Yes, Benihana are still suing me

Post by Mark

I know I haven’t mentioned anything about the Benihana case recently and thats not because they’ve dropped the case against me but because I’m trying to keep a bit of normality on the blog. Today though blogs around the world have taken my original Benihana review and reposted it on their blogs while twitter also lit up with supporters tweeting against Benihana’s actions. So, I decided to post a status update on the situation so far.

Yes, Benihana are still suing me

If you don’t know what all this is about here is a quick summary. Last December I passed by Benihana for dinner and then the same night I posted about my experience which wasn’t that great. The next day a person claiming to be the GM of Benihana commented on my post threatening to sue me for my review. A month later I got served with a court order, Benihana was suing me for posting a not so positive review.

After getting the court order and talking to my lawyer, I decided to share with everyone what was happening to me. Originally I had thought this lawsuit was just going to affect me but I quickly realized this lawsuit was bigger than me since the outcome of this case would affect all the bloggers in the region. The amount of support I started receiving from people was unimaginable. Bloggers and tweeters all around the world posted what they thought about this lawsuit and the media quickly picked up on it.

As of today the case still hasn’t been dropped by Benihana and I am still being sued by them. According to the court order they’re suing me for a yet undisclosed amount that will be over $18,000. I am not sure why they want my money and I really think this lawsuit is unfair. Being sued for a review that wasn’t even that negative is just ridiculous.

My court date is still scheduled for March 8th. Below are links to my previous Benihana posts. Thank you once again everyone for your support.

My Benihana Experience
I’m being sued by Benihana
Media coverage on Benihana post


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89 comments, add your own...


  1. meshari says:

    It’s quite funny…. here i thought only in the US you get sued for stupid things…Good luck Mark… I read the your review its just your opinion… I think for food everybody is entitle to their opinion… So I don’t like chocolate ice cream I like coffee instead is that mean I get sued for my choice…
    I am still thinking to go try Benihana so I don’t see your review will change my mind on trying it… but if I don’t or I like it sure I will say my point all depend if they can satisfy my test. In the end all depend on personal preferences. IT IS FOOD not an object… so it is all about cooking.

  2. Sahar says:

    We are all supporting you and the cause, what happened is ridiculous. Too bad their Beirut branch is great, now due to their behavior every branch of theirs disgusts me. When you posted the review it didn’t affect me, I was planning on going anyway, but with their attitude you can sense the bitterness in the food they will serve.
    Good luck Mark…

  3. K says:

    Stay classy, Benihana.

  4. Farsighted99 says:

    isn’t there such a thing as free speech anymore?

    wow!

    That’s amazing. Sorry to hear of your problems with them.

    • GTR says:

      i think they are practicing their own form of free speech ….

      in a democrat society, one does have the right to sue to protect what they deem is their private wealth from damage.

      Have they taken it to far… maybe. Again they do have the right tho.

  5. G says:

    BTW mark, r u lebanese ?

  6. DeQor8 says:

    sadly … Benihana Kuwait continues to remove ALL negative comments from their Facebook page … if you oppose the lawsuit, hit em where it really hurts and do not visit Benihana in Kuwait.

  7. maged says:

    what if mark posted a +ve review i guess mr (cant remember his name) would send him a thank you letter with a free coupon , really weird how a big chain cant defend themselves and took the easy law suit way instead of enhancing their food quality to attract more customers and gain a bigger market share.

  8. maged says:

    the below is a post on their facebook fan page.
    mark i guess you shoud suit the guy
    “thanks Benihana! it takes a lot of courage to take this move .. I have heard a lot of stories about this blogger and how he is blackmailing newly openned restaurants! either you give me money and free meals or I will spread fake reviews on the net and ruin your reputation by sending fake emails to the HQ company!! .. Is it a mafia of …media or what? How cheep! .. I think you did the right thing for the sake of all newly openned restaurants and you gave a load message on behave of kuwaiti companies “we cannot be threatened by anyone!”
    .. And if he didn’t do anything as he said and the case will fail.. why he is so scared?? you know why? because they nailed him this time..

    If its because the owner is kuwaiti and the competitors aren’t and they are paying the blogger to fight him!
    Then me and all my friends will stand with him .. give him all the support .. As they say “el kuwaiti anfa3” Finally, benihana remember that you are the best restu. ever!

