Benihana: Traffic lifts 4Q sales

Benihana: Traffic lifts 4Q sales

Benihana Inc. on Tuesday credited increased traffic for lifting sales at its three Japanese restaurant chains in the fourth quarter.

The Miami-based company, which last month said it was exploring a possible sale [3], reported sales of $91.9 million in the quarter ended April 1, up from $81.4 million in the same period last year, which had one less operating week. Backing out the extra week put sales growth at 4.8 percent for the quarter, or $84.7 million.

Same-store sales increased 6 percent at Benihana, 2.1 percent at RA Sushi and 2.4 percent at Haru, the company reported.

Benihana has not yet released fourth-quarter earnings.

Richard C. Stockinger, Benihana’s chairman, president and chief executive, said in a statement that sales growth was “driven primarily by increased traffic.” The company said traffic at Benihana Teppanyaki, which accounts for 68 percent of the company’s sales, increased 5.9 percent over the prior-year quarter.

“Benihana Inc. has now produced nine consecutive quarters, including 27 consecutive periods, of comparable restaurant sales growth in a very difficult consumer and economic environment,” Stockinger added.

For the full year, Benihana reported sales of $350.4 million, up from $325.9 million in fiscal 2011.

The company owns and operates 96 restaurants in the United States, including 63 Benihana restaurants, 25 RA Sushi restaurants and eight Haru sushi restaurants. It also franchises 16 Benihana restaurants in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected] [4].
Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless [5]