Wednesday, February 6, 2013

From the MBA Core to the Real World… Hibachi Style


First-year MBA, Consumer Marketing Academy

During the Kelley MBA Core, our Operations class analyzed a Benihana case study that highlighted Benihana’s ability to flow customers through the restaurant in way that worked well for the customer and for sales. Our professor, Kyle Cattani used the case to illustrate the concept of throughput rates. We learned that every part of the Benihana dining experience served a purpose. For example, if you did have to wait for a table, there was a bar. This served as a holding pen that ensured the entire restaurant was always full.

MBAs analyzing real life experience with in-class learnings
Upon being seated, drink orders and entrees were taken quickly and appetizers arrived within minutes. While eating the appetizers, you were approached by a chef decked-out in Japanese attire who cooked your entire meal in front of you, all the while keeping you entertained with his knife skills and funny banter. He then signaled for you to leave by finishing his show and the waitstaff would start vacuuming at your feet. The customer felt satisfied by the entertaining meal, and Benihana was able to fill the seat quickly with a new customer.

Having learned all of this about Benihana, me and some of my friends were craving hibachi-style dining and wanted to make a trip to Benihana. Alas, the closest Benihana was over an hour away in Indianapolis. As busy MBA students, time is always an issue. We wanted to be efficient in our meal but also be reasonable about traveling out of the area. We ended up finding a local hibachi spot in Bloomington.

A group of MBA first-years made our way to Domo Sushi & Steak, our mouths watering from anticipation after doing this case just a couple months earlier and never fulfilling the initial craving. Upon arrival, there was no bar waiting room. It took ten minutes to seat our group, even though many of the hibachi tables were empty. We ordered our drinks soon after being seated, but then the wait continued. Forty-five minutes later, drinks arrived and forty-five minutes after that, our chef showed up. The food was delicious, but since our meal took over three hours, all we could say over and over again was, “Cattani would have been very disappointed with this”. It is always fun to apply in-class learning to real life experiences and this was a great example for us first-years!

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