  9. maged says:

    you check the posts on the facebook fan page really funny

  10. yasmine says:

    good luck with it – maybe if we can get this on TV?

  11. journal entries says:

    ever since they sued you for stating ur own opinion i have never stepped foot in it and NEVER WILL.. not bcoz of ur review but bcoz of their childish and immature response.. wain ga3deen?!

  12. Sara says:

    Mark

    Post about the time and location of the tiral .. we will come and support you.

  13. Jana says:

    I don’t think they can sue you for your opinion on your dining experience. But good luck.

  14. mi7sen says:

    We should do what Egypt did, but instead of Hosni Mubarack, we’ll go for Benihana. :D

  15. Truewords says:

    I prefer to go to Maki, Wasabi and Fusion. No Benihana for me. Good luck mark.

  16. Haitham says:

    Mark, your review was very well written. Not once in it did you explicitly dissuade anyone from going to Benihana. You expressed your opinion and what your future actions would be, i.e. to go to other restaurants in Avenues.

    They don’t have a case unless, SINCE WE ARE IN KUWAIT, wasta is used. You can NEVER rule that out. I find it funny that they are spending so much money on advertising yet all they are spending the money on in fact is repairing the damage they’ve done to themselves.

  17. Adam says:

    Travesty officially has a name! :)

  18. fatboy says:

    i’d rather starve than eat at benihana, and YES, thats how much this matters to me because this is NOT the best way to launch a new restaurant in kuwait.

  19. Chris says:

    Good luck. This case is insane!

    In a democracy, we each have the right to voice our opinions, and if that happens to be a negative opinion, then so be it.

    Hopefully the case will be thrown out of court.

  20. CrazYKiLLeR says:

    Hope you win the case! I for sure won’t be going to that restaurant! Not cause they’re sueing you, but due to the fact the customer is always right no matter the circumstances! They should have bought you in to try out their many of their other food dishes, that’s what I would have done to win popularity!

    To the owner of Benihana I’d recommend a new GM that’s if he was actually GM!

  21. HRMShaker says:

    My fellow blogger.
    I have just become aware of your situation and may I say that it is unethical and quite a childish move on their behalf.

    Know that I support you and this cause since it may turn into a pivotal moment for bloggers and their rights in Kuwait and the Middle East.

    I have reposted your original review on my blog. Hope it helps to get the word spreading.

  22. Totlacherin says:

    People is intelligent enough not to stop going to their favorite places just because “a blogger” said he didn’t like it. BUT I wouldn’t visit a restaurant which do not value feedback, and sue critics.

    I hope you win the case. Freedom of speech, freedom of taste…

  23. hamad says:

    This is so ridiculous! I never been to restaurant here in Kuwait but from what I’m reading and from the manager’s reaction, I don’t think I’m even considering to go there even.

  24. jojo says:

    Well they are getting free advertisment , even if negative at this time ! I did not know they r in kuwait, , now I know.

    • M says:

      exactlyy!! now I WANT TO GO and try Benihana…. is this all a scam and they r actually paying you to do this? after all “no press is bad press” … I wouldn’t be suprised if thats the case.

  25. Babar says:

    Jojo is right ! By anyways wish you all the best MARK….

  26. Kuwaty&proud says:

    Lol same day as my birthday :) Im with u mark…

  27. nomaddia says:

    Good luck Mark, I will be praying for you!

  28. That dude says:

    Businesses are ridiculous these days.

    Seriously, some high-school students can replace most of the employees in kuwait. It’s just that bad i mean seriously. I’m 18 and i know more about the food i buy in comparison to waiter. I know more about my connection than my ISP and i know more about the products am buying than the salesperson. It’s just too funny how no one is capable of doing what they are hired to do. In my opinion every business should have some sort of consultant that has nothing to do with the business, a pure outsider that will give feedback on a hypothetical decision because some businesses are that stupid and to some extent so are their customers. Most of the people against mark or with Benihana just fail to utilize proper language, suitable language and most of all an important point that makes sense!

    I hope it goes well for you Mark, but even though they shouldn’t have any grounds to sue you on if they have Wasta you’re going to need one hell of a lawyer and put up one hell of a trial.

