Blog Info Information Kuwait Lawsuit Personal

I’m being sued by Benihana

Yesterday I got served with a court order, Benihana are suing me because of my post about my experience at their restaurant. If you haven’t read that post yet you can check it out by clicking [Here]

I’m currently getting legal advice from my lawyer Khaled Al Shamali who is actually a fan of my blog (that’s important) and I will be fighting this case in court. Originally my lawyer told me not to discuss this case with anyone but I feel it is important to share this with everyone since it doesn’t just effect me but the whole blogging community be it in Kuwait, UAE or anywhere else in the region. So after talking to my lawyer again, he’s now given me the green light to be transparent and open with everyone regarding this case.

I’ve uploaded the court order I received yesterday and you can download it from [Here]

The court order is in Arabic but if someone ends up translating it to English I will post it up as well. Benihana have the right to sue me but I don’t believe I said or did anything wrong and I stand behind everything I said and wrote in that post.

I’ve personally been threatened with lawsuits a number of times before, I know another popular blog recently got threatened with a lawsuit from a restaurant as well and I am sure there must be other bloggers who at one point in time have also been threatened. If blogs were recognized like newspapers or magazines we would all be protected from lawsuits like this but at the moment we aren’t. I find this unfair and if I end up losing this case what will it mean to all the other bloggers? Should bloggers be afraid to say anything negative about a company? Should all our posts just be happy happy joy joy?

I’m hopefully not going to lose this case and will try my best to win it and set an example so that other companies understand that if they don’t like something they read on a blog they can’t just sue the blogger.

I’ve been receiving an overwhelming amount of support on twitter. Honestly as much as I am a geek I never really understood or realized how powerful twitter can be until now. I literally have over 50 pages filled with tweets from people all over the region offering support. It’s really unbelievable and a lot and I mean A LOT of people from UAE have also been rallying behind me on this and according to one twitterer (is that the right word?) the Benihana topic is currently trending in the UAE at #8 at #3. A lot of people have also been leaving comments on the Benihana’s twitter account @benihana__ and on their Facebook page. But a few moments ago they deleted ALL the comments from their Facebook page but luckily I saved a pdf with some which you can download [Here]. They were actually a lot more than that before they were deleted. a reader saved a screenshot of all the comments which you can see [Here]

So thank you everyone for your support, I will try my best to keep everyone posted along the way on everything that takes place regarding this case.


Update: I just finished an interview with the Dubai Abu Dhabi based newspaper The National. I will also be on air live tomorrow at 11AM Dubai time on the DubaiEye 103.8FM.

Update2: An amazing reader translated the court order to English. You can download it [Here]

Update3: Please no one call and harass Benihanna or their employees. You can show your support in other ways. Thank you.

Update4: The National article on this lawsuit is up and you can read it [Here]

Update5: I’m now on Gulf News [Here] CNN iReport [Here] and TNW Social Media [Here]

463 replies on “I’m being sued by Benihana”

if they won the lawsuit (which i doubt they will)

tell them to shove the 5001 kd in their a$$

sorry for the lang ( im pissed )

All you know it could be a publicity stunt. Remember no publicity is bad publicity. This is so exciting..omg..dn’t sue me. 😉

You sure about that? It’s actually, there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

Aside from that, let’s say you open a restaurant and 3 weeks later, you get your name and restaurant in the paper because you’ve just been accused of producing child pornography in your restaurant.

If that’s not bad publicity, I don’t know what is. At least where I’m from, people wouldn’t be going there anymore.

oh man! I just read the court order, – if i didnt know you I would think you’re a monster. But hey, a good lawyer will get you out of it. Alot of people will be watching very closely to see how this plays out. Good luck mate.

If that restaurant and its management had a little bit of professionalism in them, they wouldn’t take someone who wasn’t impressed by their food! I read the email the manager sent you on Ladies Who Do Lunch in Kuwait, and this is one unprofessional email, no structure, mixing ideas, and claiming that you are encouraging people not to try Benihana! And what was up with the: “BTW are you Lebanese?” -> inappropriate!

What’s next! Getting sued because you didn’t eat the entire dish you ordered!

In the name of free speech, ain’t stepping into Benihana ever just because they have shown how unprofessional they can be -> guess I’ll get sued as well for this.

Mark, can we attend your court hearings?


Contact Benihana HQ, and tell them what happened.
I am sure they are not as imature and insecure as the idiot who came up with the brilliant idea to sue you.

This has already backfired back to Benihana Kuwait.

I seriously doubt it. Benihana corp would MUCH rather that this NOT go to court. In fact, any good restaurant would instead make the corrections and invite the blog author out to try.
At this time, this is the manager’s fault for escalating this. I will be skipping the one in Colorado if benihana corp does not step in there and straighten this up quickly.

How unprofessional! I’ve never tried this restaurant & I will never will set foot in their place. I’m telling everybody about this low & unprofessional tactic by this restaurant. Believe me, customers will be repulsed by this lawsuit.
I’m glad that your lawyer is actually a reader of yours, so that he knows the whole story. Good luck, Mark.

This is plain absurd! You have the right to share your experiences whether good or bad! I wish you all The luck with the lawsuits, inshallah you’ll win this.

I’ve never been a fan of Asian cuisine and Benihana’s actions gave me another reason to not like it!

IT is just funny how childish they are! And how their plan to fix things, totally destroyed them! Even if they do win this stupid lawsuit (God forbid) they just totally killed off all their public image, and ruined their chances at getting any lawful customer!

After reading your first review, I wouldve still have given it a chance to see for myself, after all, everyone has different taste buds 😛 But after seeing how they reacted; NO FRIGGIN WAY AM EVER STEPPING THERE!

Good luck mark,

P.S. Wouldnt it have been awesome if they just gave you an invitation to a free dinner to try it again and see how things are? isn’t this the whole point of comment cards?

Ask your lawyer what he thinks about contacting Benihana’s HQ about this.

Other than that, this seems like a rather open and shut case.

What they should have done was invite you over to sample the menu again on their tab and show you that it was a one time thing and not something that happens all the time.

What they don’t know is that I have saved 17 screen shots of their Facebook page with all the comments…

Best luck, and we’re here to help!

I support you Mark. No Benihana for me! I’ll go to Maki, Edo, Wasabi, Sushi Club, & Fusion instead. It’s not like Benihana monopolizes Asian cuisine. Shame on them!


Hi Mark. Alan (@Alan_Azar) and I been on this all day. Don’t worry the comments on the wall are still there, we saved ’em. We’re also currently tracking all SM activity around this.

You’re in good hands mate!


Benihana already lost this case. They lost every decent customer out there due to their childish actions. Are they going to shut down twitter too ? We will tweet this incident until Benihana practically ends up with no one !

the logic they seem to be coming from is the same that the Saudi government is having in allowing only registered bloggers to obtain blogs and spread their opinions.

“Whoever wants to write, be published, and criticize others, must do so with credibility, and a firm stance, rather than hiding behind a computer screen in order to defame someone, spread ugly rumors, or promote social division under a false name and then they have the audacity to say: let me exercise my freedom!” (Tariq Alhomayed, editor in chief of Asharaq )


A great example of a company that just got backfired upon for suing based on a users honest experience. Now that it hit Dubai and media stations. Benihana should consider firing the person that initially came with the idea of suing.

Bad press, is bad press.

We could all post comments on Benihana twitter stream at an agreed time in protest? I think this case (should they win) could set a scary precedent in Kuwait. Do we really need the last-standing ‘free press’ in Kuwait to be censored?

Hang in there Mark.

Mark, this is just plain stupid on their part.
I am a regular visitor to your blog, I do not stay in Kuwait (never been there) and I just glanced through the pics when you had posted the review.
But their actions made me read the review, post this comment, read about this lawsuit on the internet and now I am gonna tell my friends in Kuwait about this and spread the word.

The irony is, this lawsuit, still does not tell me or anyone else if their food is any good. All it tells me is that they are full of themselves.

There was a similar case of a business school in India that sued a blogger.
You can read about it here

All the best for the case Mark. Get ’em.

More power to you.
Mistakes happen, maybe they were just having a bad day. They should have called you and invited you back to re experience it. This stuff happens all the time & businesses deal with it. Standard marketing and PR practices.
It must be stressful for you, but thus far your handling of the situation has been fantastic IMHO. Well done & at least I have one thing to thank Benihana for – I found your blog & it’s good 🙂

just read the papers..they deserve what’s happening to them.

They didn’t delete the fb comments, they just set the default page to ‘only benihana-kuwait’, you just click on ‘benihana-kuwait + others’ and the posts are there.

“if I end up losing this case what will it mean to all the other bloggers? Should bloggers be afraid to say anything negative about a company?”

THE point exactly! As another blogger, I rally that these companies shouldn’t have the impression they can sue anyone who aren’t happy with them. Everyone has a a right to voice their own opinion and my God, you weren’t attacking the President, you were just writing about food taste that didn’t agree with your palates!

What the hell?! That is bullshit! Are we gonna be threatened about what we have in our mind? What if i came and said that Kuwait airways suck, are they gonna come and sue me?! Or any local newspaper? It’s a restaurant for GOD sakes!! LOL Are they gonna sue you to say it’s awful or delicious?!
Inshalla you will win Mark. you have my support. All the best

Hey Mark, you have our support!
Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Also, kudos to you for taking up the cross for what’s left of our online freedoms.
Let us know what we can do to support you.

I thought this was just a hoax or social media stunt until I read this! How ridiculous to sue someone, especially when there was nothing offensive in the review.

By the way, the posts on facebook are still there, they just changed their settings to show “Just Benihana – Kuwait” Click on top of the fanpage page and you can see the barrage of (neegative) feedback.

I will NEVER go there. NOT because you had a bad experience (because one bad experience can be improved upon; and your experience could have led to business process improvement); but because they are suing you.

Same here, I will not even set foot in that place, and not even because I dislike Japanese food but simply because they can’t take constructive criticism and work on it.

I remember reading a bunch of other blogs including yours which posted bad reviews about restaurants but the restaurant read them and fixed their issues, therefore providing us with safer and better tasting meals. Benihana just messed up their whole brand name with this law suit.

Go get em Mark, were all rooting for ya! And if they thought your review gave them bad publicity, well they have no idea whats about to be coming there way lol.

And that’s how you tell about your own opinion about FOOD ?!!
So if there is a fly in my food at Binehana ! I should eat it and shut the fuck up ?? Or what ?? Ofcourse I will mention it in my twitter account and to all my friends and family !!

Would they sue every person gives personal opinion about food ??!! And this is the first sign of drawning ” SEE YA IN HELL Baaaiiiibyyy”

We all support you Mark
Good luck

About an hour ago, I called the restaurant, and called Mark Servo. I spoke with the guy, he was very civil and polite. I exaplined to him that Mark posts his personal opinion and that it is not out of spite against this or any other restaurant. I also informed him that I won’t be visiting their establishment again.

Well, i thought that was that. A few minutes ago, I received a call from a Kuwaiti guy, shouting and threatening that if I call any of his employees again ,he will take me to the Maba7eth (CID). He said that I threatened to harm his employees 🙂

I tried to explain the situation to him, but he wouldn’t let me speak. I decided to let him rant all the way, and ended the call!

