Essay Sample Paper on Strategic management: Benihana of Tokyo

Strategic management: Benihana of Tokyo

            The current business world is very competitive and highly obsessed with the need to adapt the change to strategic changes. Besides the speed of change is a sought for the business opportunity that successful businesses have capitalized upon immensely. Organizations do not just exist without a purpose. Their main intention is often to make money and grow their businesses by attracting a bigger customer base as they can. Benihana of Tokyo is a restaurant with its roots in Tokyo, Japan and which operates its businesses in various parts of the United States of America and beyond. The success of the business is derived from the ability of its owner, Mr. Hiroaki (Rocky) Aoki, a Japanese businessman who expanded his business venture’s from Japan to look for market opportunities abroad, in the USA. This paper presents a strategic analysis of the Benihana of Tokyo Restaurant operations within the market and the suitability of the strategic decisions made by the restaurant management in market capture. The analysis shall be done in light of the 7S model by McKinsey.

The 7-S model

The 7-S model was put forward in 1980s by a group of three Mckinsey consultants namely Tom Peters, Robert Waterman and Julien Philips. As opposed to other strategic models which concentrated on the external environments as the main determinants of businesses success e.g. the PESTLE analysis, the 7-S model concentrated on the human resources as the key determinants (Hawawini, Subramanian and Verdin 12). The name 7-S stems from the seven key human factors that must be taken into consideration by the business during strategic formulations. The main aim of the model was to demonstrate how the 7 humanistic elements of a company can be aligned appropriately to achieve effective business operations within a company. The seven best-considered factors in the elements include the structure, strategy, skills, staff, style, systems and shared values. The seven strategic propositions are interconnected with each other and can be diagrammatically represented as shown in diagram 1 below.

7 elements that represent McKinsey model

All the six strategic issues grouped into hard and soft Ss revolve around the shared issues, hence are related to one another. Using the 7-S model this section shall provide an illustrative analysis of the Benihana of Tokyo Restaurant’s strategic developments over time and space.

Quiz 1: What was Aoki’s strategy for Benihana when he first started out? Use the 7-S model to analyze his efforts to execute the strategy

Benihana of Tokyo case analysis

Aoki’s first business strategy after launching his business in the USA was to change the perception of the Americans regarding the Japanese foods by changing the way in which his restaurant would make the local Japanese foods in the interest of the Americans. In this way, Aoki was sure to capture a good market in America. Bringing a change in the way one does business is one strategic breakthrough that most organizations use to beat their competitors.  To achieve this strategy, Aoki developed his restaurant to reflect the face of modern American structure fitted with Japanese furniture and decorations to give it ‘a Japanese look.’ This combination of modernity and native Japanese outfit acted as the first point of attraction for the business. Besides, Aoki came up with a short, simple structure of management comprising of employees of both American citizenry and Japanese nationals. The blend has helped the company to develop suitable systems for the growth of the restaurant in the new business environment.

Concerning the employees’ skills and specialization, Aoki looked for skilled and highly trained employees in their specific areas of specialization. The management and marketing experts were drawn from America since they have good knowledge about the American food market. This enabled the company to find a breakthrough in the American food industry and expand its business roots quickly. The ability of a company to embrace diversity and accommodate people from various cadres representing the segmentations of the target market is, what Trachtenberg (B7) refers to as talent, identification. Incorporating employees from different backgrounds helps them to develop and share skills and talents to accrue the best income for the company. The fact that Aoki incorporated employees from different cultural and environmental backgrounds were a strategic means of tapping new business ideas he had no knowledge about.  The ability of the chefs to prepare different kind of foods faster and in the presence of the customers is a skill of the employees that saw the company expand and win the trust of many. Besides, the fact that Aoki employed chefs of Japanese origin who knew the best ways of preparing Japanese foods was a good strategic breakthrough for the company.

Quiz 2: Aoki is thinking about several options to expand into new areas of activity. One option is to start small “Japanese fast food restaurants”.  Using the 7-S model, what changes do you think would be required to execute this new strategy?

About expanding the business into new regions, Aoki needs to explore new business strategies that are fit for the new environments. Aoki’s Benihana of Tokyo Restaurant was begun as a single business venture in New York. Over time, the business has grown to open branches in states such as Bahamas, Chicago, and San Francisco among others. To ensure business success in these regions, there had been needing to identify new business strategies that would be suitable for the new environments. In doing so, the 7-S model would be useful in carrying out the strategic analysis of the new business environment in ensuring success through attaining a business breakthrough. The initial thing that Aoki has to achieve is to deploy employees with the necessary skills to attend to the clients in these areas. Identification of the client’s needs is easy when done by people who live amongst them. By allocating interactive positions such as management and marketing positions, the needs of the local clients will be taken into account and hence attract as many customers as possible (Hawawini, Subramanian and Verdin 15).

Moreover, Aoki needs to employ an interactive staff that is willing to their skills and diverse personal knowledge about various circumstances as a means to encourage organizational growth and development. Sharing ideas and knowledge is a wonderful way of ensuring organizational growth (Chung, Chan and Leung 65). Employees from diverse backgrounds have different skills and knowledge about various business aspects. These should be shared among themselves to enrich their service delivery and hence increase the customer base for the said company. In doing this, the whole system would move on as a single unit guided by the same goals and business objectives. A harmonious system within an organization according to (Foss and Ishikawa 751) can lead to immense achievements of the company.     


Strategic business operation is one factor that many business units are looking for. The goals and visions of the companies should be aligned with the strategic business needs of the organizations. Strategic business analysis can be carried out using the 7-S model developed by McKinley (the structure, strategy, skills, staff, style, systems and shared values). The case of Aoki’s Benihana of Tokyo Restaurant is a suitable example of organizations that have been organized regarding the 7-S model. The company used the 7Ss to realize tremendous growth in its business. Besides, concerning the expansion mechanisms, the company’s strategies are expected to lie in the best practices informed on the basis of the successful application of the 7Ss.

Works Cited

Chung, W.W.C., M.F.S., Chan and T.S., Leung. “A Framework of Performance Modeling for Dynamic Strategy.” International Journal of Business Performance Management 8 (2006): 62–76.

Foss, N., and I., Ishikawa. “Towards a Dynamic Resource-Based View: Insights from Austrian Capital and Entrepreneurship Theory.” Organization Studies 28 (2007): 749–772.

Hawawini, G., V., Subramanian and P., Verdin. “Is Performance Driven by Industry- or Firm-Specific Factors? A New Look at the Evidence.” Strategic Management Journal 24 (2003): 1–16.

—. “Is Performance Driven by Industry- or Firm-Specific Factors? A New Look at the Evidence.” Strategic Management Journal 24 (2003): 1–16.

Trachtenberg, J, A., “Secrets of Self-Publishing: Success.” Wall Street Journal 31 (2011): B1, B7.