  29. Cyc says:

    Goodluck Mark

    Btw effect supposed to be “affect”

  30. michael says:

    i think they took advantage of your post and made this a big deal so that they’d be under the spotlights. i didn’t like benihana when i saw their ads on the street now i just hate it =) they thought it would get them more ppl lol…FAIL!

  31. superfailz says:

    Benihanna is the LOLZ

    Have you seen where it’s located? right in between clothes shops, it’s stinking up the entire section with oil odors and such.

    الشعب يريد اسقاط بنيهانا loooool

  32. Steve says:

    These guys seem to be jokers. I have written to the brand owner Benihana of Tokyo Inc and have received a ridiculous response. As there was no response to my earlier mail to them, I posted an open letter to them on my blog. Got a prompt reply immd. The only issue is that it seems to be a lame reply, cleverly drafted by a legal person. End of the day the world is watching. Pity that such a good brand faces this kind of backlash.

    You can check their response at my blog

  33. Kuwait says:

    Breaking News: Benihana will be serving free food at their stall outside the courts on March 8.

    (And still no-one will be eating that)

  34. RooRoo says:

    You and other bloggers have a right to say what you want, but you need to take responsibility for it so you should have been prepared for some sort of backlash. Managers at Benihana have a right to defend their business, but they also need to take responsibility for their reaction and be prepared for backlash.

    Simply put, I don’t understand this feeling of shock or righteous indignation bloggers have. How come you think you can tarnish a business’s reputation and expect nothing to happen to harm your own interest? I’m not sure about this but you just may be powerful Mark because you have a lot of hits and it is possible that people will abide by your review and not go there and that could hit Benihana’s profits. SO what you wrote above, “I am not sure why they want my money” is nonsensical.

    Your review can hit their profits so they’re coming after yours. This is not Hyde Park, your blog is a business. Why are you so surprised?

    (Having said the above, I have no problem eating at Benihana despite that they’re suing you, they’re food is good and their service is super friendly. However, they really should have just invited you to come back instead of filing a lawsuit just for the sake of PR. Still, they have a right to defend themselves whichever way they choose.)

    • EDI says:

      RooRoo do you think Siskel and Ebert gave positive movie reviews the whole time? Do you think Jeremy Clarkson never gave a bad car review? How about Gordon Ramsey? Do you think he only gives out compliments to restaurants?

      Those people are incredibly way more popular than Mark and his tiny audience (sorry Mark!) and yet have the right to give their opinion even though it might hurt the movie company, restaurant or music band. What would Rolling Stone magazine be without their music reviews or Time Out with their restaurant reviews?

      • RooRoo says:

        EDI, by no means am I suggesting that Mark or anyone give positive reviews all the time. I’m merely astonished at how shocked everyone is that a private business would try to defend its name through the courts. It seems perfectly logical to me and should seem perfectly logical to Mark.

        You say people “have the right to give their opinion”. Why would you then deny a business owner’s right to defend his business’s name?

        The lawsuit is not a verdict, it is simply a lawsuit – a show of might by a business owner who doesn’t have the power that Mark has through his blog. Had I been the owner, on the other hand, I would have most likely invited Mark to come again so I can try to win him back as a customer and avoid this PR calamity. But I don’t have the right to tell a business owner what how to protect his business’s reputation and neither do you.

        The onus is on the courts to rule for or against this. If the courts rule AGAINST Mark then I understand bloggers getting pissed off and protesting. But getting so upset that someone would dare come after you, bloggers? WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?

    • Legally Inclined says:

      I didn’t go at first because I read Mark’s review. When I did go, I found it greatly exaggerated and liked what I ordered. He’s entitled to his opinion…but the legal system in our country is open to anyone. I believe that restaurant owners might choose to follow in Benihana’s footsteps, regardless of whether or not they win the case. Why? We haven’t seen a restaurant review on this blog since the day they filed the lawsuit. In a lot of ways, they’ve already won. Having convictions can be expensive…

      While public opinion sways cases in the United States, at times, I should point out that our courts are not similarly motivated. They study the facts and make a ruling regardless of the “pressure” from the blogger community. Having said that, I sincerely hope that Benihana does not win the case against Mark even though I too dislike the “righteous indignation” and the gathering of the masses, as if its Catrina all over again.

