It’s embarrassing and utter non-sense. A blogger from Kuwait goes into a restaurant, eats there, goes home and blogs about it, plainly, harmlessly putting the title, My Benihana Experience.
As with a personal review, it has both positive and negative points. But you won’t believe what happens next. Blogger gets SUED by the restaurant!
If you have not heard of the ludicrous Benihana Kuwait story, you can read it here or follow the Twitter hashtag #BenihanaKUW.
I called my (Japanese) husband and he said, “It’s shameful they’re carrying that Japanese name!”
The brand Benihana radiates everything Japanese (Benihana is a Japanese word meaning, “red flower”) so one would expect the gracious if not over the top customer service Japanese companies (people) are known for. Sadly, their franchise in Kuwait is doing the opposite. They are digging their own grave taking down the Japanese brand and reputation with them.
Benihana, a big company like you should know that when you get a negative review, you investigate your internal matters and not go out shouting, “See you in court!”
I strongly appeal for everyone to spread the word about this to make Benihana come to their senses and drop the stupid lawsuit. Blog about it, tweet it! Victory for Benihana means a Middle East blogger needs to have a lawyer on his/her side in case they write that sushi was bad.
UPDATE 1: Details of the lawsuit is posted here.
UPDATE 2: English translation of the lawsuit (original was written in Arabic).
Hope they get it straightened out. Unfortunately freedom of the press here, makes things so you can pretty much write what you want, unless you libel someone. (Say a lie.) Still I try not to say anything too negative on my blog, but I might intimate something.
Doesn’t UAE have a constitution of some sorts that guarantees the freedom of speech?
This is certainly something that shouldn’t have to happen, everybody can have their own opinion and speak their mind.
My first thought was for the blogger. What a hassle to have to go through for describing an experience that actually happened.
The more I read the more I wondered if this was a publicity stunt on the company’s part knowing they would get free media attention. It just seems like a totally ridiculous thing for them to do otherwise.
Found a link to your blog on the Expat Echo Dubai 🙂
Can’t believe a restaurant is suing a blogger… Better watch what we post!! lol
Thanks for that link – I never knew I was there 🙂
As to what you said “better watch what we post”, yeah I agree but I also believe that everyone is free to express their own opinion. The actual restaurant review was a plain account of the ambiance, the service and the food (which the blogger disliked)…much like all reviews on products and hotels online…it’s just awful that a company can sue a blogger for a negative review.
I must admit I posted something the other day including a comment about a rather large American congomerate and then I hopped in the car. The phrase was going through my mind and as soon as I could, I rephrased it to make it more ambiguous with thoughts of being sued in my head. The blogger gave an honest opinion, they praised the good points, it wasn’t defamatory because it was true. They’ve missed a huge opportunity to make things right here. I’m sure people will boycott the chain now.
Benihana (Kuwait) reaction was unwise in my opinion. This is a PR fiasco of major proportion for them. However, since this is a legal matter at this point, one needs to look at it from this perspective. Almost all countries have anti-defamation laws and Kuwait is not an exception. The question then becomes: was Mark’s review defamatory or slanderous? Did he accuse the company of doing something illegal without proof? That is the only justification for legal action in this case.
I looked at his review and the plaintiff’s claim and I saw nothing that can be interpreted as such, except for one tiny remark were he mentioned that the chicken meat tasted like it was raw. Serving raw chicken meat in restaurants is illegal in Kuwait and his comment may be construed as him accusing them of committing a crime. This is a stretch, I know, but I don’t see any other legal bases for their ill advised action.
I wish him good luck. At this rate, it will take Kuwait less than two years to become the world champion in wanton litigation.
Would you like to earn money by working from home?
Coincidently, I blog about the same incident back in my country:
Speaking of Freedom of speech & consumer’s rights.
I saw a mention about this on the news or something. I agree, it’s totally ridiculous! I hope he wins against the restaurant and the judge awards him some damages for his time and expenses.
It’s really pathetic, It was the blogger who made them learn there mistakes so that they could avoid further loses. This restraunt should investigate that why this thing happened and who is responsible for this. and not malign the customer which might result in losing their customers.
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