That is horrible!
I’m starting to think that they are about to lose the franchise because of their court order and that it just got on the management nerves to the point where they want to blame anyone in Kuwait!

Dude, shakoo you call them? you have no right! your not Mark’s lawyer, and if anything your just hurting his case!!

Mark – you should tell youur “fanbase” to chill out… coz this is reaaaallly not good for you.

I can understand how it would be harrasment… And if the Kuwaiti guy just got upset for me calling and yelled at me to stop calling, it wouldn’t be a big deal… Either he or Mark Servo accused me of calling and THREATENING their employees!

That is just sick!.

haha they’ve lost the plot. sit eat pay and shut the f*** up should be their slogan. F****** idiots with no business sense, and i open restaurant franchises- this is the worst management in crisis i’ve heard of!!!

I’m a firm believer in “if you don’t have anything good to say.. then don’t say anything at all” – true, your entitled to your opinion, but still dude you gotta understand how small Kuwait is and how these kind of opinions can influence people and affect businesses.. Imagine if you were a business owner and someone bashed it on their blog? Doubt you’d be happy..

Suing you might be a bit extreme.. but I guess if your not gonna learn your lesson the first time someone wanted to take legal action against you – then I guess this is what’s gonna happen.

Good luck dude. Your blog is on the line here.. hope to see some changes if this blows over.

The proper thing to do is to improve the mistakes you made when you received those negative comments about your business. We’re all entitled to our opinions, no matter what.

Not go sue the most popular blog in Kuwait.

If Kuwait is such a small world then ‘Benihana Kuwait’ should be able to solve this problem out of court by using the tried and true formula – THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT…

I see the only real problems with Mark’s article as publishing a video of their employees without their express permission.

Otherwise this is all just a case of multi-millionaire vs the small guy kinda like the school bully who beats you up coz you stand up to him.

I don’t even think this has anything to do with ‘Benihana the Brand’ anymore but they should recognize this is terrible PR.

I don’t think that’s fair. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, regardless of how ‘small’ the community is. I can understand it if there was a conflict of interest, if he was representing a rival restaurant, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

The proper response would be to improve your business, not hunt down people who don’t agree with you. Imagine directors suing you for not liking their film. The best thing for Benihana, I think we can all agree, was to invite them back and let them taste the food again. They seem confident that their food tastes good. Whatever they might gain by suing this blog and shutting it down will never fix the bad PR from this move.

so if ure not happy you cant say anything? we have a free market here dont we? with competition… bad news spreads much faster than good, blog or no blog. the point is that is u are unhappy you are allowed to express that without FEAR!! it is the duty and responsibility of the business to win customers over, even the unhappy ones. Kuwait is small, and competition is high, true. but this is just badddddd management practices. so bad. the restaurant is kaput. they should have realized…kuwait issss small- no place for enemies. good luck to the restaurant, it needs it whether it wins the case or not. in so many ways they lose even if they win 5000kd.

Mark, I might not agree with everything you post on your blog, but when I read about the law suit my blood just boiled, I mean this is fucked up, you went to a resturant, ate there, and you didn’t like it, and you get sued!! This is insane.

Benihana, you just committed suicide.

Well….. Mark your Blog can reach some heights, what if the restaurant management doesn’t know how to use a critics.. You know very well.. Shout out LOUD about BLOGS…. You have lots of supports.. . . and you can gather a lot more…. Even if you lose( which I don’t want) .. you will be more popular .. and the restaurant, even if they win they will lose the image.. ALL THE BEST

This is going to hurt Benihana a bit. The only thing which concerns me is about the photos taken without permission.

Negative reputation to folks at Benihana irrespective of if they win the case or not. I ain’t going there because of their attitude and not cuz’ of food.

Well Read it… Blog is kinda a sort of freedom to speech… even I dont like most of the time what is posted here… but getting a court order…

1. when you took a video or photos, one of the restaurant staff could have approached you and said video/photography is not allowed or restricted.

2. IF the food was bad that day it was bad they should take negative feedback and improvise on their cooking.

3. 2nd last paragraph sounds a bit weird or am I reading it wrong : ” since if they were, the
restaurant would have been inspected, closed$and fined” << did they means if they knew you'll were there then they would have fine tuned and made it a better experience ?? stupid bunch of quacks I hope the ministry of health n food gives them a surprise visit… n then we shall see what they would like fine tuned!!!

What they meant with the second paragraph is that if the “insults” thrown at them by the blogger were true, then would have been inspected, then closed and fined by authorities.
They’re trying to make a point that the review was a scam, which is totally unfounded.

What hurt Benihana is not the negative review but rather how they responded.

I think there is still hope for them to rectify their actions and come out as winners (specially now they got everybody’s attention) by;

1- Drop the case
2- Send out an official letter of apology for the actions of their GM.
3- Invite mark again for free to write another review, where he will be meet by senior owners.
4- Offer some sort of discount for Social Media Enthusiasts
5- Start a Blog on their website inviting people to write about their experience at the establishment.

Do it now before it’s too late.

Khaled El-Ahmad

Hi Mark,

I think Benihana have shot themselves in the foot by suing you. They’ve compounded the problem of a negative review into something so much more. I hope you win the case in court, though Kuwait can be harsh towards non-citizens.

With all the support you’re getting and how much of fools they made out of themselves, they are not only losing this case, they are also losing BUSINESS!!!

Best idea is someone from Newspaper should print about the court case….. so that everyone in Kuwait can read about it and THEY can get (bad) publicity , which would lead more people to avoid such places, who can’t take criticism and try to improve

you should sue them for the same amount for tarnishing your reputation. Your ad agency and work ethics has nothing to do with this – attack is the best defense

I just made a T-Shirt,

I Ate At Benihana, And All I Got Was A Lousy LawSuit!!!

Going to be printing these and handing them out to people, we should wear them and go and walk in avenues…

This is ridiculous on their part, c’mon! And where is their dignity and willingness to take criticism and take it one step further?! Absent.
Absolutely ridiculous and a lot less than I could think of clever businessmen.

Then again, maybe this is all for the advertising of it? You know, any rumour makes a good adv? Silly, but who knows.

I haven’t been there but now, I definitely won’t be trying them.

I’ve told all my friends and family. Many colleagues at work don’t have blogs or Twitter but they were disgusted when I told them Benihana was suing a blogger. They too said they won’t be going 🙂


Instead of wasting their money on a lawsuit that they WILL LOSE (inshallah), they should focus on making their food edible… at least.

This will be a very important case for the future of blogging in the area! May the force be with you ;)I too will avoid this restaurant in the future.

Benihana will not receive one Dinar from me … I am boycotting that restaurant and hope everyone else will do the same. I will not be satisfied until their doors shut for good at The Avenues!!

If there were really smart they would reply to your review and turned it in a constructive feedback. should be grateful now, their name is famous and may attract some clients.
By the way – KD 5001 ? where the 1 KD comes from.

Hey mark kudos to you.What more to say that ajority of the social media is behind you so i am sure you dont need to be worried about any damn lawsuit. I think its high time considering the storm brewing up in benihanas tea cup that they havent gone in a damage control mode. All they need to do is say sorry and move on that would be more appreciated by everyone.Mark i have always been a fan and keep up the good fight going.

I’m boycotting all Las Palmas restaurants (including Subway!!!). This lawsuit was approved by the owner for sure thus I wouldn’t want HIM personally to get even 100 fils from me!!

Benihana is killing their own business with their foolishness. Sorry to hear it is affecting you in such a terrible way. Best of luck!

(A small note: The National is based in Abu Dhabi and I know many of us in the UAE capital are behind you as well.)

That is really poor business judgement on part of Benihana. It seems sueing people has become a fad in Kuwait. There are some really thin skinned individuals in the Kuwiat business community that cannot accept any critcism whatsoever and seem to think they are above criticism. I was recently threatened with a lawsuit for commenting on poor perfromance. My advice to you is to counter-sue them on the same grounds that they are suing you as their suit will affect and damage you and your abilty to make a living and travel freely.

Why and frm where did the agency mark works fr came into the picture?huh!? Its high time ppl start takin feedback positivly.OK,,may b one gets hrt a bit,but a lawsuit makes things ugly,,Personaly, I dnt thnk Marks opinion warrants for a lawsuit…

Hey Mark
All what they did is a security. you can change it with one click under the table of posts in FB choose the first choice

Benihana – Kuwait + Others … you can see what people are posting


I found the following on thier corporate website:

“The Board of Directors has approved the creation of a “Compliance and Ethics Hotline,” which is a toll-free number you can call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to communicate with the Audit Committee or outside (non-management) directors. The Hotline can also be used by employees, investors or others to speak anonymously, or in confidence, in connection with any perceived accounting or auditing irregularities, or other misconduct or wrongful behavior. The toll-free number for the hotline is 1-800-584-6864.

Communications will be distributed to the Audit Committee, individual directors or compliance officer, as appropriate, depending on the facts and circumstances outlined in the communication.”

it is s 1-800 # so I dont know how you’ll be able to reach them but Im sure if you called them to explain how one of thier franchises was acting this would all go away. The last thing these guys want is bad press thier stock is already at $ 8.

Also check this website out: I think you might need to register but once you do I think you’ll be able to lodge a complaint.

All the above was found under Benihana’s “About us” page on thier website.

I’ve never been to Benihanna or whatever its name is and now i am 100% sure i will never go, some of these ancient dinosaurs of business that i was talking about in this blog very recently i believe have always used strong arming tactics to get what they want. Please mark don’t let them win over you, they should realise that this is the 21st century the century of twitter and facebook, where no one can be silences from speaking his mind. I urge everyone reading this blog to not only boycott Beniwhatsitsname but also boycott all business owned by whichever dinosaur owns Benistupid. These old wheeler dealer dinosaurs should know that enough is enough stop pushing around the up and comers.

i am with u mark on this, basically wat they have done is dig their own grave by filing this lawsuit. C’mon man if some one finds your food not tasty and comments on it, its the company’s PR department who should be looking into in in the right perspective and trying to salvage of what damage is already done either by inviting you and some other people for a dinner and asking for a re-opinion. Chefs do screw up and it happens is the best of the best hotels. You just cannot sue a person for commenting on the quality or the taste of your food. I sincerely want you to win this case and give them a tight slap where they need it ever most. I have never been to Benihana but after all this what they have done I dont think any one would ever want to visit their restaurant. And is this the end of blogging – I dont think so, this has given blogging a new high and awareness. So kudos to you Mark for standing up for what you said and fight for it. We are with you.

Men..seriously the resturant is making a bad name of itself this way..
I have a friend , actually dads friend who specialises in this if you want further help i can ask him.
Best of luck mate.
We are there with you.

Mr. Servo (not Mr. “Service”) MUST be new to Kuwait. I’m sure he had no idea how small the country is or what he would be up against.

Can you imagine the guy running into a fan of Mark’s in say… the Immigration Department…. or perhapsee the Baladiya…. Ouch. Not good.

Can’t believe what I’m reading! He can’t handle a review how the fuck is he going to take care of the complaint cards if they do have one!

Funny that, Khaled Al Shamali is my uncle.

