Benihana Announces Exploration of Strategic Alternatives

Benihana Inc., operator of the nation’s largest chain of Japanese theme and sushi restaurants, announced today that its Board of Directors is exploring strategic alternatives available to the Company, including a possible sale, in order to maximize shareholder value.  The Company stated that no decision has been made to engage in a transaction or transactions resulting from the Board’s exploration of strategic alternatives, and there can be no assurance that any transaction will occur or, if undertaken, the terms or timing thereof.

Richard C. Stockinger, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “The Board of Directors is enthused about the Company’s strong track record of financial and operational performance, and the strides we have made over the past year.  While the Board remains focused on the Company’s future and the goal of continuing the momentum in our business, it also believes that it is in the best interests of shareholders for the Board to consider strategic alternatives at this time.”

The Company also announced that it has engaged Jefferies & Co., Inc. as its financial advisor in connection with a possible sale of the Company.

The Company does not intend to disclose developments with respect to the progress of its strategic review unless and until the Board has approved a transaction, if any, or otherwise deems disclosure appropriate.

Headquartered in Miami, Benihana Inc. (NASDAQ GS: BNHN) is the nation’s leading operator of Japanese theme and sushi restaurants with 96 Company-owned restaurants nationwide, including 63 Benihana restaurants, 25 RA Sushi restaurants and eight Haru restaurants. In addition, 16 franchised Benihana restaurants are operating in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean.