For Benihana the best team bonding ideas create bonding opportunities with their community. Magnovo dished up a winner: our Rescue Buddies Charity Workshop. It’s a sure-fire way to leave a lasting impression.
The Benihana story
Remember those heroic “Rocky” movies? Well, there’s a hero named Rocky in Benihana’s history. A descendant of a samurai warrior opened a coffee shop in Tokyo after the Second World War. But unlike his competitors, this clever lad used real sugar—a rare find back then.
His son, Rocky moved to the United States and decided to open his own restaurant and like his dad, he promised his customers a unique dining experience. He opened his first Benihana Restaurant in New York in 1964. His specialty: authentic Japanese cuisine, and the rest, as they say, is history—delicious history. They’ve served more than 100 million meals in Central and South America, the United States, the Caribbean.
Turnkey team bonding ideas
This was Magnovo’s second time on Benihana’s annual meeting agenda. And we were honored to be invited back.
We met 150 of their general managers and district managers at the J.W. Marriott in Desert Ridge Arizona. Their schedule was really tight and our window of opportunity was small, but we made the most of it. And of course, the idea of helping children won them over to our workshop idea immediately.
You see, Rescue Buddies are stuffed animals parsed out to traumatized kids after an accident or some other tragedy. Their new best friend—a bear, bird, or fish—reassures and stabilizes them.
Our workshop participants divided into smaller groups to stuff and shape these adorable cuddle-bugs for 150 precious kids in this desert community. The time allotted was brief, but every executive took his time to make sure his toy passed muster for its new owner.
Compassionate team bonding ideas
Donating our gifts to a local charity is always the best part of all of our workshops. The Sojourner Center received this latest batch of Rescue Buddies and they were as thrilled to receive them as we were to donate them.
The word sojourn means “short stay.” The Sojourner Center provides short-term emergency shelter for domestic violence victims. They also offer child development and healthcare services. And they’re passionate advocates against this horrible crime and educate people about prevention and intervention options.
Sojourner also provides a 24-hour crisis hotline, referral services, and case management. Basically, they offer whatever these women and children need to survive and start over. They come to the rescue of 10,000 victims each year. They even run a small pet shelter for dogs, cats, birds, goats, and turtles. Yes, goats!
It was a pretty emotional experience for the Benihana managers. They loved that their toys would be placed on the beds of incoming children. The fuzzy friends will welcome the children “home” and make them feel safe. They’ll have something of their very own to let them know everything will be ok.
This was one of our best team bonding ideas ever and at the end of the event, the President of Benihana asked what we would do next year.