Best of luck getting through this, Mark. The circumstances are definitely unfortunate and ridiculous and it bothers me to see this happen, but you’ll make it through.

Again, good luck! You have my support.

This is very shocking! I hope they realize that no one can force anyone to like their service.

Sad to see how a business’s reputation can go down the drain because of poor management.

Wishing you the best of luck in this case!

See, this is what happens when people’s egos outgrow their brain. Benihana’s “manager” that posted at the original thread already threatened to sue and made derogatory comments, and now instead of taking it as it was – a criticism, they turned it into a PR nightmare.

This is beyond stupid.

Oh, and where are those T-shirts? I’m all for a few (10,20) people start wearing the shirts and just walk around Avenues.

People who live in Kuwait: Be Careful. We have a serious outbreak of a virus called STUPID that has already infected thousands of people. Please stay indoors and lock your doors. Its airborne.

Mark: Good luck. I for one with NEVER set foot in Benihana.

I had just mentioned your post about your Benihana experience to my wife yesterday. I was willing to wait a few months before trying them, hoping they would improve. But action like this puts them eternally on my shit list. As much as I like Benihana, I don’t need it in Kuwait. Cases like this are the reason newspapers don’t name names when they mention a case of a restaurant/supermarket being shut by municipality for selling expired products; protecting the companies is more important than the public good and the public’s right to know.

They seriously shot themselves in the foot with this lawsuit!
If there was no lawsuit, I’d walk into the Avenues, see their place and think “Didn’t Mark review this place? I THINK he said he didn’t like it, but lets give it a shot.”

However, NOW I’d walk into the Avenues, see their place and think “No WAY I’d step into a place like THAT”

Looking at the franchises they have, it’s quite easy to boycott them all. I’ve already been “boycotting” Subway and Charlie’s Sub for their extremely poor quality in ingredients and I’ve never heard of the other places.. (Am I going to get sued for saying that now?)

Also, how does writing a negative review on a restaurant benefit the agency you work for?

I think they need to change their legal advisor (they’ll know why when they lose the case), and they need a PR agency who should have consulted them since you posted your review. They would’ve taken opportunity of a negative review and turned it into something positive.

My dad and brother went there, they said it sucked and was expensive. Oh shit I hope I don’t get sued…… LOL

And a lot of stuff they wrote in the court order is falsified. And personally, I didn’t read anything in your blog post that was offensive.

They’ve got nothing on you man. Freedom of speech shall prevail!!!

It’s funny how the law suit accuses you of trying to gain ‘fake popularity’ in one para and then concedes that it’s read by ‘tens of thousands of people’ right in the next.
FAKE popularity? I still can’t get over that!
I read some of the torrential flow of comments on Benihana’s Facebook and Twitter.. they must have had to employ another person on their payroll to delete them all 😀
You don’t mess with social media! I sincerely hope and pray you win, Mark. These corporations need to realize that gone are the days when they could bully people around.

Congratulations Mark!

Sounds weird? not.. They will drop that case or lose it, if not they will lose customers here and there! I congratulated you because this gave you more publicity! and took their’s!;)

Las Palmas performed “business suicide” by reacting the way they have and by serving you with the lawsuit.

I am boycotting all their restaurants, not because of Mark’s personal review but because I do not wish to encourage a company who refuses to develop its business, and more importantly does not care for their patron’s experience at their restaurant.

I can’t believe that they actually went ahead and filed for a lawsuit! Its crazy! We all support you Mark 🙂

The management should have “atleast” done a research on how all this would impact their business.. poor management!!

So how about sue each and every customer who enters the restaurant, just in case…. they don’t like the food. ya know.

And just to add, me and my fiance wanted to have japanese on the weekend and although we saw the benihana ad, but we decided that we don’t want to turn a nice weekend hangout into an unpleasant experience of being sued if we didn’t like the food.

Pretty stressful stuff for something that is supposed to be fun!

BTW should i encode Ben#$%#?

Looks like Benihana is doing rather poorly (financial wise), that they have resorted to generating their revenue through court cases. lol.

okay… they couldnt gain some profits from serving food so they decided to sue people to do so. you have the right to say whatever u want. pffffffft benihana

Mark this is a great tactic…this post is even more damaging than your initial post. Even if they win the case (and hopefully not), they already lost BIG TIME…and that case against you proves just that! Bloggers shouldn’t be worried, in my opinion, unfair cases such as this will surely not hurt bloggers at all (it will increase their popularity!), we can always pitch in and help you pay the fine and you can always go online and create a new website with a new name, and you will get your readers back in a second!

Good luck.

I can’t believe someone get sue for an opinion, well, another easy way out, but the fight is very much a stunt to get attention, i never heard of such restaurant before, just now I heard.

that’s what i call ‘free commercial’.

sue them for using u as commercial stunt >.>

just an idea.

O read about this only today. Few weeks ago we went to banihana. We ate. Then got approached by the manager and he asked us what we thought of the food. I answered nicely but honestly. I told him that the tv commercial did injustice to the restaurant becuz the food does not wow me at all. I had better food. There was no secret souse or that yummy element about any of the dishes we had. My Sis also commented about the bad old buda bar music and not enough ventilation. He accepted our comments. Said he was sorry we didn’t enjoy the food. I felt sorry for the cloths shop next to it cuz the smell is over powering.
Mark, after u win this case, ask elshimali to get u تعويض و رد اعتبار
Will almutairi suie all of us? Hundreds? I hated the food here I said it. Suie me. The food really really was plain and boring. I even didn’t like the decor at Armani hotel in burj khalifa.. Will Armani suie me too? This whole this is a big joke. And I hate ruby Tuesday and wasabi. I hate the toast from almatahen. I hate mcdonalds. Should I go on?????

I submitted the story to Slashdot and wrote a comment to Benihana HQ to let them know about the damage done to their brand name by their Kuwaiti franchisee. I think it’s shameful and cowardly that an American brand is being used to stifle freedom of speech and freedom of the press overseas. I’ll tell every expat I know to avoid Benihana at home and abroad. Keep up the good fight.

“Benihana Kuwait sues the right to speak, support and post this on your status”says:

i think what’s worse than the management is their legal department for going forward with this and the owners who use international reputable names to just destroy them in the graveyard of their ego and closed mindedness.
I personally think you should have a counter attack and make a media buzz out of this because the last i knew there was freedom of speech in this country and so been hearing they win awards
Now here is what this boils down to, , if the media especially the press where objective to share news with the public they would create a huge fuss about it because a blog today is no less of an opinion podium than them., sadly they fear their Ad revenues would stop from this advertiser, which probably would happen.
So if they are seeking retribution for something foolish, let us at least fight to regain our rights to speak freely, this has to go viral, I think for a start we can all have our FB status tomorrow updated with “Benihana Kuwait sues the right to speak, support and post this on your status”
By tomorrow night in Kuwait, I think we would have created enough people talking about the idiots, maybe this would be a good start to let them know they are not GOD and u don’t just sue people because they have money and some idiot sold them the franchize!

It is still there!


On January 30th 2011, Benihana (Kuwait) filed a defamation lawsuit against a blogger for writing about his experience on his website. [10] [11] [12] The lawsuit also raised questions by some activists in the Middle East, as the Manager of Benihana Kuwait stereotyped Lebanese customers by asking the blogger if he was Lebanese.

Hey MR.SERVO i bet you didn’t sleep at all about all these things and for sure we will not let you SLEEP forever until you get served at court and loose your lousy case… BTW, how much is your % on the cash demand? hmmm…. i don’t even think that you deserve the price of my favorite sushi in sultan (better tasting than your resto is serving).. go and file cases against all of us so the judge will think that you are the one that should be sued and that the benihana should terminate your service because you are NOT GOOD FOR THE BUSINESS!

I have a strong feeling that Mr. SERVO is sneaking into this blog and reading all our comments… bwahahaha…. read until you drop…

It’s about time someone raised a law suit against you man. That stuff doesn’t roll in our communities. We don’t diss down other peoples businesses and cause them such losses. These people work there a@@es off to bring such franchises – and here comes Mr.Mark almighty throwing that cash for them down the garbage.

Man I wish you had a restaurant, let’s see how you feel if someone bad mouthed it to the ground with your verbal and disgusting skills of downgrading.

I hope AlMutairi wins the case against you. Although I do love your website and frequent it daily; but I think it’s about time to get you all closed up. Think of it this way, Zein AlAbdin,Hussni Mbarak and prolly now you in this blog world. Go chill in leb for a while, and try dissing other lebs restaurants – let’s see you think they’ll raise a law suit ? They’ll send Abul 3abed to smack you I’d say.

First of all I WILL NEVER EVER EAT THERE NO MATTER WHAT!!! secondly this was your opinion that you put down (in a matter of speaking) on paper. How is this different from overhearing people comment about a restaurant at Starbucks etc?? The fact about Kuwait is that quality is never consistent in the food industry and most people would still have given them a chance. Well they blew that chance of happening!

Mike Servo: Way to go, next thing you know you’ll be getting your own Harvard Business case. I’m sorry you don’t know what that is, but you’ll be more famous than you are now!

This is absurd…I have never been in this restaurant and for sure I will never be…what a customer service model they apply!!!! I wonder how strong their PR team to handle such publicity crises they have just put themselves into! but suing you I guess proves how strong they are!!!! (i’m being vey sarcastic of course!)

The franchisor should step in immediately and pay you the KD5001 If they
really care for their brand!

I think benihana should move up to the food court where it belongs. And leave it’s place for cheese cake factory maybe 

I think they are in the process of loosing 146 customers by claiming a loss of 5000 kd for freedom of speech, what a load of shit!


Benihana Inc. is the franchisor of Benihana restaurants in the United States, Central America (excluding Mexico), South America and the Caribbean.
A private company, Benihana of Tokyo, Inc. (BOT) sells franchises in all other countries worldwide.

Benihana of Tokyo, Inc.
645 Fifth Avenue, Ste 905
New York, NY 10022
Attn: Public Relations Department

Phone: 212-421-7144
Fax: 212-421-7224
Please call between 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. EST

You may email us at [email protected]

All responses are confidential. We do not share or sell information provided to us.

Well how twofaced of the restaurant.. do they offer prizes if someone prints a good review? i dont think this should be a legal issue; blog is a place where we offer our opinions, and we should not be paying for this .. am joining the hundreds in your support .. !

