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Benihana Was Just Sold to Another Major Restaurant Group with Ambitious Growth Plans

The popular hibachi chain will help the growing company expand its restaurant count significantly.
FACT CHECKED BY Justine Goodman

Benihana, a famous hibachi chain known for its Japanese-inspired fare and experiential dining, is being sold in a major deal that will help a growing restaurant group move forward with its ambitious expansion plans.

The One Group, which is the parent company of Kona Grill and STK Steakhouse chains, just announced plans to purchase Safflower Holdings, the parent company of the Benihana Japanese steakhouse chain. One Group will also acquire the Safflower-owned RA Sushi chain as part of the deal, which is valued at $365 million.

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This purchase is a huge deal for One Group because the company's total restaurant count has been somewhat limited until now. One Group currently has 63 restaurants under its belt comprised of the several dozen Kona Grill and STK Steakhouse locations, respectively, per Restaurant Business Magazine. But when the company adds the 105 restaurants operated by Benihana and RA Sushi through the acquisition, its total unit count will jump to 168.

That's nearly three times the number of locations that One Group currently boasts. And according to Restaurant Business Magazine, the additional restaurants from Benihana and RA Sushi will also more than double One Group's annual revenue to more than $1 billion.

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RA Sushi exterior
RA Sushi

The Safflower Holdings purchase will move One Group significantly closer to its long-term growth goals. The company believes there's potential for a whopping 800 locations across the globe and $5 billion in revenue across its system, Restaurant Business Magazine reported.

It's an ambitious plan, to be sure, but it could be quite some time before One Group reaches those milestones, if ever, since its restaurant brands have recently contended with sales declines that would first need to be turned around. The group is also taking a measured approach to new restaurant openings, with plans to open three to five Benihana, Kona Grill, and STK Steakhouse locations apiece annually. Still, One Group seems confident that it's moving in the right direction with the Safflower Holdings acquisition.

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"We are delighted to welcome Benihana, an American cultural icon with timeless appeal that transcends generations and offers unparalleled guest experiences, to the One Group family," One Group President and CEO Emanuel "Manny" Hilario said in a statement.

Benihana and RA Sushi aren't the only restaurant chains to be acquired by major restaurant groups in the past year. Darden Restaurants, the parent company of Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse, added the popular Ruth's Chris Steak House brand to its portfolio last year. The massive sandwich chain Subway was also sold in the summer of 2023 to Roark Capital, a private equity firm that invests in several other major restaurant brands like Arby's, Jimmy John's, and Dunkin'.

Zoe Strozewski
Zoe Strozewski is a News Writer for Eat This, Not That! A Chicago native who now lives in New Jersey, she graduated from Kean University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Read more about Zoe