      • RooRoo says:

        It’s true, having convictions can be expensive UNLESS this whole brouhaha catapults Mark into international stardom, delivering even more viewers and Ad revenues.

        All in all, I think this whole situation is actually good for him and bad for Benihana. Sujj PR disaster for them.

        • Zorbon says:

          The backlash you speak of Roro is not proportional to the comment given. The comment was in regards to a specific experience, regarding specific food items.

          And as Mark posted, this is now much larger than this case…It is now about defining blogger free speech in Kuwait. What ever the court ruling is, its going to be a precedent for bloggers/business owners in Kuwait, and probably throughout the GCC as well.

          Whether you agree with the lawsuit or not, I think most people agree that the more appropriate and “business-like” behavior from Beni… (I don’t want to even say their name now) was to appologize to Mark and Nat for not having a favorable experience and invite them for another chance to experience their food and service.

          I mentioned this once before, and I am not sure if you read it. I called the GM of Benihana to tell him exactly what I just said. And the guy was VERY civil and answered me very politely.

          A few minutes later, the Kuwaiti owner calls me, threatens me with Maba7eth, saying I threatened his staff with bodily harm.

          What kind of business behavior is that?

          • RooRoo says:

            I said a few times that I don’t think that Benihana is doing itself any good with this PR disaster and had I been the manager I would have definitely either ignored it or invited Mark back or invited other bloggers to hopefully enjoy the restaurant and counter whatever Mark had written. I’m totally in agreement with you about that.

            As for your other issues:
            1) Regarding the GCC, forget us affecting the GCC, they suck when it comes to freedom of speech and we Kuwaitis have had tons more freedom of speech for years and years. So thinking that this case has THAT kind of outreach is, in my opinion, inaccurate. Also, bear in mind, the things that really hit nerves are political statements that get oppressed and not boohoo I didn’t like my food statements.

            2) I am not a lawyer but I recently read that we don’t have this issue of precedent here in Kuwait. I watch a lot of American shows that involve court cases so naturally I too would assume that this would set a precedent but apparently our legal system is different and Mark really may be an isolated case. I could be wrong because I got this info on the internet so I don’t have a trusted source but I do buy it. I actually got it from a comment on 4th Ring Road. Read “K”s comment.

            “In Kuwait’s judicial (legal) system, precedence doesn’t carry much wait as in the U.S. judicial system. Meaning, the U.S. uses common law, which if a judge gives a ruling, its a precedence that IS law. so if the judge rules that XYZ is unlawful, khalas, its law and could be used in other cases.

            IN KUWAIT, on the otherhand, we don’t have that since we have French/Shari’a type law. Two judges can have varying judgements on an issue, meaning. If judge #1 rules XYZ is unlawful, judge #2 is not legal obligated to take that opinion!

            So the issue of precedence is not an issue here.”

            You can find it here:

            http://www.4thringroad.com/?p=14436#comments

    • HRMShaker says:

      My fellow Rooroo,

      Each party is entitled to their opinion and each party is also entitled to defend these said opinions. However, what is unjust is the use of power by a corporation (in this case the restaurant in question) to strong arm a relatively small online writer (in this case Mark and his blog). And as Zorbon pointed out, this lawsuit could have a huge ripple effect on how blogs and freedoms of speech are handled in Kuwait and possibly in neighboring countries; since if Benihana is successful in following through with this lawsuit, then it would permit any other establishments (and not only limited to those of foodstuff) to go after any person that writes their opinion. True that Mark does have a following and that his review may have helped shaped some of their opinions, but that is how this sort of thing works (i.e this is no different than you sitting down at a Diwaniya with a bunch of friends and asking them about how was restaurant X or movie Y; and we all do regard Mark as our friend and his blog as our Diwaniya). Moreover, the readers of his blog are reasonable adults that can form their own opinions and are free to take his point of view or not. It was not like he was trying to force his review on on us nor was it specially advertised, it was another humble post on his humble blog. And just like any other review, it is to be taken with a grain of salt, something I’m sure the administration at Benihana did not do.

