully running but since he had other options for Japanese food the reviewer wouldn't be returning, the "Benihana experience" not being enough of a draw. It got a bit more angry in the comments because the manager of the restaurant obviously was attempting to "astroturf" the review with counter reviews supposedly from different people but apparently from the same IP. The reviewer did NOT accuse the restaurant of illegal or unethical practices, only of unnotable presentation of mediocre food.

Also, the legal actions seem to be the responsibility of the manager of the restaurant and not at all related to Benihana of Tokyo as a corporate entity. Cory Doctorow actually contacted their COO in his article at BoingBoing [boingboing.net] and said exec understandably refused to comment directly about the suit.

Re:anybody read the review? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35076440)

Why should it be illegal for him to libel them? If his reviews are inaccurate, people will stop reading them.

I ate there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35073706)

it was actually shit.

Re:I ate there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35074104)

But good shit.

Cooks Source vs This (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35073722)

What does plagiarism [wikipedia.org] have to do with a claim of libel - nerd rage ? As the blog has been slashdotted and there's no way of knowing what the deal is about from the one-sided summary, should I get my ire up for what may well be a legitimate complaint ?

Cached report on lawsuit from blog & review (4, Informative)

JumperCable (673155) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073798)

Bloggers article on being sued:
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:DeHc7_jwEEQJ:www.248am.com/mark/kuwait/im-being-sued-by-benihana/+http://www.248am.com/mark/kuwait/im-being-sued-by-benihana/&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a&source=www.google.com [googleusercontent.com]

Blogger's original review:
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:Q4qRyLrkfa4J:www.248am.com/mark/kuwait/my-benihana-experience/+http://www.248am.com/mark/kuwait/im-being-sued-by-benihana/&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a&source=www.google.com [googleusercontent.com]

My Benihana Experience

A few days back I posted about Benihana opening up at the Avenues and yesterday night I decided to pass by with Nat and try it out. The service wasn’t too bad for a restaurant that’s just been open for a few days and the staff were really friendly. The restaurant itself is made up of islands and bars with a grill in the middle of each one. You sit around the grill and the chef will come to your table and prepare the food right in front of you which makes things entertaining. It’s actually why I prefer sitting at the bar in Japanese restaurants in general, since you can talk to the chef and watch them put your dish together. The problem with my experience last night though was with the food, it was disappointing to say the least.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wllrtj-3rV4 [youtube.com]

We ordered beef negimayaki for starters followed by an Orange Blossom maki and a Hibachi Chicken. The negimaki arrived looking good and was probably the best thing we had there even though I prefer Maki’s negimaki which has a richer teriyaki sauce. The Orange Blossom was very ordinary, wouldn’t order it again. Now the Hibachi chicken which is basically grilled chicken, that was the worst. The chicken was very chewy (I could swear it was undercooked if not raw) and tasted terrible. Even after I had the chef add some more teriyaki sauce in hopes of improving the taste it didn’t work. I tried to dip it into the sauces that came with the chicken but it was hard to figure out if they were actually making things worse or not. Nat only ate one piece of chicken and left the rest while I needed my protein since I’m on a strict diet and forced myself to eat my whole plate (I can do that) but the after taste was really bad. Even the rice and the veggies that came with it tasted bad AND were under cooked. Once we left I considered picking up a frozen yogurt from Pinkberry even though I hate frozen yogurts but I just needed something to get rid of the aftertaste. A few moments later we ended up at Chocolate Bar ordering the gooey chocolate cake (bye bye diet).

\
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAyPBFxNQlw [youtube.com]

I shot the two videos above of the chef preparing our meal. Benihana are known for the live shows they perform when preparing your dish so I was expecting to see [This] but ended up with the above . Would I go back to Benihana? No I wouldn’t. Their sashimi and maki’s are pretty cheap (KD1.5 for 5 pieces of Salmon sashimi for example) but there are two other Japanese restaurants at the Avenues, Wasabi and Maki, and I would prefer either one of those to Benihana.

——————————————-

Update: Comments have been closed.

Update2: If you read the comments below you will see that the Benihana GM Mike Servo threatened to sue me. Well, Benihana have actually gone ahead with the lawsuit, I got served my papers and my court date is in March. I have been receiving a lot of support from people via twitter, email and blogs. For now my lawyer has advised me not to discuss the case or talk about Benihana, but as soon as he gives me the go ahead I will be sharing all the details. For now here is what other people are saying about this:

Update3: Here is the court order and more details regarding the lawsuit [Link]

The Benihana's General Manager's comments on his blog:

Mike Servo says:
December 16, 2010 at 5:08 pm

Dear Mr. Mark,

We are from Benihana management of Kuwait; my name is Mike Servo the GM of the Company .

