Benihana Picks Cronin

BOSTON Japanese steakhouse Benihana, which gained fame nearly three decades ago for the novelty of chefs preparing meals at grills on patrons tables, has tapped independent Cronin and Co. for advertising services.

The Miami-based client operates more than 60 teriyaki restaurants and spends about $5 million annually in measured media, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

“We chose Cronin not just for their expertise and capabilities, but for their passion, effort and creativity,” said Jeannie Means, client senior marketing director, in a statement. “They demonstrated a deep understanding of our customer, they did an incredible amount of research to learn about our business and our brand, and they brought an impressive volume of ideas to the table, touching on every aspect of marketing communications.”
Cronin will provide marketing communications support for all 60 corporate locations, including strategic planning, brand direction, advertising, digital services, search marketing and other online marketing and sales promotions.

Benihana’s past campaigns, often devised by longtime lead shop the Romann Group in New York, typically played off traditional Japanese themes, like kendo sword fighting.

This marks the first win for Glastonbury, Conn.-based Cronin since its management change a month ago. Bill Cronin turned over the shop to CCO Steve Wolfberg, who also became president, and strategic planning director Kim Manning, who added the COO title.

Cronin claims about $70 million in overall billings and its other key clients include Amica, CVS, Konica-Minolta, Liberty Bank and McDonald’s.