Dude, even the guy at the Benihana advert looks fedup with them… just at their tv advert and how he threws everything away and leaves the set! lol

Nothing against the Benihana brand, but whoever the Manager is needs to get sacked immediately for racist comments, and no i’m not Lebanese. You have no idea what customer service is and you have no idea what consumer rights are. To salvage the brand, and not taint the name anymore, Benihana HQ should come in and cancel their contract with your company. Las Palmas. Sorry CEO, u effed up, or allowed it to eff up. Being in the F&B/hospitality industry you really should think twice when your employees slam PAYING customers.
I applaud you on your cheeky TVC:
And from what ive read your deco is kindda cool.
This can go a few ways:
1- You can retract your statement, fire GM Mike Servo, hire a good PR team, investigate the quality issues, and handle this professionally.
2- You can continue deleting comments, that wont change anything. though, the matter will escalate and you’ll be digging yourself a PR graveyard. (technically you cannot sue the internet)
3- Benihana HQ can revoke your license to the newly opened franchise. Which would be a shame, but it would have a moral to that story… Whats a couple thou of kuwaiti dinars of a loss in investments in a restaurant anyways… And you can stick to Subway, Charlie’s Grill Subs, Jump Asian Fast Food, and Al Khiam restaurant and attempt to run these. BUT OH WAIT, this information is public now, watch how all the Kuwaiti residents boycott these branches as well, hey theres always McDonalds
4 – I will humor you and say that you will sue the blow owner Mark… you will probably lose, as its a matter of an opinion.
5 – I will humor you some more, even if you do win the case, which you won’t, the consumers, residents of kuwait, and the middle east will have no faith or trust in your brands anymore. They will feel that you have taken advantage of a person expressing their opinion on whats probably a fact (bad quality followed by bad consumer rights, followed by bad customer service. You will lose the battle of The People VS. La Palma.

Do the right thing.

Yes and send your text here

If you’re too lazy, it’s ok copy and paste what I wrote to them. If we put pressure from a large number of people they will respond.

Regarding the lawsuit your kuwait branch has filed against a blogger who wrote about his opinion at the restaurant

Your franchise in Kuwait is messing up big time. Please look into it. An innocent blogger shared his humble opinion about his experience on his blog, someone’s ego probably got hurt and now he’s being sued .

Please contact them and do something about it asap. Kuwait is a small country, and word of mouth travels like wildfire. If you w…ant to do well here, you’ll need to put and end to this charade asap


This was happened in my country. Unfortunately, the one who got sued lost the battle. Then she need to pay a big amount of money.

You know what?
All the people supporting her by collecting the money by coins.

so the company who sued her becoming uncle scrooge with all the coins.

Let say, IF you lost, maybe we all together can collect coins (only coins) to get 5001 KD.

That soundz like a pretty apt response if things happen to go south, hopefully NOT!!

I’ll be glad to help convert the KD’s into coins for u guys :):):)

Did I mention that the fish cuts used in banihana r the cheapest! Even the soya souse was the cheap kind. For gods sake the wasabi wasn’t hot! Banihana should drop the case and post an official apology to mark on their facebook or wherever. And spice it up a little. Try to make things nice again. Better if they shut down the place and replace it with cheese cake factory. 

I’m boycotting the restaurant if they win this case..or I’m gonna boycott it anyway and Not coz of the review coz of the childish reaction and the way they can’t handle personal taste

Here is what I sent them:

Are you aware that your Kuwait branch is taking a blogger to court for writing a review about his experience?

Are you aware that before this lawsuit, people would still have tried out the branch, but after this lawsuit, no one would consider it?

Are you aware that a corporation should know how to utilize social media for their benefit rather than ruin their reputation?

Such actions should embarrass your corporation and I advise that you take action to fix your image rather than have it being tarnished by your franchise, who has harmed the brand more than the reviewer would ever be able to do.

You may be able to see the feedback on twitter when searching for #benihanaKUW and you can see the feedback on Benihana-Kuwait’s facebook page.

Articles have been posted not just in Kuwait, but it has spread in less than 12 hours throughout the region and internationally too.

You still have a chance to fix things… if you act fast.

We had a horrible experience at that restaurant too.
Sorry but like it or not it wasn’t good.. This is non sense.. I’ve never heard of such a thing?! suing for a restaurant review??? What about all those food critics? are they operating illegally?

I refuse to be forced fed bland bad food.. and not talk about it ;P

Whether you wrote it, blogged it, tweeted it or not.. Their food still needed a lot of improvement.

Mark you have our support man, best of luck. Looking at the list of restaurant they own, non of them is actually worth it. They should not waste their time suing people, try to improve so you gain customers back. So shallow and childish.

Btw, Just wondering….dosnt Mike Servo, sound like a 1970’s adult pornstars name. I mean you cant make this sh*t up.

USA Benihana just backed off and threw it on Benihana Tokyo, Classic.

Update: The Facebook account of Benihana has just been updated to reveal some very interesting information. As it turns out, there are in fact two entities that share the Benihana name. The one that suing Makhoul is BenihanaGroup, and its sister company is taking distance from them and their actions. From their post:

While we have a shared interest in the BENIHANA brand, we have no control over Benihana of Tokyo, Inc.’s business or legal decisions. Consequently, we cannot comment or opine on the alleged lawsuit filed by Benihana of Tokyo, Inc. except to say that we are never pleased to hear of any BENIHANA customer’s negative experience. We encourage you to share your opinions and comments directly with Benihana of Tokyo, Inc. The company’s contact information is available on

I just emailed Benihana Group using the contact page at their website and I am boycotting all the restaurants (listed in the lawsuit page) owned by the same company to show my support to you, Mark. This is freedom of speech we’re talking about. This is not acceptable. Everyone should boycott Benihana and other restaurants owned by the same company . It is OUR RIGHT not to eat at their restaurants and I am going to exercise it. Let them lose KDs in revenues for their stupid lawsuit.

Who knows quiznos subs? Really they should replace benihana with quiznos. Or chick-fil-a! The best chicken sandwich ever. But wait!! I got good memories about those joints…. Dont mess that up ! So on other thoughts…. Shut down benihana and bring cheese cake factory 

man this is plain stupid. if they had some sense, agter reading the article they should have had invited you again and asked for a second shot at critics. this way they will ruin their own business. everyone has a right to express ones feeling after they have a meal. i mean come on!

omg…7aram naby 7oreyat in kuwait BUT MARK ana sema3at ena fy nas wayed ra7 yerfe3oon 3alik qathaya in kuwait,,,so t.c coz in kuwait they will wen akeeeed 🙁

An excellent “Not to Do” case study in brand/communications crises management is being currently demonstrated by Benihana Kuwait! Hilarious! I think their entire management team should sell falafel in Friday market! I’m so much including this as a case study, in my “strategic brand management” presentation for a class of marketing students in one of the universities next week!

The Power of Socail Media is still undermined in our region!

I can guarantee that Benihana will be receiving so much BS that they’re bound to retract this whole fiasco. We have your back Mark, you’re not alone we’ll all fight and overcome this. The power of the internet is NOTHING combined to newspapers. We can do this.

Ok i guess message is delivered . Oh benihana got any face water to save then now it’s the time. What will happen if a food critic magazine pops in Kuwait? Any one tried jail food? Is it good? No?

m3ak mark all the way.. it was ur experience and ur own view, just want to say that if they are what they claim to be they should be open to critics . b.s. from ur side benihana owners..

viva le mark

First of all, the claim does not have merits because it is based on assumptions and for that they should prove a lot of things; second, your review is within the practice of the industry because there hundreds of review books, otherwise, we would throw the Guide Michelin and other guides in the garbage. Third, the proper practice of the business is that restaurant owners themselves request the review of their customers and when they are not satisfied owners should try and re-invite the same customer to a new trial. fourth, Mark should sue them because they tried to poison him when serving him uncooked chicken which is extremely dangerous and this is due to the lack of training of the staff and which is obvious. ask for an expert to go to the restaurant and to investigate how the chosen meals are prepared, how much time they should be put over the fire and to test it and report the results of the tasting test. Finally, spread the word, terrorizing bloggers like that is typical to some cast of mentally disrupted ppl and they should stop.

I agree with the guy that said ” if you dont have anything good to say then dont say anything” maybr u like to speak your mind mark o ahaneek 3ala hashay bas hathy arzag. You know that you control many minds by giving a bad review many people will take you opinion and not go. Hathy byoot o ga63 arzag do you know how much this will cost them ans their family by just “speaking your mind?” i am totally against the lawsuit it is the most stupid thing to do when trying to deal with a bad review.
Goodluck mark but i really hope in the future before giving a bad review think about how it may affect thier business. Its money and family we’re talking about. Put yourself in their shoes

I really like you mark and i wish you the best.

Arzag? The food was undercooked. People could have had food poisoning. Nothing in his review was faked or written to slander anyone. That was his experience and his opinion. People make their own choices, they are not blind sheep that just follow what any blogger says. If in fact the food was undercooked (and we’re talking about chicken which poses a serious threat if not cooked properly) then the public has the right to know wouldn’t you agree?

Which is why I said “IF in fact…”

However, given the circumstances of the law suit, the chicken is to be officially considered undercooked, poisonous and down right fatal by the defense in the same way the prosecution “claims” Mark promoted other Sushi eateries in a shady conspiracy to bring the whole Benihana brand down for some crazy personal reasons…

I’s a business (and in this case a big franchise), not a family. This isn’t how you conduct a business. If you can’t accept negative criticism, which help you improve, then you should have never gotten into the business.

Gimme a break with your sappy “ga63 arzag” bullshit, “Me”. They could have simply upped their game and re-invited him to try their restaurant at its best for another review like another eatery did if I remember correctly. Taking criticism graciously and bettering their buisness will not “ga63 arzag” anyone, quite the contrary.

way to tarnish your image benihana, for being new to the market you basically committed business suicide by doing this without thinking.. In hindsight these actions should not have taken place.. Rule no.1 the customer is always right whether you agree with it or not. Its the job of the establishment to satisfy the customer, you know the person/people who pay your wages including you Mr. Mike Servo, btw are you french??

Salut, adios and bye bye… you should be ashamed of yourself..

If you even bothered to read the title of Marks original post, it said Benihana experience, which he portrayed without being malicious or condescending..

you can count the growing number of support on this page, and multiply it ten fold… heard of word of mouth?? for god sake this fiasco made cnn…

from a PR perspective, the case is basically franchise suicide.

How much did it cost to file the case? What ever the cost may be, I think it would’ve been cheaper if they re-invited Mark to have an improved experiance and to maybe write a better review.

Restaurants need to listen to what the people are saying or else how are they going to improve their quality?

Now this case is going to serve as precedent for the future. Which begs the question, as bloggers, what are our rights? What can we or can’t we do?

Is it illegal to take a video of something and post it without prior notice? What about pictures? As bloggers, we need to know these things before we do something that could potentialy get us in trouble.

Another thing, If Mark is going to get sued and pay that hefty fine, then what about all the other bloggers of Kuwait that wrote something negative about a restaurant experiance in the past?

What can you say? Arrogant people with boatloads of money don’t want to be humble, either their or no one’s way

What about me? I actually spoke to the manager few weeks about and told him how bad my food was. So am safe cuz I didn’t blog it? Is that how it works? Let’s ask the smart legal Dept folks at benihana.
Verre rules. Best English restaurant!

Forgot to mention, that, it seems they did not consult their franchisor prior to taking this action. This unpopular and unethical lawsuit will indefinitely and adversely affect the “Benihana” trademark and I believe the franchisor and undermine its real value. Once the Franchisor, if not already, knows about it, they will not understand what were these f… id…s thinking when they filed the lawsuit.

On the other hand, a review by Mark may be remedied through inviting him to an improved experience and requesting him to publish a new and more convenient review.

I believe, things should be said to the Franchisor about the actions taken by these clowns and about the fraud they tried to fabricate on this blog itself. Isn’t this called commercial fraud when they pretend to be customers who had an incredible experience at Benihana? weren’t some restaurants shut by Ministry of commerce because of commercial fraud??