Thank You for visiting us in our restaurant and dining in with your wife .I had found your comments and in your web site on Benihana.

I also found it out that our rights and name is being used in a wrong way and broadcasting the video without a proper consent from us is really annoying specially Benihana is just opened up its doors to the public.

We are seeking and consulting our legal dept. on how we can form a type of law suit against your website to be brought up to the Kuwait authorities.

We respect opinion, but we see it in a way that Benihana name have been destroyed and abused on your website.

We are eager to know your name and meet you personally if you don’t have anything to hide.

You mentioned clearly on a detour way on not to go to Benihana and go to Maki or Wasabi or Chocolate Bar and we believe that this is against the law of Kuwait, We respect our rights on not to advertise in your website and if we don’t, this will not mean that we will be hurt by your side and if this done, the court in Kuwait will be in our side to give us our rights. to make this conversation short . We want you to give us your information, your name, your number and your address so our lawyer will take it from there and be sure that you in Kuwait were the jury is
100 % clean and fair.

We also expect that you might be sending people to Benihana to make a play and that is why we have informed the CID about that, In the past we encountered your add in Subway and it is one of our companies franchise, we really didn’t give it any attention, and it very clear now that Subway is an elephant while other competitors are closing down, however this time we will not let it go and we will follow you legally.

This is the last comment from my side and LPRC side; we wish that you will be free to give us your info. BTW are you Lebanese?

Thank for your concern and we have that you are brave to give us your info and we will meet in court soon.

Salute,

Mike Servo

Mike Servo says:
December 16, 2010 at 5:37 pm

@mark

Even you block and filter our letter to you , this will not stop us on filing a law suit against you and your website.

Mike Servo says:
December 16, 2010 at 6:52 pm

@ marzouk

you made up your mind before visiting our store ,however ,we still wish you being our customer in benihana , we ask the information about MARK and i dont think that this is an abuse and also everybody knows the law of kuwait is 100 % fair .Mark said in a detour way ” that dont go to Benihana and instead go to Wasabi , Maki or Chocolate Bar , we are suing him for that , and if these not a crime then the judge will say so , at the end i dont really want to continue to each and every comment , because i made my decision and the company’s wide and clear.and he must be brave to show us his info’s .

Re:Cached report on lawsuit from blog & review (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35073942)

Looks like the amateur benihana training site

Re:Cached report on lawsuit from blog & review (2)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073972)

He called one dish ordinary and did not like the chicken? That's all?

I had assumed he claimed the Benihana chef had sodomized a goat at the table or something. Is this just a franchise suing or an international corporation? I have a hard time believing this action was authorized by anyone far up the food chain at a large corporation.

Re:Cached report on lawsuit from blog & review (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35074010)

"(I could swear it was undercooked if not raw)"

It might be that one sentence in parentheses.

Re:Cached report on lawsuit from blog & review (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074164)

Benihana was the cheap option? I have to wonder where this guy normally goes.

It's the videos (1)

rsborg (111459) | more than 3 years ago | (#35075158)

They're doing the equivalent of what you do in the US: claiming copyright/DMCA takedown, effectively because he took the videos inside the Benihana's and then published them.

I honestly think Benihana have done a wrong move here (streissand effect and all), but they may actually have a case against this blogger if he took and published video and that was against the restaurant policies and/or local law.

Re:It's the videos (1)

Travelsonic (870859) | more than 3 years ago | (#35075296)

Against policies =/= against the law in the U.S at least. they'd have one hell of a time perverting the intent/design of copyright and/or the DMCA to fit such a premise.

business as usual (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35073900)

From my experience running several restaurant review sites ( www.foodpages.ca www.foodpage.us, etc..) it seems like the restaurants having various internal issues and problems, are the ones issuing legal threats over negative reviews. I get such threats every day - just got one 5 minutes ago - from a disgruntled restauranteur, although I was not the one who wrote the review, simply the one who runs the site that published it.
I also found out, that some of the restaurants issuing the most threats, are the ones that eventually went out of business. Not because of the bad review - I hope.

Re:business as usual (3, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074048)

Don't feel bad if your review contributes to a restaurant going out of business. If it's a BAD restaurant, it deserves a bad review and deserves to go out of business. You're doing a community service in both your action and the effect it helps bring about.

Dammit. (1)

QuantumBeep (748940) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073910)

God Dammit. I love going to Benihana, and now I can't go there anymore.

Re:Dammit. (1)

Ogive17 (691899) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074570)

Just going to take a wild guess and assume you probably would never be near the one in Kuwait. Just because the GM of the Kuwaiti Benihana is a jackass doesn't mean they all are around the world.

Don't feel bad if you like the local one.