      All in all, it is the oppression of our rights towards our freedom of speech that has us bloggers’ panties tied up in a bunch. If we cannot feel safe in stating our own opinions then what is the point of what we are doing? Need we just become mindless drones that serve the purposes of profit seeking corporations? And how does the latter serve in promoting a healthy environment for not only economic growth but social and cultural growth as well?

      • RooRoo says:

        HRMShaker,

        1) What do you mean “what is unjust is the use of POWER by a corporation”? Did they send thugs to threaten to lynch him? There’s nothing unjust about suing someone for possibly harming your business interests. I think the same sense of freedom that allows you to say what you want should allow you to defend yourself when you feel you’ve been slandered.

        2) It is VERY different from you sitting with your boys at the Diwaniya since BOTH parties are businesses. Mark makes money off of this blog and I think him having opinions that are more controversial or pungent makes his blog more interesting and gets him more viewers. I’m not saying he’s faking it, it really could be how he sees things. BUT, can’t you see that his opinions being that way can help his business? Moreover, Kuwait has a small market and word of mouth can go really far in forming opinions. In other words, I could see why a restaurant manager might think a blog post could harm the restaurant’s reputation and hence it’s number of customers and hence its profits. Don’t you?

        3) You say “if we cannot feel safe in stating our own opinions”. Interesting. If I were a business owner shouldn’t I feel safe as well? Or am I to be subject to the whims of every guy with an alias hiding behind a computer screen and shooting at me? How is economic growth promoted if you don’t have the means to protect your reputation from tarnishing in a market environment whereby reputation plays a major role?

        Bear in mind, I hope that bloggers do feel safe in giving out their opinions because I do feel that blogging and communication in general adds to social growth. But I am for businesses as well and I don’t begrudge them their profits just as I don’t begrudge Mark his. Both are businesses, and both have profits to look after.

        Everyone’s pants are tied up in a bunch because they think it’s a freedom of speech issue. It’s not. You have freedom of speech, say what you, and if I were being slandered well hell I have freedom to defend myself. That’s just fair. Nothing unjust about it.

        And back to social growth, we have blogs in Kuwait (especially the ones written in Arabic) that go crazy with their criticism of political figures. Most of the time they get away with it. So let’s not make this lawsuit a bigger issue than it is. Two businesses going head to head with each other.

        So what?

  35. HeartBeat says:

    wow I just visited their Facebook page to find myself kicked out and all comments were removed and now they are left only with positive comments and people claiming that you are black mailing new restaurants! I guess they are serious about going on with the case after the figured out the game of internet!!

    becareful Mark!

  36. HeartBeat says:

    Amazing how people can change opinions so fast … who are those people!!

    But it is clear what is going on check this guy for example http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=619455248#!/profile.php?id=619455248&sk=wall

    he has the worse comment against Mark on Benihana Facebook and if you check his page he opened his facebook account just 10 days ago !!!

  37. moe80s says:

    i think Benihana just hired geeks to do their dirty job online

  38. moe80s says:

    btw just for the word “r u lebanese” which is racist I am never going to benihana

  39. U Still Talking! says:

    The guy’s a moron, poor staff who work there dont deserve this publicity, i passed by them yesterday they were very nice, i wouldve tried the food if i had the time just to confirm Mark’s review, and hey Mark… ur the mini version of Egypt’s revolution…lool, power for freedom of speech and OPINION!!!

    honestly… this GM is reflecting the tyranny and dictatorship quality of life we live in, too bad its reflecting worse on the franchise itself… does anyone think that benihana global has any knowledge of whats going on!!!!!!??? im sure they will not tolerate the reaction posed by the GM!

    BTW, you can kick out, filter only the best opinions on any blog or fan page but the truth will follow, as long as we are all advocates of your and our right to have an opinion!

    Dear Mark…

    I believe this calls for a mass petition… note the ip adresses just incase you need to prove its not fabricated in a basement somewhere :P

  40. jhonybravo says:

    @ RooRoo: Yeh you are correct at some points…

    If Mark doesn’t like the food, he has rights to say anything.
    And If Benihana didn’t like Mark’s Blog, they also have rights to say anything.

    But Benihana use the wrong tool for doing that.

    As I don’t think Mark has blackmailed them.. or if Mark had done that, do anyone think that their GM wont mentioned that in the comment or in the lawsuit.