Although I don’t like some of your topics and I had my shares of differences in opinion with you, I actually “and I can’t believe I’m saying this” I support u in this matter they “the restaurant” got no right what so ever in their lawsuit.

This case actually goes beyond restaurant reviews. What about other products and services reviews that ranges from gadgets, devices to postal or flight services. If we couldn’t write our own criticism because we might get sued for our opinions then what’s the point of ratings? How would the future product or service will improve? It kills one of the most essential ingredient cycle in the mass communication field and that is Feedback.

Arzag! Can someone sell drugs then get caught then we say his rezg was cut off by el maba7eth!!!! This matter wasn’t take into action by one smart dude at benihana, it was a group act. They came up with this stupid idea and they r going to cut off their rezg by their own hands!

Are u lebanes in Kuwaiti means;::: I’m more powerful than u r. Me strong u lebanes. U eat food now. Sorry to allly brothers and sisters of Kwt but we do assume that we r in a higher authority cuz we r kwtis. Just like when an American shouts I’m an American f,;)$$k u and ur country! Sorry but it’s true. Hey lady gaga is going to sing for Lebanon!

Mark, out of curiosity, did you willfully give them your full name and civil ID#? How else did they get this info?

Yes i agree with you Othman bas itha 7asha tasamom (il7imdila ina ma7asha) yes i agree ina yaktib hashay o inabih inas ina ilma63am wa9ikh 3ashan yintaboun. Lana 7atana chan sawait nafs ishey. Bas its mark akbar blog bil kwait wayid nas lama yigroun a bad review mara7 iro7on. Thts hat i mean ib arzag. Bas itha ilma63am wa9ikh hatha shay thany.

Shako drugs bil mawtho3? Hatha ma63an rizga 7alal o its legal . Bitgoli drugs shako? Flos Drugs maysamonha “rizg”

Plus i totally agree ina their reaction is stupid and unprofessional o mark mayistahil kil hatha.

Laish a lawsuit? Karihaw ilpublic feehom. O 9a7 kalamich om abdulla ib hal ta9arof g6a3aw rezghom beedhom

I think the restaurant owner should move his place to more dictatorial countries in the surrounding region. Kuwait is liberal and advocates freedom of speed and everyone’s opinion should be respected.
Bad move Al-Mutairi, you baffle me. All this bad press, over one blog post? IT’S AN OPINION, NOT EVERYONE IS GONNA LOVE YOUR PRECIOUS RESTAURANT.
I for one will never eat at your place.
good luck running the business to the ground 🙂

if 0.01% of your readers took in consideration your review and decided not to try Benihana, now that number will increase heavily and boycott it completly. What an easy way for a restaurant to have such a dumb manager that shoots himself in the foot. What will he gain from this? 5000 KD? shutting 248am? Making a point…well for sure Benihana is screwed in Kuwait.

This is just stupid on what they are doing to you, but i am suprised at someone had to have mentioned to the owner about your blog and the review and/or a follower of your blog reported this to the owner, i feel so ashamed at that person right now.

Benihana Group replied:

January 31, 2011 – New York, New York.
Benihana of Tokyo, Inc. is aware that a law suit has been filed by its franchisee in Kuwait, the Las Palmas Restaurant Company, against a popular local blogger.
Since we have not read nor received a copy of the law suit, it would be inappropriate for us to make a comment at this time. Until we can review all the facts, there is no way for us to know if the reported legal action has merit.
Nevertheless, the Benihana organization takes pride in the quality of its food and the showmanship of its renowned chefs. We have been in business since 1964 and have become the largest Japanese themed restaurant chain in the world. All feedback – both positive and negative are taken very seriously.

Is it a common practice of Benihana worldwide to be unprofessional?
“Since we have not read nor received a copy of the law suit….” then why the hell don’t you ask for it? Or are you waiting someone to bring it to you on a GOLDEN PLATE?

Now I am not that surprised about the way their branch in kuwait is behaving!

This is the first time I read your blog. I read it because of the law case filled against you, I did not believe that until I have read your posts. I support you with all my energy. I will work as hard as I can in making all my dewaniyas I go to, everybody I know to BOYCOTT BENIHANA by telling them ur case. Tell your lawyer to use the Kuwaiti constitution in finding the freedom of media means Articles and providing them in court. BENIHANA i love ur adds that are really tempting 🙂 bas u disappointed me in what you did to this blogger. Suffer the consequences of limiting people’s freedom. Hopefully you will have limited income from your actions. Best of luck in your case blogger.

They could’ve just let the blog post slide and moved on and hoped as few people as possible saw it. Now by suing you, they’ve ensured that not only will more people see the original post but they’ve embarrassed themselves further. This Mike Servo guy is a complete buffoon.

dont let them have it their way mark !! what youre doing is right !! if u end up loosing this case dont worry 😛 i bet all your readers are willing to make donations .. and im very sure they can surpass a 5001 kd fee or whatever .. hahaha .. keep up the reviews !! best of luck ;p

one more point ide like to make .. what if he shuts down ?? you can open another website 😛 theyre going to file a lawsuit for that too ?? .. but i still hope u win this

i ate at benihana a few ago, and guess what it sucked big deal and i also came out stinking of food, I will never go there again

Restaurants should know that if they ever did this people will hate them even more…

was going to try this place.. Now hell no i am too afraid that if i said the food isn’t quite good i will get sued or something

Unfortunate to have someone sue you for a comment. See it from this angle, they could sue you, by saying because of your comment, they have lost business, which is absurd.

If it were the US they could even sue you for taking pictures and video in their restaurant for copyright issue. Copyright for their trade secrets for cooking and preparing a particular dish.

W.R.T Kuwait there is no such law, they have put this up for publicity, now the whole of Kuwait know they are around, many might just walk in.

I am putting up this on my blog for support. Heads up Mark, there is no win-win situation, but in fact you could sue them for defamation. 😀

ummmm correct me if im wrong…but no where in ur entire review did u say any word that indicates u wanted to vomit….if the lawyer is banking on the judge not knowing english, i dont mind translating ur entire review

I always read Ahlan magazine and check their ratings for restaurants in Dubai. It really helps. Thank god for food critiques and bloggers. I hope in the near future we get an official and professional food critique magazine that criticizes every restaurant in the Kuwait and prizes the good ones. It will be the restaurants who follow the bloggers and critiques to write about them. That’s the power of word of mouth. Internet is an open domain. Just like how business men get the freedom to choose how they operate their businesses. And suie people. Then regret it big time.

باني هانا اذا أنتو خوش مطعم المفروض ما يهمكم احد لان اكلكم المفروض قوي! بس شكركم أنتو نفسكم لايعه جلودهم من السمج الرخيص و الدياي البائت والمنيو كله. و بدال لا تعدلون المنيو… تحرشوا بواحد ماله شغل بفشلكم! بالعكس اهو ضحية الفشل مالكم مثل ما أنا بعد كنت ضحيه قبل أسبوعين!

I still like subway. Sorry. To be fair I guess that shows you that this is the management mistake.. But the owner must know about it very well.. This whole thing is weird. We want a conference and let almutairi explain why he thought it’s a good idea to suie a guy and know his firm is going to loose?! Does he got that much money to pay a lawyer to do this nonsense! Almutairi u could have bought better fish and chicken to your benihana instead. And change the old buda bar music u got playing there.

kl ensan mobtala a7s Hatha no3 mn el balaa oo bl 3aks ana ashofa dalel naja7k wish u All the best ya rab oo inshallah u will win your case

Maybe they’ve had a downfall on revenue because their location in the avenues is hidden and is close shops that sell cloth such as dunhill or Hassans optical co.

I’m Gona sue the weather for being gloomy. Then sue my self for not working out. Then let my right hand sue my left hand for it doing most my daily hand writing!!! Then sue my kids for being too adorable which I can’t Handel it then I will go to benihana and eat then sue my self for going there.

I also like to mention if worst comes to worst (god forbid) , Mark’s fans and most of Kuwait won’t go to benihanas because they tool away something that alot of people check out (248am) which results in benihanas closing

Emagin now someone goes to benihana and eats there… And just a little before he finishes his meal…. The manager comes to him!!!!! During those few seconds….. What will the customer think or do?

A) shoot him self
B) calls his lawyer


SO, if Benihana of Kuwait apologizes….would that make things back to normal?

What will it take to forgive Benihana once this thing is over?

there no such thing as ‘once this thing is over’ because once it’s over one of the sides will lose, either Mark or Benihana.

So it’s preferred that they act now, actually now, before another minute passes.

They should:
1- Drop the case (BENEFIT for Benihana = Everybody loves real people specially who admit their mistakes, they feel closer to them)
2- Admit that filing a case was wrong (write a press release, write on their FB page, write on their website) (BENEFIT for Benihana = Show that they are a fair company)
3- write an apology letter to the PUBLIC where they state and reasuure that the customer satisfaction is their first priority, and in order to achieve that they will make sure that they take corrective measures

Only then they have a chance to minimize the damaged caused by them.

Love the blog, and want you to know that you should keep at it!!! Such a pathetic show of PR management clearly shows a problem in the way they work. I’d have thought they would have invited you back and treated you to a complimentary meal to show you that they can actually make good food. Instead they sue??

Serves them right to feel the backlash of their childish actions.

Good on ya Mark! God bless!

They should shut down for a while, then re open with new management, staff, and menu . Then invite mark to try their food. And give him money. Or a free 2 weeks trip to Hawaii.
I’m afraid servo will then just go and work somewhere else!!! And make more brilliant ideas on how to ruin your business in 10 days.

Remember when Mark reviewed all three arabic grills, Turkish grill fought back with a well written letter, very professional and made everyone want to eat there soon after. it should have been handled that way!!

You’ve been served by Mike Servo! Sorry I couldn’t resist that 😉

In the US and UK, restaurant reviews are often brutal and yet nobody every sued a newspaper, let alone a blog, over a bad review. Imagine also if a film studio released a bad movie and then sued the critics for trashing it!!

Furthermore, was Benihana’s business directly affected by your blog post? How can they even prove that?! They have no case, and in fact Mike Servo should be fired for dragging their name into a court case just as they starting operations. Talk about shooting oneself in one’s foot!!

Hey Marky Mark

Im so so sorry that this is happening to you! Please let us know when your court date is so that “we” can all come…you know we are character witnesses!

Growing up in America (Connecticut), my Uncle Jim would drive two hours to New York city every other month. And we always chose Benihana’s as our special treat for the day.

I gotta tell you that the chefs I witnessed in NYC were completely amazing! Even before your review, we went to Benihana’s in Kuwait for lunch right after it launched.

We walked up to the entrance and two things stopped me from entering:

1. The smell of the food was nothing like I remembered.

2. There was not really much activity from the chefs “cooking” with the exception of a few clinks and clanks here and there. My kids were appalled because I had already showed them YouTube videos from the REAL Benihana’s

So we left and ate somewhere else.

Benihana in Kuwait lost me as a customer before Mark’s review AND before I even entered the establishment. I have been in Kuwait for several years and HALF of the American franchises that I have visited in Kuwait taste NOTHING like their American counterparts. But I won;t be naming names cuz’ I do not want to end up in court with you Mark (no offense)

Now to anyone reading this blog, let’s all rally together for our beloved Mark. Here is the contact info for Benihana’s corporate headquarters.

