View Full Version : Rocky Aoki founder of Benihana

07-14-2008, 08:55 AM
This guy was amazing! What an amazing life he lead. Had you ever heard of him before? Have you ever been to any of his restaurants?

Make sure you read about him here too. http://nymag.com/guides/money/2006/23465/

A celebrity chef who couldn’t cook a dish, Rocky became a star by mastering the fine art of cheap publicity stunts. He posed for photos in the hot tub in his stretch Rolls-Royce and drove a cross-country race in a stretch Volkswagen bug. (“I also have stretch Corvette.”) He cameoed on Hawaii Five-O, won a national backgammon championship, and set a world record when he became the first person to cross the Pacific in a hot-air balloon (stamped with the Benihana logo, of course)

We so often talk about getting publicity for your business. Rocky knew how to work the press and he gave them what they wanted. Outlandish pictures of him doing ridiculous stunts. Does this get you thinking about what you could do to get media attention to promote your business?

Benihana founder Aoki dies in New York (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25646535/) - Rocky Aoki, who sought to offer diners a sense of magic and entertainment at his Japanese steakhouse Benihana, has died after complications from cancer. He was 69.

Aoki, whose Benihana empire includes more than 100 restaurants worldwide, died Thursday night in New York from pneumonia, surrounded by his wife and six children, company spokeswoman Nancy Bauer said Friday.

Born Hiroaki Aoki, he worked in the family business, a coffee shop in Japan, and wanted to offer diners "something out of the ordinary," along with their food. Aoki also inherited his father's love for theater, according to the restaurant's Web site.

07-15-2008, 12:46 AM
Wow, I read that article and the guy sounds like quite the entrepreneur...

Apparently he never thought to open a restaurant in Canada, because I've never heard of Benihana. We've got a million teppanyaki restauarants here though, that I'm sure were all ripped off of Benihana.

07-15-2008, 06:29 AM
Very interesting!

It's refreshing to know that there are people out there like Rocky who were basically living the entrepreneur rockstar dream life LOL.

He was quite a character, but they make this world more fun.