In 2007 I was asked to design a full page ad for the Chicago Sun Times announcing the closing of the Benihana Chicago location with a very short turnaround time. The concept, imagery and copy was left up to me, and thankfully in one of those rare light bulb moments, I conceived of the Arigato ad as it was ultimately published.
With the help of a Sun Times photographer, we staged the chefs of the Chicago store in front of the restaurant, as I semi art directed via cell phone from Miami. The chefs are posed in the traditional bow, which is how every Benihana chef concludes their performance. With a little photoshop magic, I removed the cityscape and placed our chefs in a stark white studio setting.
The copy focussed on thanking the Chicago patrons, at the request of the CEO. In smaller copy below the chefs, we set the stage for a store opening at a new location.
Although the ad was a one time run, the Arigato chefs became a main Benihana branding image, and is still used today at the foot of their bi-monthly newsletter, and is still paired with the tag, “It is our honor to serve you.”