Benihana Contact Information (3, Informative)

JumperCable (673155) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073950)

Contact information for Benihana in case you want to call and complain:

http://www.benihana.com/about/franchise/contact [benihana.com]

Phone: (305) 593-0770

Corporate Youtube account:
http://www.youtube.com/benihana [youtube.com]

Corporate Facebook account
http://www.facebook.com/Benihana.Official.Page [facebook.com]

Corporate Twitter account
http://twitter.com/Benihana__ [twitter.com]

Website contact page
http://www.benihana.com/contact-us [benihana.com]

Re:Benihana (of Tokyo) Contact Information (1)

JumperCable (673155) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074372)

It looks like Benihana has another branch for dealing with other international locations.

Additional contact information:
http://www.benihanagroup.com/contact.html [benihanagroup.com]

Phone: 212-421-7144

Re:Benihana (of Tokyo) Contact Information (1)

need4mospd (1146215) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074464)

According to Benihana, that's not just "another branch", it's an entirely separate corporate entity. So Benihana of Tokyo, or the benihanagroup.com contact page would be the correct place to voice your complaints.

Re:Benihana Contact Information (1)

Sarcileptic (1141523) | more than 3 years ago | (#35075380)

The blogger isn't being sued by Benihana. According to the court order translation, he is being sued by a corporation (Las Palmas Company) that owns many restaurants, including the Benihana franchise reviewed. Of course, Benihana would want to know if Las Palmas is giving them a bad reputation.

Re:Benihana Contact Information (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35075660)

From Facebook:

Benihana
At Benihana, we continuously strive to improve our relationships with our guests and our community. We take any and all customer reviews very seriously and consider them opportunities for improving our operations and making the customer’s BENIHANA experience more unique, authentic, and enjoyable.

Over the last few days, we have read your posts regarding an alleged lawsuit filed by “Benihana” against a blogger based in Kuwait for posting an unfavorable review of a newly-opened, BENIHANA restaurant location in Kuwait. We hear you and wish to correct any misinformation.

The BENIHANA brand is co-owned by two separate and distinct corporate entities – Benihana, Inc. and Benihana of Tokyo, Inc. We, Benihana, Inc., own, operate and franchise nearly 100 BENIHANA restaurants in states and countries throughout the United States, Central America, South America and the Caribbean. You can find our locations by visiting the www.BENIHANA.com website. Benihana of Tokyo, Inc. owns, operates, or franchises BENIHANA restaurants in various other parts of the world, including, Kuwait. You can view Benihana of Tokyo, Inc.’s locations by visiting www.BenihanaGroup.com.

While we have a shared interest in the BENIHANA brand, we have no control over Benihana of Tokyo, Inc.’s business or legal decisions. Consequently, we cannot comment or opine on the alleged lawsuit filed by Benihana of Tokyo, Inc. except to say that we are never pleased to hear of any BENIHANA customer’s negative experience. We encourage you to share your opinions and comments directly with Benihana of Tokyo, Inc. The company’s contact information is available on www.BenihanaGroup.com.

good way to destroy your own business (4, Insightful)

grapeape (137008) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074046)

Wow, nothing screams "the reviewer must be right" like suing the reviewer. Its probably more likely the place was already having problems and the owner got the bright idea that suing someone would be an opportunity to recoup losses.

Re:good way to destroy your own business (1)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | more than 3 years ago | (#35076024)

I think the astro-turfing attempts by multiple posters making similar posts at nearly exactly the same time intervals from the same IP does a pretty good job of that as well. Check out the comments on his blog.

Lemons into Lemonaide (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35074220)

Benihana is chopping up a marketing campaign. In some schools of thought, any mention is good marketing.

What does it cost to file a lawsuit in Kuwait?

What does it cost to advertise on the front page of every major Kuwaiti newspaper?

The press again serves the people's right to know -- so they can all line up at Benihana to see if the claim is true.

Benihana says thank you, 248am.com.

When the press learns to distinguish news from hype, perhaps we might return to a society that has an effective Fourth Estate, keeping its eye on the hand in your pocket belonging to the corporate/government power mongers, instead of acting as a prestidigitatorial patsy for the powers that be.

--kwgm

Multiple Benihanas - non-USA ownership (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35074332)

Benihana, Inc (the USA brand) posted to their facebook page, at http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=10150150961749305, the following:

The BENIHANA brand is co-owned by two separate and distinct corporate entities – Benihana, Inc. and Benihana of Tokyo, Inc. We, Benihana, Inc., own, operate and franchise nearly 100 BENIHANA restaurants in states and countries throughout the United States, Central America, South America and the Caribbean. You can find our locations by visiting the www.BENIHANA.com website. Benihana of Tokyo, Inc. owns, operates, or franchises BENIHANA restaurants in various other parts of the world, including, Kuwait. You can view Benihana of Tokyo, Inc.’s locations by visiting www.BenihanaGroup.com. While we have a shared interest in the BENIHANA brand, we have no control over Benihana of Tokyo, Inc.’s business or legal decisions.