Let’s ALL contact them (with good manners) and express our outrage over Mark being sued. I am sure that the license holder in Kuwait is breaking some of THEIR terms of the license.

Viva La 2:48am! xoxox

you should be contacting (tokyo) – they grant franchises here.

The link you referred to is for the Miami based (north american) Benihana corporation which is a separate legal entity.

IN SPITE OF THAT – Benihana Kuwait uses the US website as their URL on their Facebook page. False advertising? Should we sue?

Mark we support you, as we all support freedom of speech so this law suit is already a waste of time but I think they might request that 248am stop posting till the lawsuit is over so be carefull and make sure you inform your lawyer about this stall of time that benihana is trying to do so they may harm your blog..

Hey Moe do you have any idea what will happen if they even discuss this???? Closing down will make ME set up a new blog dedicated to daily posts about the terror Benihana is causing the Kuwaiti public. This is an outrage!

I know, and i think we should start a cyber campaign on Benihana, and media Campaign.

Mark first we need you to make a Press release stating the incedent till now and we (media and connections with other media) will send it to the editors in our media and other media as well to publish it.

As for cyber attack, we have Twitter, Facebook group which we should call it something like “Kuwait Free right vs Benihana” and Emails (send to all your contact about the case that is happening), Email also Benihana HQ from all of us complaining what a big disapointment is that having to deal with the local branch this way

The comment about the smell is true. If the staff at benihana remember,,, I was the one who asked u to keep my coat in s bag next to the door cuz I didn’t want it to catch the awful smell of burnt oil.

looking at how this being spread over the internet and on their facebook I can say they are officially F###ed.

Thats the power of people!

well i posted a review on the benihana’s FB website and got a response from them which can be read here!/agnomen/posts/123090671096723?notif_t=feed_comment

also posting what they have commented
Benihana Representative
At Benihana, we continuously strive to improve our relationships with our guests and our community. We take any and all customer reviews very seriously and consider them opportunities for improving our operations and making the customer’s …BENIHANA experience more unique, authentic, and enjoyable.

Over the last few days, we have read your posts regarding an alleged lawsuit filed by “Benihana” against a blogger based in Kuwait for posting an unfavorable review of a newly-opened, BENIHANA restaurant location in Kuwait. We hear you and wish to correct any misinformation.

The BENIHANA brand is co-owned by two separate and distinct corporate entities – Benihana, Inc. and Benihana of Tokyo, Inc. We, Benihana, Inc., own, operate and franchise nearly 100 BENIHANA restaurants in states and countries throughout the United States, Central America, South America and the Caribbean. You can find our locations by visiting the website. Benihana of Tokyo, Inc. owns, operates, or franchises BENIHANA restaurants in various other parts of the world, including, Kuwait. You can view Benihana of Tokyo, Inc.’s locations by visiting

While we have a shared interest in the BENIHANA brand, we have no control over Benihana of Tokyo, Inc.’s business or legal decisions. Consequently, we cannot comment or opine on the alleged lawsuit filed by Benihana of Tokyo, Inc. except to say that we are never pleased to hear of any BENIHANA customer’s negative experience. We encourage you to share your opinions and comments directly with Benihana of Tokyo, Inc. The company’s contact information is available on

Ate at benihana 2 weeks ago, was horrible, never going there again, and they cant do anything to you have no worries

I think servo was wondering a month ago… Why everyday we have less and less people coming in… He thought and he thought… Then it hits him! It’s that mark blogger! He did this! But the truth is mr servo…. It was the bad food u servo at benihana. Leave the people alone. It’s a free country. Other wise u wouldn’t leave ur tree house and come to Kwt to work!

I should add that I’ve heard many restaurant owners complain about Mark’s reviews and my reply to them is always “if that’s your attitude, your business wouldn’t last a day in the real world outside of your pampered Kuwaiti bubble!!”

The practice of proper criticism hasn’t been ingrained in our society yet, and all we ever read about restaurants are “puff pieces” raving about dishes not fit for human consumption

Dear Mark ,
Can you tell me how Time and money did it cost to make this great blog??
So let’s say instead you’ve openned a Restraunt . On your 1st weeks or so , some mistakes Do happen, or the taste is lacking . you gotta give’im some break . because it’s not easy to run a reatraunt , Specially A jAPANESE ONE!
Do you Recall the the burger-union Incident?
Do you how much time , money and TRAINING the employees would cost ?
Instead of trying the food , you’ve gone Bashing them for the looks and the decor !
Just Grow up.
Please understand ,
Best Regards

Benihana is a franchise, a world wide brand. Even if it’s the first week, employees have been training for weeks if not months. Instead of suing Mark they could improve on the mistakes. Raw chicken is dangerous and it’s horrible that a restaurant would serve raw chicken. So think about these things before saying that Mark “bashed” the decor, re read the review and notice the mistakes.

Sorry Axed-Gamer, its you that needs to “grow up”, get out of your closeted world and into real life.

The view had good and bad points, but that wouldn’t put off most of Mark’s readers, as others have said, we’re not sheep, we know its a newly opened restaurant and that you can’t please all of the people all of the time.

However, a business will be judged on how it reacts, LPRC could have said nothing, or even better, engaged in a positive way to try and put its point across, instead it chose to intimidate and bully.

The ridiculous over-reaction by LPRC is causing a firestorm of negative publicity, the impact of Mark’s review is miniscule compared to this – you reap what you sow.

“Sorry Axed-Gamer, its you that needs to “grow up”, get out of your closeted world and into real life.”

I Beg Your Pardon?

Please ,Read my post again .
This is not the 1st time it happens.
Btw , LPRC???
I don’t like the “me and my army ” attitude at all.
But , hey He’ll end up to be refused or kicked out of the Restraunts .

yes, LPRC – Las Palmas Restaurant Company, the claimant in this case, the Benihana franchisee? Did you read the claim form??

You do raise a valid point about the “me and my army” attitude though, except that it is directed at the wrong party. It was LPRC that escalated this by its overreaction in filing a case and attempting to stifle fair comment – but maybe you don’t like that in your cozy little world where only glowing restaurants reviews are permitted?

1st of all , What’s with the “REAL WORLD” . Do you watch too Much Reality Shows? Or did my Nick indicate to you that I’m Pretty shut-down?
2ndly , I own a business and I Believe everyone should Complain Out , Only If :
-After contacting the Owner/Manger ..etc .
-the problem is not sort Out.

But Yeah , That was Bad Publicity NOT ONLY to the Restraunt , for Mark Also. We don’t want to see bloggers being kicked out Or Rejected to every new restraunt

I can’t imagine the site being shutdown , But Freedom of speech Should be Labeled free For I.A.* .

I think you have missed the Burger Union Post , Here:

*Ignorance and Arrogance.

Yawn…. I mean the real world as in: where real people live and where restaurant reviews are exactly that, a reflection of personal opinion, not an advertisement.

And what are you on about, how is this bad publicity for Mark/248am? His daily average number of hits must have gone through the roof in the past 24hrs, with more comments on an article than I can recall, together with global coverage, the overwhealming majority of which positive. Unless Mark walks round with a tattoo on his forehead saying “I’m Mark from 248am” I can’t see how he is going to be barred/reject from new restaurants.

And why do you keep harking back to the Burger Union Post? What’s you’re involvement there? The only connection I can see is that in that instance Mark decided to walk away from bullying and threats, but in this instance he is standing up – a stance which seems to be widely supported in Kuwait and abroad.

“So think about these things before saying that Mark “bashed” the decor, re read the review and notice the mistakes.”

Read again! !
The Burger Union Post, He did Bash it! and there’s a post the owner asked him to withdraw it , or he’ll get sued .
it’s under “Censorship Sucks”

He has the right to criticize anything, he’s a blogger/reviewer. What does needing to “grow up” Have to do with anything? Is Benihana not a franchise? Are you telling me it would’ve killed them to take what Mark said into consideration? And how to defend raw chicken?

I don’t give a crap how much money they spent on a business, if they can’t accept criticism, they don’t belong in the business world.

HAHAHAHAHA! thats a joke right? HOLLY COW! This is so stupid


Big mistake BIG MISTAKE benihana! there is no way goin back now.. WE HATE U

I will make sure to tweet this joke to the world!

Mark all this is good for u ppl now recognize how ur blog is successful and how benihana is full of bullshit.

This is a PR disaster for them. By the look of things one could suspect that they sued you at your abetting, when you consider the kind of international fame and support you are receiving at the moment.

Moreover they are claiming that you are seeking publicity for your site by posting fake news. They also claim that your site is read by “tens of thousands” of people.
Why would any one getting more than tens of thousands of hit a day seek more publicity using cheap stunts?

Every person has the right to his own opinion. If I say I don’t like the taste, how can anyone else say the statement is false. How can anyone prove that?

This lawsuit can be attributed under “most ridiculous” lawsuits.

Axed-Gamer: that’s the purpose of a review- to express either negatively or positively. It’s not his problem if a restaurant lacks in food quality, prep, staff training and decor.


All power to you buddy! I read your review before deciding whether to go or not and now I’m definitely not! Also, I’m 1/2 Lebanese, so there’s an issue there too 😉

Did you get in touch with Benihana USA about this?


Benihana benihana! This is bad! Very very bad! ( are you Lebanese ?) mark should sue you for being racist. You know…. If the food is bad that’s one thing, but now you proved that benihana hates Lebanese, bloggers, people with an opinion, and food critiques. Now you tell me… Which is worst? Which is consedered a pr disaster?
Are u the first restaurant to have been voted as a bad one? No!
Do you really give your self the execuze of ( oh we just opened blah blah) ! Is that what u tell ur boss every day? ( give me one more chance) and u want all of us to do the same? Why?

I’m not Lebanese and i feel disgusted with the “BTW are you Lebanese?” comment,Where do the citizens of the world go to file a lawsuit for a “Crime against Humanity”.



Servo…. Other than Lebanese ,,, whom do u hate as well? You should get treated! Did they check your past before hiring u to destroy the business?

is there even a slight chance that they could win the case? i don’t think so.
where is the freedom of speech?

but then, this could be a good thing. Benihana is promoting you free of cost 😉
good or bad… publicity is publicity 😉

btw, just for the record.. No Benihana for me.
and is the PR manager of Benihana an egyptian? 😉 no offence:p

Benihana just helped his competitors like maki, Sakura, edo, (sultan sushi) by handing them the peoples opinion. . On the pros and cons of dealing with costomers. Servo,,, whom do you really work for? 

don’t worry Mark, i am currently suing them for their bad taste in advertising ! I got frustrated the first time i saw their highway billboard ! their ad caused a sever trauma to all my senses.
I’ve wanted to ask you this for so long, never had the chance:”btw, are you Lebanese”? :p
im quite sure the outcome is positive.

all the leading food chains should use this Court case to there advantage……

Should make promotional ads such as “Visit us and rate us, we won’t sue you…” 😛 😀 😀

something like that

Just got the same response as Design Voyeur from Benihana Group.

I think it’s great that a lot of people are discussing the issue here but believe that it would also be extremely beneficial to raise our concerns with Las Palmas’ action with Benihana Group, the media and on social networks.

