[Report] Conveyor Belt Sushi & DX Press Tour (Dec. 2022)
Companies in the conveyor belt sushi (kaiten sushi) industry have developed automated technology in order to reduce the labor and manpower required for their operations, and within the restaurant industry, conveyor belt sushi is said to have made the most progress in digital transformation (DX). This press tour visited a storefront of Sushiro, the industry leader, as well as Sushiro’s center for systems development, covering the latest developments in the conveyor belt sushi industry, known for having pioneering digital technology. The tour also spoke with the head of Sushiro’s parent company about plans for further digitalization and overseas expansion.
Nine journalists joined this press tour, from media organizations based out of China, Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, the UK, and Vietnam.
*This tour was sponsored by FOOD & LIFE COMPANIES, LTD., and planned and operated by the Foreign Press Center Japan.
*For more details on the tour stops, see the press tour announcement.
Sushiro Namba Amza Store
The tour visited the Sushiro in Namba Amza, and heard about the digital technology used in the store, such as the Kaiten Sushi Management System that creates a database of the sales of sushi on the conveyor lanes, with the computer giving directions on what sushi to make and managing the freshness of the sushi; the Auto Waiter system, which quickly delivers products ordered from a touch panel to customer’s seats via an express lane; and the automatic billing system using image recognition.
Next, after thoroughly washing and disinfecting their hands, the journalists entered the kitchen, and saw firsthand how sushi was made efficiently under the management and directions of the Kaiten Sushi Management System, using a automated sushi rice robot and auto fryer, and then delivered to customers. The journalists were surprised at the operation of this kitchen including cutting-edge digital technology, and enthusiastically took photos and videos of the sushi rice robot making logs of sushi rice.
In the restaurant seating area, the group heard explanations of systems to increase operation efficiency and reduce contact with customers, such as the automated seating system, automated billing system using image recognition, and automated takeout lockers. The tour also experienced using the Auto Waiter system to order from a touch panel and have their sushi be delivered on an express lane. The journalists asked questions about menu development, the merits of DX, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Systems Development Center
The tour then visited Sushiro’s systems development center located in Osaka, and heard stories about systems development from someone who was involved in the development of the Kaiten Sushi Management System and helped build the core system used in nearly 700 Sushiro locations around the world. The journalists asked questions about plans for further improvement to the systems, and whether they were patented. The center also has a partial reproduction of an actual Sushiro restaurant, with customer seating and a kitchen, and the journalists excitedly took photos and videos of the prototype conveyor belt lanes being operated.
Interview with FOOD & LIFE COMPANIES, LTD. President and CEO Koichi Mizutome
The tour went to the head office of FOOD & LIFE COMPANIES, LTD., which is the parent company of Sushiro, and interviewed company president and CEO Mr. Koichi Mizutome. The journalists asked questions about what led to introducing digital technology to the conveyor belt sushi industry and his overseas business strategy for the future. Mr. Mizutome mentioned that one of the benefits of DX is that by using data on customer patterns, the quantity of food purchased and timing of providing products can be adjusted, helping to reduce food loss.
◆Below is some of the reporting based on this tour.
Korea Economic Daily (ROK)
“내일 참치초밥 126접시 팔릴 것”… ‘AI 초밥왕’이 예측해 횟감 주문” (December 23)
Dot Dot News (Hong Kong)
“日本回轉壽司產業利用軟件系統實行先進管理” (December 24)