    A simple comment could have stop this big mess…. “ Mark we would like you to visit again and review, we always want our customr to be Happy “

    • RooRoo says:

      I completely agree that a comment inviting Mark again would have been a better response. Also, I don’t think Mark blackmailed them.

      Perhaps going to court is the “wrong” tool in this case, but it is a tool that is available to them. They had either the option of inviting him back or fighting him. They chose to fight him. Bad idea, I agree. But it isn’t something that we ought to be shocked about as bloggers. It’s completely logical for them to try to freak him out and if we had our own business and it got smashed online we would want the right to fight back whether we win or lose.

      • David says:

        It’s not logical at all. There’s a reason why the courts aren’t full of Tripadvisor and Yelp contributors… many of whom have written far harsher reviews of hotels and restaurants than anything Mark has put in his blog.

  41. iBlooogle says:

    oh man i just thought of something;

    Benihana generated SO MUCH publicity from this, do u think it could have been their intent all along? like they’ll come to the court date, and then retract or something.

    thing about it; they recently opened, 248am has a popular following, and this opportune event came right to their doorstep.

    what have all blogs and tweets been about since this happened?

    they say there is no such thing as bad publicity.

    just another conspiracy theory to add to the bunch.

    genius…

    • Shabnam says:

      I agree BUT would add this to the plot: him and Mark are best buddies and they both used this stunt to gather publicity. Mark’s blog has gone international since this law suite ;p ;p

      I’m kidding. This lawsuit is so ludicrous, only silly conspiracy theories can explain it.

      Let’s not forget that Oprah was also taken to court by the beef dudes in the states for saying she will never eat hamburgers again; and she won that case. So IF they are suing Mark solely based on his review then they are giving the judge a great laugh.

  42. sandeep says:

    Very interesting opinions here. Note that we are referring to a customer and service provider relationship and in context of best practices in the area of CRM. Nobody is referring to the judicial system per se. Most people seem to agree that the legal approach taken by Benihana is absolutely wrong. I will personally not be going to a Benihana restaurant in future.that has nothing to do with the quality of their food.

  43. U Still Talking! says:

    @rooroo, your right man, but its like this, if it was a scandal then the only way to prove your innocence is to show your quality, by defending through court rule means thats ur last tool, this also means that Benihana doesnt tolerate ANYONE to have their opinion stated across blogs…!

    Yes they have the right to practice their freedom to protect their reputation BUT WHO THE HELL DO THEY THINK THEY ARE, telling people “if you dont like the food, then shutup about it”

    I didnt sense an attack from Mark’s review, he did state some positive things too.

    The power that you say is with the blogger, is not that of a politician, for example, if the blogger is intentionally scandalizing then his or her reputation will be exposed evidently! As i said, I’ll still go to try Benihanna’s experience just to compare with Mark’s review! I don’t think this manifested power of a blogger will dictate our actions!? no it wont, instead it will arouse an investigative behavior.

    In many countries critics are invited to write a review on a service or a product, and its not on terms that it should be positive..

    I rest my case man, take a chill pill!

    • RooRoo says:

      U Still Talking, I’m a woman. And I’m totally chill. That’s why I’m surprised at this outcry over the restaurant’s actions. I said before and I’ll say it again, it would have been more apt for the restaurant to simply invite him again. But they didn’t; instead, they’re suing him.

      So what? You say something, have the chutzpah to deal with its repercussions. We’re not kids here, what you say matters and what you say when you have a famous blog matters more.

      C’est tout!

  44. Yeni says:

    Mark you should counter sue them! Emotional distress and misuse of the judicial process.

  45. U Still Talking! says:

    I dont think emotional distress is a tort that can be used in trial in this country, but what do i know, see ur lawyer.

    Nice to know ur a woman Rooroo, generally speaking that GM needs to take a course or two on PR, Branding and CR management.

    He is hurting his brand much more than what he perceived initially by the review. I do agree with you, he has a chance to calm things down and take the braver direction before its too late.

    with what he did, he opened a dialogue with potential customers, now its up to him to elegantly resolve the matter or as his current behavior; forcefully and unrelentingly.