We need to set a precedent that bullying the consumer and abusing the legal system will not go unanswered.

Mark I love ur blog! I hope u win this court case so that other restaurants learn how to treat their customers and make sure their experience is a pleasant one instead of a dreadful one. I’m angry u had to go thru this! It only shows how such businesses don’t care about customers, they only care about profit! I hate Japanese food anyways!

i was just thinking about it and the whole point of sueing mark is the because of the “bad publicity” .. this issue is now on tv and print.. its only more bad publicity for benihana now because no one is going to forget them as the company “who sues a blogger”

Way to go Mark. This could be just the thing to catapult you into international stardom. Milk it buddy.

Having said that, I gotta be honest. I think it’s kinda ridiculous how dramatic reactions are to this. All this righteous indignation. Dude, it was a friggin food review and you got sued for money you’re probably never gonna end up paying because the whole idea of a restaurant suing a blogger for a bad food review is a joke.

In the meantime, the intensity of the reactions makes it seem like you actually made a worthwhile statement which is being denounced by a dark evil power insistent on maintaining corruption and the destruction of all good.

Screw the lawyer’s advice and like I said, milk it buddy.

This is known as (Business) Hara-Kiri, depending on how you look at it. Benihana, has been “a japanese restaurant since 1968″…I keep wondering what they were before that…and now it shows…it takes time to learn !!
Good luck Mark

Now, if Benihana sued Mark only for taking pictures without their permission, they would have gotten a lot of foot falls, just to see the decor, and could have converted those customers to eaters!!
But suing a blogger for his comments on their food, now thats kicking yourself in the backside!!

Do you know how many bloggers took pictures of Benihana and reviewed it in Kuwait? Mark is not the only that gave them a bad review with pictures! Does that mean that all these other bloggers will get sued for saying something negative towards Benihana of Kuwait?!

Stupid move on their behalf, they should be working on their flaws instead of suing people! Seriously, i got put off just by watching their commercial.. Cheap.

only few words …
HA and HA and HA … to the resturant pr manager …
i mean such unprofesional letter …

Mark, we are with you, i just dont blv what i am reading about suing you for your views …

is there any law in kuwait to stop you to do this?

Wow, what a sticky situation Mr. Servo & Benihana are in, they have done so much more damage to their reputation than they can imagine. Do they withdraw the legal action they have taken or do they stick to their guns and keep blindly and foolishly justifying their action.
What i think is that they should immediately withdraw the case, Higher Authority should step in from Benihana and invite Mark back there and attempt to satisfy him and prove that they are customer oriented, its not too late, in a week everyone will forget about this episode and the image of Benihana can be restored, people do have a very short term memory for this. However if they do go ahead with this lawsuit, then God be with them, its only a lose lose situation, even if they do win the case. ( which i doubt)
BTW if feel Mark should counter sue for Racist comment made by their Manager, Do you think any lebanese getting wind of this will ever step their restaurant who allows a racist manager as an employee? Nor will i ever, unless real concrete action is taken against that Manager of a person. I really wonder where a person of that low character comes from and more over becomes a manager.

Mark , in case they win , please accept donations. Reaching 5001 will be a walk in the park considering how many you have backing you.
for starter’s sake – KD 50 is up for take on my part.

Can’t believe freedom of personal food taste is being sued!!!! I mean it’s not POLITICS or RELIGION……goshhh !!!!!

Hope your lawyer will handle it well, and the negative case will turn to your benefit, and your blog become more famous ( which i think is already), and u get more advert and earn more money ;)))))))

Keep ur shin up mate !!!!

As for Benihana… i hope the main Branch realized that they gave their license to the wrong kuwaiti who can’t handle a bad critic from a client (which is normal in a restaurant business)and do something about it.

I liked Benihana when i ate there, quiet entertaining and i liked their food, but i hated my stinky cooking oil smell i had when i left ….a personal opinion… that’s what blogs are for…..

I find it so hard to believe that all you people are siding with Mark…

I’m a long time reader 3rd time poster… I really REALLY hope benihana win.

You think a Mark and Khalid Al-Shimali will win vs Las Palms restaurant?

This guy has subway under his wing and if he thinks he can deport Mark and his wife… He just might be able too.

Deported for a bad food review? You’re joking!

Subway is a SANDWICH SHOP…very basic and not that hard to run. In any business, it’s “THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT”….basic business practice. If he can’t take any criticism, he should not be in business!

budalal I’d love to see you run a restaurant that has 40 branches in Kuwait.

Why should he take criticism? Mark is downgrading benihana and promoting restaurants hes works for under JWT…

People open your eyes! How would you like it if he did it to you to benefit his own company?!

Mark reviews restaurants since the beginning of the blog and writes criticisms and good things on them no company had a problem except benihana that does not mean he was working for every restaurant in kuwait

Do you realize that the allegations made by the prosecution in the court order are false? JWT has nothing to do with Maki or any other restaurant Mark preferred over Benihana. Furthermore, even if JWT did advertise for Maki, the prosecution has no case unless they can prove that Mark’s intentions in making his review were to downgrade the Benihana brand name. Their lawyer is going to have a hard time proving any of these allegations.

simply the devil’s advocat:
Benihana’s food isn’t satisfying at all, and i do agree with Mark. but, on the other hand, i think Mark did one “mistake” (intentional or not) which is naming competitors and favoring them on Benihana.
from my point of view, its a mistake because Mark’s blog is very popular. Goshh, u have almost 10,000 daily visitors. and people read your blog and they trust your judgment. so naming other competitors might harm benihana (although their chefs have already taken care of this).
now Benihana: suing a blogger for a bad review or/and brand isnt a smart PR move! this whole issue could have been handled in secrecy and without all this fuss. (e.g: ask Mark kindly to remove the names of the competitors, or invite Mark for dinner and show him the real taste of benihana…).
if i’m the judge, my judgments are:
– Mark, remove the competitors name, and keep the bad food review. [free speech]
-Benihana, act wisely. take into consideration your brand image, and finally drop this stupid law suit.

I think Mark is fully justified in mentioning the nearby competitors, it is usual to conclude a review with how the product fits into the relevant market. Just as with car reviews, its entirely normal and fair to say I prefer the Jaguar/ Porsche/Aston over [X] car, or I prefer [BB] over [Nokia/iPhone whatever] – do restaurant reviews have special rules?

Sven, i do agree with you, but in Mark’s case, it is not justifiable. just think about the other way, lets say any restaurant hires a “PR” to bring customers, usually PR ppl are well connected and they know loads of ppl, and they will spread a good work about this restaurant. see, it works the opposite way too, Mark/248am is an online PR guy, well connected, and his readers trust his judgment. so by “just” mentioning other brands, benihana brand will be effective. remember we are talking about a very small Market here – Kuwait-. although he has the right to do it, but on the other hand, benihana has the right to take action (but of course not a stupid law suit).

sorry , too many typos in my last reply. here you go:
Sven, i do agree with you, but in Mark’s case, it is not justifiable. just think about it the other way, lets say any restaurant hires a “PR” guy to bring/attract customers, usually PR ppl are well connected and they know loads of ppl, and they will spread a good word about this restaurant. see, it works the opposite way too, Mark/248am is an online PR guy, well connected, and his readers trust his judgments. so by “just” mentioning other brands existing in the same location, benihana brand will be effective. remember we are talking about a very small Market here – Kuwait- and brands trying hard to empower their marketshare. although he has the right to do it, but on the other hand, benihana has the right to take action (but of course not a stupid law suit)

Well then i guess they’re’ gonna sue him
*Puts on glasses*
In a Food Court of Law

Hello Mark and Nat. I’ve been watching your blog for a long time but this is my first time posting here.

According to the Kuwaiti constitution, freedom of speech is guaurenteed within the guide lines of the law. So every person has the right to express his or her opinion as long as they conform to the penal law and law of publications here in Kuwait. I’ve been watching your blog for a long time. I honestly don’t think I’ve come across any offensive post or something that’s worth getting sued over.

Good luck.

this story is going to be a classic of how not to do public relations. streisand effect on steroids.

what a coincidence that the manager involved has a name that is so easy to remember. good luck to him and his career – he might need it.


Hope all this turns out well, and this case gets thrown out exactly where it belongs (in the trash). Personal opinions should be heeded not served notice. They could have taken the criticism constructively, invited you over for a free dinner and given you a chance to better your opinion. Instead they knocked themselves straight in their face. What a fiasco Benihana.

As a suggestion Mark, much like a financial professionals are requrred to do in the USA when recommending stock picks you may want to consider disclosing whether or not you or your employer have a stake in the brands that you mention in your reviews (be it negative or positive). In that manner, you could avoid any possibilty of liability.

As you are no doubt well aware by now, there is right, there is wrong, and then there is the law. I’ve no doubt that Benihana will try to make the case that you and/or your employer have been unjustly enriched or have otherwise benefited by your mention of Benihanas competitors. If they can prove this and/or any actual damages, you could be in peril, legally speaking. You may also want to check into per se defamation law (don’t have to prove damages as it affects employment) as it pertains to your case in Kuwait.

Wish you the best of luck on your case. It takes some real cajones to stand up to a company that likely has deep pockets and potential wasta influence.

By the way, the Mike Servo Clown is Mada Hakim an Egyptian. we should all ask him: BTW are u Egyptian? WTF??

the lady who encouraged him in his effort above is Aseel Al-Saleh.

It is also nteresting to add that Benihana Management in Tokyo will be very interested that the guy who is managing their franchise in Kuwait (Mada hakim) has infringed copyrights:
YouTube account mohakimada has been terminated because we received multiple third-party notifications of copyright infringement from claimants including:

* GoodNews4me

The above is the result you get when you click on his youtube account as indicated under his Facebook profile.

You did no wrong. Nothing wrong with giving your opine on the some people might have thought it was fine or required more salt. And for the chefs cooking acrobatics search benihana in YouTube they’ll show and tell you each that every chef has his unique personality. Your chef did some cooking acrobatics and failed at every other try. So makes no sense. They probably thought this way they could control bad publicity, they should have reinvited with a free meal and made sure they showed their best. But what can you do.

PS: Make sure that if you win they compensate for the lawyers fee.

Dear Mark. I hope you read my comment and reply. I read your blog religiously and i expect in return an answer from you with honesty. I read almost all the comments and i read the coverage on your issue. I am just wondering about one thing, and to be honest i think you won’t answer me because it’ll just condemn you. I read your review once on Slider Station and Burger Hub and i am wondering now more than ever,

are you lebanese? :


Dear Mark,

I have read your blog & the court order… First and foremost, we have to consider many things.

I’ve been working for 4 years in a Legal Firms in a “Kingdom”, so there is no such as “freedom of speech” when it comes to bumping other’s right.

Before its too late, its better to ask an apology and ask for recommendation for what you have did, as there are now many people who is reading this article/thread became curious about “Benihana”.

May this problem solve.


What if Mark mentions Wasabi or Maki? Do you think after all those years and publicity they have, that Mark mentioning them in one sentence will benefit them?!

