Benihana reports year-over-year increase of 5.7% in total restaurant sales to US$76.7M in fiscal Q3; company-wide comparable restaurant sales up 7% to US$76.4M

MIAMI , January 6, 2012 (press release) – Benihana Inc. (NASDAQ: BNHN), operator of the nation's largest chain of Japanese theme and sushi restaurants, today reported total restaurant sales and comparable restaurant sales for the final four-week period (December 5, 2011 – January 1, 2012) and the entire twelve-week period of the third fiscal quarter of 2012. The announcement marks the Company's twenty-fourth consecutive four-week period and its eighth consecutive quarter of comparable restaurant sales growth.

Richard C. Stockinger, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Benihana Inc., said, "We are very pleased with yet another period and quarter of excellent sales growth driven by increased traffic. Benihana Inc. has now produced twenty-four consecutive four-week periods, and eight consecutive quarters of comparable restaurant sales growth, in a very difficult consumer and economic environment. During this time frame, our core Benihana Teppanyaki brand has consistently produced comparable sales increases that led or were among the best in the category. This achievement reflects the continued strength of our iconic brand and the outstanding efforts of our entire Benihana team."

For the four-week period ended January 1, 2012, total restaurant sales increased year over year by 6.4% to $28.6 million from $26.9 million, and Company-wide comparable restaurant sales increased by 7.0% to $28.6 million from $26.7 million. By concept, comparable restaurant sales increased 7.1% at Benihana Teppanyaki, 5.8% at RA Sushi and 9.9% at Haru. These results were driven by traffic growth of 4.7% at Benihana Teppanyaki.

During the period, Benihana Teppanyaki represented approximately ­­72% of total restaurant sales, while RA Sushi and Haru accounted for 20% and 8% of total restaurant sales, respectively. There were 384 store-operating weeks in the final four-week period of the third fiscal quarter of 2012 compared to 388 store-operating weeks in the same period of the prior year.

For the twelve-week third fiscal quarter of 2012, total restaurant sales increased year over year by 5.7% to $76.7 million from $72.6 million, and Company-wide comparable restaurant sales increased by 7.0% to $76.4 million from $71.4 million. By concept, comparable restaurant sales increased 8.2% at Benihana Teppanyaki, 4.8% at RA Sushi and 3.6% at Haru. These results were driven by traffic growth of 6.4% at Benihana Teppanyaki.

During the quarter, Benihana Teppanyaki represented approximately 69% of total restaurant sales, while RA Sushi and Haru accounted for 22% and 9% of total restaurant sales, respectively. There were 1,144 store-operating weeks in the third fiscal quarter of 2012 compared to 1,158 store-operating weeks in the same period of the prior year.

The Benihana Teppanyaki restaurant located on W. 56 St. in Manhattan began temporary closure during the prior quarter for extensive remodeling. This restaurant has been excluded from reported comparable sales results during the temporary closure period, which ended December 11, 2011.

As previously announced, the Company will report future sales results only on a quarterly basis, consistent with customary restaurant industry practices.

About Benihana

Headquartered in Miami, Benihana Inc. (NASDAQ: BNHN) is the nation's leading operator of Japanese theme and sushi restaurants with 96 restaurants nationwide, including 63 Benihana restaurants, eight Haru sushi restaurants and 25 RA Sushi restaurants. In addition, 18 franchised Benihana restaurants are operating in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean. To learn more about Benihana Inc. and its three restaurant concepts, please view the corporate video at www.benihana.com/about/video.

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