Benihana Kuwait - The Art of Creating a PR Crisis — digital marketing , online marketing , Online Marketing - , PR reviews , Public Relations , restaurant marketing — Marketing in Lebanon
Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Benihana Kuwait - The Art of Creating a PR Crisis

 There's an art in managing a company's public relations to maintain and safeguard a brand image. Now, thanks to Benihana's Kuwait branch's GM there's also an art in creating a PR crisis:

Step 1: Target an opinion leader with more than 2,000 twitter followers, who likes to voice his thoughts online on his popular blog. (there's a reason why marketeers seek opinion leaders and trend setters!) Case in point: @ and

Step 2: Respond to a negative review with a negative comment, displaying an even worse brand image than the one already showcased in the review; and consequently proving the reviewer right!

Step 3: Add some spice to the story by magnifying the consequences; case in point: file a lawsuit!

Step 4: Insult an entire people by adding a stupid comment; case in point: "ARE YOU LEBANESE?'

Step 5: Sit back and watch the online Lebanese community fire back with negative publicity. 

Now I have 2 conclusions in mind, either:

Hypothesis 1: the GM is smart and was aware of what he was doing, in which case, he is gaining from the negative publicity by creating awareness for his newly opened Benihana branch in Kuwait. In which case he should be paying Mark instead of suing him.

Hypothesis 2: the GM did not realise that he could have simply invited his reviewer and offered him a free treat like our awesome restaurants here in Lebanon tend to do.

(I was at Shtrumpf's Dbayeh branch the other day- I got a completely free lunch for simply not enjoying the food - and we are talking appetizer + drinks+ meal for three people - and if you think this bad experience will stop me from coming back - well think again!! Amazing customer service gets talked about, creates an amazing brand image and a customer for life.)


Mich said...

Greeeaaaat post and excellent marketing/PR perspective :-)

Unknown said...

Thanks a bunch! It wouldn't have existed had it not been for you and awesome tweeps like you. This case really needs our attention and reaction. Freedom of expression, anyone?

AR said...

The only think that sucks about your post is the inability for a blogger to give a truly unfavourable review on a FREE lunch ( even when it is truly deserving of it ). In such cases it is better to pay for the lunch or give the restaurant an insight to the real feedback with a chance to rectify( not always possible )

Unknown said...

AR, that's why they had handed us the comment card to fill (my friend asked for an A4 paper to attach! - and ended up with 2 stapled comment cards)... at this point the lunch was offered free of charge; followed by a phone call and an apology.

I found their response amazing.

Danielle said...

The outcome of this affects all of us. WE are in this together. Let's hope Mark comes out on top.

nouchaline said...

THANK YOU! Great post, it sums up all my thoughts on this situation.
In the restaurant business though, negative publicity can ruin you so the GM should really have thought of his options before posting his comment and suing the guy.

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