    WHAT WILL monetary resolution compensate for a brand?

    back to the chill pill now…

  46. LamaHQ says:

    I think this is ridiculous.
    I’ve done some restaurant reviews, and some were negative, and what did they do? They fixed the problem areas.

    They have no case. Good luck, you have every right to express your opinion.

  47. victor says:

    Have you considered a counter suit. I think you might something there with reputation at stake etc etc. also considering your review was partially positive, there is an alteration of the truth….

    It sure can be fun….

  48. +_O says:

    keep your chin up, always stay positive, & GOOD LUCK!

  49. Burhan says:

    To sue someone you have to prove something, you can’t sue because you feel like it. Their lawsuit is distracting from the truth. They claim that intentionally Mark targeted the restaurant, posted a false review which was motivated by the sponsors on his blog, and by the fact that he works for some ad agency.

    No where did they mention anything else. Mark wrote, what can be boiled down to this:

    “went there, some things were good, somethings I didn’t like, wouldn’t go there again”

    He never said “don’t anyone ever go there again”. Now the restaurant is claiming that he lied, and this has caused them harm because people trust his opinion.

    I am sorry, but for me there is no “defending” of anything here. It’s just an ego got bruised which has now boiled down to this unnecessary waste of time.

    The only winner here is Mark, whose blog has been given a lot more prominence and visibility.

  50. I hope they do the right thing and drop it. Best of luck Marky Mark. ;P

  51. Qwerty says:

    Why don’t you try emailing Benihana group and see what they have to say.
    http://www.benihanagroup.com/contact.html

  52. Chris says:

    O_O .. the estimated sum they are planning to sue you for is more than 18K ? How r*t*rd*d can it get? Its not only unfair, its stupid.

    I seriously doubt whether that place gets a good income. Maybe that’s the reason they are suing you, indeed of money?
    Or If they actually are earning good, either way its completely stupid to sue you because you voiced your opinion.

    InshaAllah good things will come your way Mark! :)

    We are all here for you..

  53. Ya3GouB says:

    wow this is pathetic, im really ashamed.
    Sorry man.

  54. jason says:

    Hi,

    Really sad to hear that this is happening to you mark. freedom of speech is an essential presence in society. Suing someone for writing something is very ridiculous. I hope this lawsuit is thrown out. The said restaurant should have made all efforts to resolve matters rather than blowing it out of proportion.

    Having said that I do think there is a bigger picture here. bloggers anywhere in the world have a moral responsibility to be unbiased and responsible in their opinions when they take it upon themselves to critic a product or establishment.

    I am sure even Mark believes in this. Commenting responsibly is a must and even he mentions this at the bottom of every commenting page on his blog– ‘Commenting is a privilege not a right. I allow comments on the site because I believe that you can make a valuable contribution but in return I expect that you comment responsibly.’ end quote.

    Having read of his experience at Benihana, i begin to wonder:
    no one in their right mind will ask for extra sauce to cover up an undercooked product. they will just not eat it(like Nat did) and return it back. Mark should have rather made a huge hue and cry about it at he restaurant itself. if faced with a situation that a food is undercooked and tastes bad, it would really make sense to resolve greater of the two evils(in this case undercooked chicken). hence I think there is some agenda here

    When bloggers start having ads on their blogs and use their blog to make money it is hard to be unbiased. It is their business and will do whatever it takes to make it succeed. That is the nature of the beast.

    The restaurant is protecting its business although in a very wrong way. they should put their act together and improve and Mark should be a little more responsible in the way he writes even though its his blog

    I wish you the very best.

    • Mark says:

      I guess it’s different for everyone. When Nat has an issue with her food she usually complains to the waiter or waitress. When I have a problem with my food I just eat it and not order it the next time. She finds an issue with hair in her food but when I find hair I just take the hair and put it aside. I believe in the 5-second rule, she doesn’t. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five-second_rule

      But you are right about the fact that once blogs have ads it does become a lot more difficult to continue to post normally and I went through that phase a few years back. But, the past 2 years things have changed a lot since I instated a lot of strict rules and policies I had to abide by because I wanted to be professional and transparent with my readers.

