Sunday, January 30, 2011

Benihana is Suing the Blogger of

LWDLIK- I am shocked to see this happen anywhere in the world. The blogger's post is a personal opinion of his dining experience and should in no way lead to such a response from a restaurant or company.

Benihana- I'm disappointed in you.

This is the comment left by Benihana on Mark's website in retaliation to a review he did of the restaurant.

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.

Mark Servo
1. I think Mr Servo should have commented after receiving full legal counsel first.
2. It's definitely not worth going to court over; in work time lost and legal expenses. I will be amazed if it gets to court.
3. Why not just take his criticism constructively, after all you admit he was a customer; it's not like he never ate there and made all this up?
4. Can you sue people who fill out comment forms honestly in your restaurant?
5. Don't you think the millions of YouTube videos would keep the courts way too busy for centuries?
6. You have single handedly done more for Mark's website with this than any blogger could hope for.

WTG Mark!


  1. Mark should probably have brought his experience to the manager's notice first though. But this is pathetic and so unprofessional. If Mark Servo 'respects opinion' then he should make efforts to talk it out and use the blog post as a basis for assessing what went wrong with the food, instead of threatening him with law suits. I'm sure he turned off a lot more people, damaging his reputation and Benihana's with his comment than Mark's description of the food did.

  2. Dear Mr. Servo:

    Blogs (like restaurant reviews in magazines) are personal perspectives.


    If it only opened recently, then take this as a way that you can improve upon your services and your business.

    What you should NOT do is take CUSTOMERS (paying I might add) personally. What do you do with your customer feedback cards when they aren't to your liking? Do you throw them in the trash or do you improve from them?

    Threatening to sue a customer is not the way to go.

  3. Mark's review did not change my opinion about trying out Benihana because people have different tastes.

    The fact they filed/will file a lawsuit against a blogger who gave his opinion is repulsive enough for me to not go there.

    Very unprofessional and such a petty thing to sue someone over. Get your act together and be the professionals you're supposed to be Benihana Group.

  4. That manager is very smart!

    Is there salad dressing like the one in the states? what about there dipping sauce?


  5. Hi Anon, Totally my thoughts too. Would have still gone to Benihana regardless of Mark's review (which I hadn't even read until the lawsuit). I'd heard pretty good things about the restaurant BUT I'm shocked at the reaction of the GM and now on principle will not go. Very unprofessional indeed.

  6. EB, I disagree!
    Even the old adage of 'even bad publicity is better than no publicity' doesn't do it for me. Don't know about the dipping sauce or the salad dressings and won't be knowing as not going. How much do you weigh? :OD

  7. Libel and slander laws are VERY different here in Kuwait
    PostaPlus delivered a package 1 day late and my company lost a contract worth millions
    i chewed the GM's ass on the phone and said I would 'spread the word' to my friends NEVER to use Postaplus
    The next day our company's lawyer called me in and I wrote a retraction to Postaplus to keep my job because they had started filling procedures against me and my company


  8. I read many blogs and take what they say in consideration. We were going to go to Benihana for dinner this weekend...however what the Manager is doing makes me not want to go there at all. It's immature the way the manager 3 year old expresses his feelings better to me.

  9. WOW, is all I can say!
    I regularly ready Mark's blog & find his reviews honest. He writes his opinion of his experience. How scary to hear that he has been served papers. What does this mean to local bloggers? I am interested to find out.
    Thanks again for keeping us informed

  10. @ Anon who thinks we are not in Kansas, I think Benihana would be much, much better off suing in Kansas, personally. And if you called the GM of Postaplus and behaved in that manner I'd fire you.
    You seem very ruffled about this. Your name's not Mr Servo is it?

  11. Dear Anon with the 3 year old, totally agree. Immature, unprofessional and poor customer service. Need some serious PR work Benihana and quick.

  12. Hi Nerissa, yes be interesting to see how this plays out. My money is on a judge dismissing this.

  13. BTW what the hell has Mark being Lebenese or from Timbuk-blooming-too got to do with things?

  14. It's a line
    from a movie
    Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz
    says to her dog, Toto
    "i don't think we're in Kansas any more"
    You didn't get it - you 'must' ;) be British...

    and my company would have won the contract - it was PPlus's laziness to keep the package at the Kuwait's airport for 3 days!!!!!!!

  15. That manager is so unprofessional, his email is not structured, doesn't make sense and mixes a hundred idea in one. He mixes brands and franchising company (how did Subway end up in that email!).

    And the comment at the end! "BTW are you Lebanese?": now that is a completely inappropriate after a long meaningless email.

    You can't take to court someone who said that they food was not to their taste, and you definitely can't state that the person insinuated to go to other restaurants instead.

    Now this post has changed my opinion about Benihana! Unprofessional management means unprofessional product, full stop.

  16. @ Anon- Those are some libelous remarks regarding Postaplus! Becareful! ;O)

  17. Hi,

    Benihana (Kuwait) reaction was unwise in my opinion. This is a PR fiasco of major proportion for them. However, since this is a legal matter at this point, one needs to look at it from this perspective. Almost all countries have anti-defamation laws and Kuwait is not an exception. The question then becomes: was Mark's review defamatory or slanderous? Did he accuse the company of doing something illegal without proof? That is the only justification for legal action in this case.

    I looked at his review and the plaintiff's claim and I saw nothing that can be interpreted as such, except for one tiny remark were he mentioned that the chicken meat tasted like it was raw. Serving raw chicken meat in restaurants is illegal in Kuwait and his comment may be construed as him accusing them of committing a crime. This is a stretch, I know, but I don't see any other legal bases for their ill advised action.

    I wish him good luck. At this rate, it will take Kuwait less than two years to become the world champion in wanton litigation.


  18. Hi Jambino, Thanks for the info it's very enlightening.

    Well my bubble has been truly burst :O) Looks as if Dorothy from Benihana might have a case after all. But will they win it? And if they do will they ever wake up from this PR nightmare ?

    I was reading that a blogger can be prosecuted but not a person making a comment (but even that could change very soon there is a case against a women on FB who got a little verbal with someone stalking her and now she's being sued).

    For bloggers there is a 'publish' option for articles or whatever we want to put on our blogs which, it seems, is what makes the difference.

    Much appreciated Jambino :OD

  19. I agree with pretty much most of what was said. I think that Mr. Mark should have a native english speaker or writer for that matter edit his letter and reflects on the type of GM that he is. The company that hired him should be looking toward Mr.M for his inability to be professional and 'customer orientated.' Is this the type of person any company would want to hire in such a high position to run a business??? I think HR needs to review and re-evaluate selection process for hiring! It is not the blogger that has done damage to the restaurant but the GM himself! Infact the GM could have taken this opportunity (if he were smart)and used it to his advantage and the restaurants. Oh well I hope it is a lesson learnt for Mr. Mark Servo!

  20. @ Anon- Be interesting to know how it all ends. Agree with you entirely.

  21. AnonymousMay 25, 2011

    "Dear Mr. Mark,
    We are from Benihana management of Kuwait; my name is Mike Servo the GM of the Company."

    and ending
    Mark Servo"

    Guess he really got confused with his own name :P


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