UPDATE 1-Benihana reports Q1 sales above Street

Mon Aug 2, 2010 9:23am EDT

* Q1 total sales $100.2 mln vs est $96.9 mln

* Q1 same-restaurant sales rise 2.4 pct

Aug 2 (Reuters) - Benihana Inc BNHN.O, an operator of Japanese-themed restaurants, reported better-than-expected quarterly sales, helped by higher traffic at its flagship Benihana teppanyaki brand.

For the first quarter, Benihana, which runs teppanyaki and sushi restaurants, said total sales rose 5 percent to $100.2 million. Same-restaurant sales increased 2.4 percent, the company said.

Benihana teppanyaki, which accounted for 65 percent of total restaurant sales, saw a 3.4 percent increase in guest count.

Analysts on average expected sales of $96.9 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Last month, Benihana said it was considering a sale of the company after unhappy shareholders threatened to seek board seats to change how the restaurant chain conducts its business. [ID:nSGE66C0IL]

Shares of the Miami-based company closed at $6.75 Friday on Nasdaq. (Reporting by Swati Chitnis in Bangalore; Editing by Anne Pallivathuckal)

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