      This is why sometimes I take it very personally when people say I get paid for my reviews or people pay for posts. Just today for example I got offered dinner for 2, a gift on the occasion of National Day and a code to download a new paid iphone app for free all from different people. I nicely declined all three gifts and this happens on a daily basis. My no gift policy is stricter than most international publications where writers are usually allowed to accept gifts as long as they are below a certain cost.

      Anyway I really do appreciate your comment and I will continue to try my best to be more responsible with what I write and to improve more and more as each day goes by.I have a lot of ideas in my head which I hopefully will get to execute this year so stay tuned :)

  55. jason says:

    Mark,

    Your point of view noted, thanks.

    Cheers

  56. Justin says:

    If they are so concerned about negative reviews of their restaurant perhaps they should spend more time making sure the food and service is of a better quality. I hope the uproar results in their business closing one way or another.

    We’re all supporting you.

  57. superfailz says:

    Dear Mark,

    I used to love taking the mick about how you always wrote about dieting, eating healthy then you’d dive into a pool of burgers.

    I’ve always thought nothing of you but a typical ‘McChicken’

    Today I actually respect you more than any of the other goof dolls around and I wish you the best of luck with your case against Bananahama, I for one will never ever ever recommend that place to anyone nor will I ever go there myself. Not because of your review, nor the quality of the food but the fact that their manager could not tolerate a diary containing a bit of criticism.

    My diary, I write what the f*** I ever want.

    The company I work for is one of the largest companies here in Kuwait and has been for the last 50years and believe you me, we take complaints and criticism to IMPROVE and strengthen our weak links, not to bitch about.

    Sorry for the language, but we’re entering a new era where the شعب يريد اسقاط نانا ماما

  58. Amal says:

    Dear Benihanna: I hate you. I pray to god every day that you close down real soon:D

  59. Qusai Al-Shatti says:

    Having a customer review and sharing it with your blog readers is your right. Expressing your views in Kuwait is not an offense in Kuwait as long as you did not offend or insult someone. If a restaurant manager is worried about a review posted in your blog, this is because your blog is widely viewed and respected. The restaurant management should consider your review in a way to improve their services rather than pursue legal action. Take this matter seriously and have a good attorney to represent you to stop actions like these.

    All the best

  60. Amera says:

    Sorry to hear bout the lawsuit. I’ve been hearing stories left and right about it and it still shocks me. In my own humble opinion, if I was in the GM’s shoes, I would have invited you and a few friends to the place, taken your comments and their and helped spruce up the place or had a one on one to state my opinion.

    All would have been well and I am sure you would have blogged bout that experience too… hence making them the good service provider. Now, it’s just so ugly that I see it insulting to go eat there.

    If I told them to take back the dish cause it was the wrong order… would they spit in the food or say SORRY, we’re BENIHANA… you’re wrong and we’re right!

    At the end, I think Kuwaiti service providers as well as consumer outlets need to concentrate on customer service. Just because you have the logistics to open the place up doesn’t mean you have the intelligence to win the market to your favor!

    Good luck Mark!

  61. well wisher says:

    Good luck with your case tommorow. We are with you.

    God less.

  62. Lucy says:

    Good luck with the case tomorrow, Im sure it will all work out fine :)

    Lucy

  63. dinez says:

    ON staff of the restaurant posting comments
    ——————-
    Needs proof,technical issue

    ON using different names but with the same IP address
    ———————-
    Needs proof, technical issue

    On asking the nationality of Mark
    ———————————
    Who cares if he is Lebanese? What if he’s Bangladeshi or British?

    On asking Mark’s personal information online
    ——————————————–
    You really should talk to the lawyers, they might write a request letter to the local police or CID or anybody in authority. How would you expect Mark to post his personal informations online? What if you’re just impersonating Mr. servo?

    On Mark NOT complaining while dining
    ————————————
    I had several complaints in a restaurant management, i always forward the complaint right there and then because if i don’t, it’s hard to prove otherwise. The management normally apologized and replaced the food.

    ON Mr Servo replying online (and its’ contents)
    —————————————–
    …could’ve been more professional

    On the staff kept fallin his spatula
    ———————————
    … a bit of training but not bad

    On the taste of the food
    ————————
    … i would like to taste the foods one day (and wait for my ‘personal opinion’?

    We all learn something today.

  64. Gary says:

    I know this was an old post but what was the end result?


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