Haha! 5000 and ‘1’ KD are you kidding me?! who sues a blogger for criticizing their restaurant with 5000 and ‘1’ KD? They’re in it for the moolah bro. I pray things get better for you.
God bless!.

Received the standard response to my e-mail to Benihana of Tokyo, Inc. today. At least they are responding.Also sent the link to this whole fiasco through to a South African blogger.The more people following this,the better.

I side with the blogger and don’t think a lawsuit makes any sense here whatsoever.
However, the restaurant’s court order does raise two points about the original review:

i. I read the original review and it isn’t exactly professional. The author is essentially just ranting about the strange taste in his mouth for a big chunk of it. Given this exaggerated repugnance for some *grilled chicken*, I’m actually quite curious to see what this infamous grilled chicken tastes like. A better approach would have been to fault the chef and to add a caveat to the review, something like, “perhaps our chef just sucked.” Given the two videos that the blogger posted, I think it’s fairly obvious that the chef wasn’t exactly up to par. A more enlightening review of the restaurant would have faulted the chef who messed up your order, rather than the restaurant.

ii. The blogger took a video of the chef’s performance without permission. Is the blogger allowed to freely distribute this performance online? I mean, the restaurant charges its customers to see this performance, so I’m not sure if it’s cool to just distribute it like this. If I were Mr. Restaurant, I’d get you for that, rather than the comments.

I’m not sure about the original Arabic, but the English court order sounds like it was written by a four year old. Does Mr. Restaurant have a lawyer?


When are we getting those tshirts and going to avenues to protest??? 😀

Can the tshirt include the famous quote “are you lebanese???”

Hey Mark !

I read this Sevro guy’s letter posted by a blogger,

He said something about them not advertising on your blog and thats why they got bad reviews… (or what i can make of the badly written letter)…

Could you clarify this please?

Just a word of advice, when posting do post disclaimers like you dont work or have business relations with this resturant/business, etc… or have not recieved any gifts from it … so it will be more transparent and grounded 🙂

Just sayin 🙂

and dont worry, I dont think this case will inact precedence with bloggers in the future (your lawyer knows best i guess)

Take care 🙂

let me have the honor 😉
Mark doesn’t charge money for the reviews, if it’s worth posting he will for sure. as for the banners, as i was informed, most of them are already occupied/reserved for a while “so i don’t think he needs an extra advertiser like benihana 😉 “, i know that cause i have an event which i recently discussed with him and i got to know that reviews will be based on the quality of the event, he could have asked for money if he wanted since he knows how prestigious that event was. but he didn’t and based on what i have been reading for the past 4 years, i don’t think he ever does.

so here u go 😉

thanks for the quick post/reply 🙂

my question was … is there any talk btw mark and this guy on having benihana advertise on mark’s blog? As the letter seems to indicate.

from what you said since he has such high demand to advertise on his blog… i’d think no?

like to hear mark’s thought on this .. 🙂

thanks again for the post 🙂

Please keep us posted about the ordeal. It is important that locals living here try to preserve their rights to freedom of expression and support others’ rights to fair freedom of expression.


Way to go Benihana! You boys show them who’s real! REAL STUPID that is. I read Marc’s blog and, read the translated court doc. First of all the statement made by Benihana or Mr. “Mike Sevro” (aka Mada Hakim) proves to be false, there is NO remark on Marc’s blog defaming the restaurant, the food was bad…full stop and that was his personal opinion.

I guess there is no business being generated so Beni-boys decide to sue first, to perhaps buy fresh food due to the lack of it, and, second to get attention to generate business their way… Just my two fils comment 🙂

Very bad publicity and review for Benihana.. By the way, is Benihana Lebanese!!? And why is Mada hiding under Mike!? 😀

DEFINITELY NOT going there and NOT pulling any friends through.

Side note: Marc’s blog are his PERSONAL opinion and has NOTHING to do with advertising or generating revenue. Glad to learn and acknowledge his genuine posts, because he is REAL and does not spew mindless banter for attention.

So the name mike servo is just a nick name for whatever mada hakim?????? Mike servo is or was a porn star or something! So did hakim choose to get a porn star fake name and wrote that famous are u Lebanese letter???!!!!! Correct me cuz I’m confused!
We got subway as an elephant!
Hakim as servo the porn star!
Banihana a beduin tribe!

السلام عليكم جميعا

اود ان اشارك بهذا الموضوع الشيق
اولا في ناس اتوقع انهم لمجرد قراءة المدونه حدد رأيه بالمطع وفي ناس اتوقع انهم زاروا المطعم مثلي وهم حددوا رأيهم بالمطعم وانا اقول ياريت ناخذ رأي الناس الي راحت وجربت المطعم ان كان بالرأي الإيجابي او السلبي لان التجربه هي خير برهان نرجع للناس الي جربت المطعم وماعجبهم المطعم ونقولهم هذا رأيكم ولكم رأي مثل ما انا زرت المطعم ولي ايضارأي
انا جربت المطعم مع عائلتي ولله الحمد كانت الخدمه سوبر ستار من نظافه وديكورات ومنيو وجودة الاكل وخدمه اعتبرها خدمة فنادق فايف ستار وحاب اوضح شغله بسيطه يكفي ان صاحب المطعم رجل كويتي مننا وفينا وياريت نترك الآراء الهدامه الي ماوراها الا الحسد والطمع والابتزاز والرجل كافي ان حاط خدمة اقتراحات وشكاوي يعني اي واحد عمد اي اقتراح او ملاحظها يذكرها ويشوف الرد وانا عن نفسي راح اروح للمطعم مره ثانيه واجربه لان انا جربته في اول ايامه وشكرا لكم

اخوكم فيصل الحمدان

هذا كلام جيد أخي فيصل، والي كان المفروض يصير بحالة مارك انو المدير يدعيه هو وزوجته لتجربة الاكل من جديد و مناقشة الغلط الي صار، او على اقل تقدير، الاعتذار عن عدم استمتاع مارك بالتجربة والتأكيد انو الخدمة الممتازة ونوعية الاكل المتميزة هي شعار المطعم. بس الي عملوه الاخوان يعني اللي عاجبه يا حيا الله بيه والي مو عاجبه يطق راسه بالطوفة 🙂

هذا اكبر فشل في اصول الخدمة.

كلام الأخ صحيح. المطعم اذا كان يبي يرضي الزباين المفروض يشوف وين الغلط ويصححه. لكن ترفع قضية على الزبون اذا ما عجبه الأكل؟ الزبون مو ملزوم ان يعجبه الأكل اذا ما كان مطبوخ عدل ولا ملزوم ان يكتب رأي كاذب عشان يغطي عالحقيقة. هذا غير ان المدير مدعي ادعاءات كاذبة بخصوص مارك وعلاقته بالمطاعم المنافسة وهذا شيء ما ينسكت عنه واعتقد ان هالشىء اخطر حتى من كتابة مارك للموضوع.

Indeed, if Benihana Corp don’t step in, I will not enter any Benihana anywhere. This is ridiculous. Not Any Benihana ANYWHERE!

Suing customers – even if they are food critics, etc – is BAD for business. I think I’ll avoid this place too – I wouldn’t want to get sued if maybe I had some issue and had to bring it up.

كلامك صح المفروض مدير المطعم يعمل هذا الشي بأستدعاء الاخ مارك او حتي اي شخص ثاني له ملاحظات على المطعم لان بلآخر هذا التصرف تنصب لصالح المطعم وانا راح احاول اشوف اميل او موقع صاحب او مدير المطعم لمناقشة هذا الراي معه ونشوف رأيه اذا كان ايجابي خير على خير بس ياريت الاخ مارك يمر على هذا الاقتراح ويعطينا رأيه بأستدعائه من قبل صاحب المطعم لتجربة المطعم مره ثانيه وانا راح انتظر قرار الاخ مارك وشكرا لكل من ابدى رأيه بكل صراحه وامانه

الحمد لله والشكر .. يبون فلوس باي طريقه .. مايدرون ان خربوا سمعة مطعمهم .. تفاهه
يعني الواحد غصب لازم يجامل علشان ماينضر

الله يعينك يا مارك على هالبلاوي و القلب داعيلك

الصراحه .. بلوقك الوحيد بالكويت اللي اشوفه مميز ومختلف عن الباجي .. لان مافيه كوبي بيست من الايميل او مكان ثاني .. فيعجبني هالشي .. اقدر اشوف تجربه الشخص .. و وجهة نظره او رايه و المهم جدا بالتقييم

بس عل وعسى باجي الاماكن تحترم اراء الناس .. والله شي يظحك .. يعني الواحد لي راح مطعم و شاف اكله معينه ماعجبته طريقه طبخها لازم ماينتقدها علشان ماينطرد مثلا؟

حرام عليه هذا حرية التعبير عن الرأي وهذا ذوق عام ما يصير تعمم التجربه والناس أذواق اتقاضونه علشان ما عجبه الاكل والله أنا بقول الحين اكره الاكل الياباني الحين جم مطعم ياباني بقاضيني بالكويت لووووول

Have eaten at BeniHanna’s a couple of times in the US. I liked the food there and was rather excited they opened up here. I really wanted to check em out …

Thats all in the past now, i guess! Here goes my money to Maki 🙂

you should have go to benihana in newport beach, ca. if you complain, they give you free meal. Just ask for mike lewis when you complain. Most of their customer base are complainers haha

This is a foolish case by Benihana. Extremely Foolish! You can’t force people to say only flowery nice stuff about your restaurant just because that’s what you want.
The guy who commented on behalf of the “manager” to Mark’s post wasn’t reasoning by then and should be kicked out for tarnishing the company’s image.
It wasn’t Mark who caused the whole show!
Just some guy who allowed his emotions to control his fingers on the keyboard and typed out pure nonsense out of immature thinking! This is bullshit Benihana!

Dear Mark – As a fellow food blogger, just wanted to show my support and really pray that you win this case. The lawsuit is the most ridiculous thing I have heard of, and I hope the court sees through the bs and rules in your favor.

Luck and tons of support.

Ok So I just Read The Comments On When This WHole Issue Started And COuldnt Comment on There SO Im Going To Let It Out All Here. First Off its highly foolish to not let something posted bad about someones experience at your restaurant. it is very simple if you dont want anyone to discriminate your restaurant then dont open it up if you know there are some people who embrace the right to freedom of speech law. now pushing all this aside, if you dont want anyone to say anything *AS BAD* about your restaurant you should probably have the chefs or waiters give you a paper like they do at fridays stating whether the service/food/cleanliness is good medium or bad. you cannot sue someone for giving an opinion it is basically like giving your horse your water and then forcing him to give it back to you. its as simple as that. as for the people who have made up their mind before tasting it, why dont you taste it so you can comment i as for one did taste their food and found it a little bit Not-To-The-Standard but you cant complain once you already order it so if you have no intentions on trying their food out then dont try it. AS FOR THE RECORD IM NOT IN FAVOUR OF BENIHANA, INSTEAD I AM IN FAVOUR OF MARK. i dont mean what all i have said in a bad way instead they should accept it as a compliment/opinion, everyone has their own views of subjects but they have to grow up. im glad i have this off my chest so yeah. 🙂

Benihana Kuwait has lost this customer forever, or at least until they formally apologize and fire that drooling vegetable of a manager, Mike Servo.

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