There's a better way. (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074614)

If I were the manager I would have written him an email saying his experience was not typical and that he should come back and have a free meal on the house. Suing him seems much less likely to have a favorable result, given the nature of the complaint.

Also, if the chicken was undercooked, why didn't he just ask the chef to cook it longer? He's right there.

Corporate or local franchise decision? (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074924)

I wonder exactly what entity is suing this guy: the Benihana corporation, or just the local franchise owner? At least the stupidity can be contained if it's the latter. If it really is the former, perhaps a global boycott of Benihana everywhere is in order?

They will not have my business (1)

mpmansell (118934) | more than 3 years ago | (#35075018)

I cannot imagine that the parent company cannot contractually discipline a franchise should they bring the brand into disrepute.

Unless the brand owner takes action to disassociate itself from this action and withdraw support from this franchise, I will not set foot in any branch or franchise of this company world-wide because I need to know that I can exercise my rights to share my fair opinions without threat of legal action should I get bad service.

Happened to me on a book review (5, Interesting)

RobertinXinyang (1001181) | more than 3 years ago | (#35075048)

As a teacher I reviewed a book that I tried for one semester in one of my classes. The review was quite mixed. It wasn't terrible; but I definitely had no intention of using the book again. You notice that I am not naming the book here. That was part of the final agreement.

This has definitely put a damper on my willingness to provide honest comments about the books used in my classes. It has also impacted my willingness to experiment with different materials. I pick a safe book used by other teachers and I never recommend experimentation. In a litigious society, the safe way really is the best way.

Re:Happened to me on a book review (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35076198)

You were sued for a book review in Kuwait, or another country?

Re:Happened to me on a book review (1)

RobertinXinyang (1001181) | more than 3 years ago | (#35076476)

I wrote the review, and posted it to my blog, in China; but, the suit was filed in California, USA. The grounds for choosing a US court was that the internet is international.

Within China the publisher tried to file a criminal charge of "interfering with a trade good." However, it basically got laughed out along with the admonishment that the standard for a review is not even truth, it was a lower threshold than that. The threshold that I had to meet was that I honestly believed that I was was truthful at the time that I wrote it. Seeing as what I wrote was truthful, there was no way to get the complaint past initial review in China.

Re:Happened to me on a book review (1)

RobertinXinyang (1001181) | more than 3 years ago | (#35076546)

Just to clarify, in the end I was not out any legal fees and I agreed to remove the review and never mention the author, or publisher, in writing, again. It was still a rather lengthy and annoying ordeal for telling the truth. As it is said, no good deed goes unpunished.

Re:Happened to me on a book review (3, Insightful)

jelizondo (183861) | more than 3 years ago | (#35076502)

Sorry to tell you, that is the wrong way to go.

I was expelled from school for stating my opinions frankly and I got booted from my last job for the same reason. Between one incident and the other, more than 30 years passed, I will NOT learn to shut up

If you shut up before stronger opponents when you are right, then you have harmed the community where you live.

I always tell my daughters, "Better to live one minute standing up than a century on your knees"

May you live long and learn to stand up. It's not easy but it is what keeps the world from turning into a pit.

What's Benihana? (1)

DeathSquid (937219) | more than 3 years ago | (#35075326)

Sounds like some kind of crap chain restaurant passing off faux Japanese cooking.

Re:What's Benihana? (1)

jappleng (1805148) | more than 3 years ago | (#35076452)

You have no idea. They are all over California and it's overpriced takeout at a restaurant. I've seen some Asians but they weren't Japanese even though their theme is Japanese. I see this a lot in fast food places where they get an Asian to pretend that they are of that race so people feel like it's more authentic. Let me ask you something, what if the next time you went to a Persian restaurant and noticed that the waiter was actually Mexican trying to look Persian? There's a sense of hilarity and obscurity with this scenario and I for one giggle and die a little inside when it happens.

If you watched the video.... (1)

Technomonics (970384) | more than 3 years ago | (#35075780)

... you would have seen the MOST PATHETIC Japanese Steak House presentation I have ever seen. There is no wonder the food was under cooked. The "chef" should never have been given a knife. He dropped his tools MULTIPLE times and did nothing but pound metal on the side of the grill. It is obvious the management of that location location allows CRAP and should be brought to bear for the low quality, low-class presentation. Instead he now got WORLD WIDE ATTENTION to his "CON GAME." Pitiful, VERY Pitiful.
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