Restaurant Veteran Stockinger Takes Over As Benihana CEO

Benihana today announced the retirement of CEO and Chairman Joel Schwartz. Board member Richard Stockinger has assumed the role of CEO, and Darwin Dornbush is non-executive chairman. John Abdo will become vice chairman.

Stockinger is the former president of The Patina Restaurant Group, where he served in various senior positions for 25 years. He joined the Benihana board in 2006.

“I am convinced that Benihana has all of the strengths to weather and even thrive in the difficult environment it faces — outstanding brand recognition for its core teppanyaki concept, exciting newer brands, RA Sushi and Haru, which broaden the company’s demographic appeal and geographic reach, and more important a hard working, energetic and dedicated employee base,” said Stockinger. “I couldn’t be more pleased with the opportunity and am fully confident that the company can meet the challenges it faces.”

Dornbush is a founding partner of the New York law firm Dornbush, Schaeffer, Strongin & Venaglia. He served as director of Benihana from 1995 to 2005 and currently serves as a special consultant.

Abdo has served as vice chairman of BankAtlantic Bancorp for 25 years.

Benihana operates 94 restaurants nationwide, including Benihana teppanyaki, Haru sushi and RA Sushi Bar concepts. Ten more locations are in development. In addition, 20 franchised Benihana teppanyaki restaurants operate in the United States, Latin American and the Caribbean.


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