Joel A. Schwartz

JOEL A. SCHWARTZ, President and Chief Executive Officer of
Benihana, Inc., has headed Benihana since its founding as an
independent company in 1982. Under Mr. Schwartz, Benihana has
achieved dramatic growth. It currently operates the largest chain
of Asian restaurants in the US, including the largest teppanyaki
and sushi restaurant chains under the names Benihana, Haru and
Doraku by Benihana. Mr. Schwartz joined Benihana’s predecessor,
Benihana of Tokyo Inc., as Executive Vice President in 1980.
Three years later Benihana Inc. was spun off as a separate entity
and the following year, in 1983, the company went public. A
Certified Public Accountant, Mr. Schwartz previously held a
position with Touche Ross & Co., predecessor firm to Deloitte &
Touche. As Chief Executive of Benihana, Mr. Schwartz has directed
the company’s growth, expansion, planning and policy-setting
activities, which has resulted in Benihana becoming one of the
country’s most widely recognized brands. It has also resulted in
significant expansion. From 11 restaurants when the chain
started, there are now 54 Benihana teppanyaki restaurants,
stretching from California to New York, and from Florida to
Illinois, in addition to two Sushi Doraku by Benihana
restaurants. In 1999, Benihana acquired 80% of the popular Haru
sushi restaurant chain in New York City, which now totals five
units. Mr. Schwartz holds a Bachelor of Science degree in
Business Administration from Seton Hall University. He serves on
the Board of Directors of the City Theatre in Miami and the Miami
Coalition for a Drug-Free Community.