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On April 23, 2021, Mr. Hisashi Nagahiro – Global HR Strategy Division General Manager – Yoshinoya Holdings – a Japanese multinational fast-food chain, shared with Vietnam Japan University’s students on “Japanese foodservice industry.” He has worked in many management positions in Yoshinoya for nearly 30 years. He shared overview information about the foodservice industry and business activities of Japanese companies exampled specifically by the Yoshinoya case.

1. The reason for eating

Food plays an important role in our life for three reasons: Physiological significance, mental significance, social significance. Three types of grains that are consumed most are rice, wheat, and corn. The three most popular types of meat are pork, beef, and chicken. Japanese people consume more chicken than other types.

2. The history of the foodservice industry

Japanese fast-food restaurants started in the Edo period. Yoshinoya celebrates its 122nd anniversary, started from a restaurant in Tokyo. It has supplied service to the people who work early and with little time. To satisfy customers, Yoshinoya has served beef bowls within 1 minute of receiving the order and has memorized the personalized need of each customer. Yoshinoya has expanded overseas with the first branch in Denver, USA. Fast food restaurants developed strongly from 1960 to 2000. After that, they have gradually decreased due to the rise of convenience stores and the change of the customer consumption habits. However, in Vietnam, the number of Japanese restaurants has doubled from about 700 restaurants in 2015 to nearly 1,500 restaurants in 2020. Yoshinoya’s first store in Vietnam is located in Ho Chi Minh City in 2020.

Beef bowl
Beef bowl (Yoshinoya Facebook)
3. The classification of foodservice

He shared many terms and knowledge of the foodservice industry such as type of store, kind of business, the market size of each type, expansion of foreign markets, customer needs, price, competition, reason, and so on. Food services are classified according to the type of store based on the way of selling, the kind of business based on what to sell. According to the eating place, the food category is roughly divided into three categories: eat out, home meal replacement, and home cooking.

4. Foodservice industry issues

The values ​​that users care about are health (safety food), a long-standing restaurant, community contribution, cultural understanding, and social contribution. Meeting these values ​​will make a difference in service among restaurants. Issues in the foodservice industry shared in the lecture are low productivity, income, and job satisfaction. In order to increase productivity, some food technologies are applied in the industry, such as robotic dishwashers, hydrophiles, environmental protection. Ethical consumption becomes increasingly important.

Robot Dish Washer (Information and Robot Technology Research Initiative, The University of Tokyo)
5. Foodservice cold chain logistics

It means the storage and transportation of chilled products from production to consumption. The development of the foodservice cold chain logistics depends on the development level of each country. The cold chain logistics are on a larger scale in developed countries than in developing countries. Information on Yoshinoya’s cold chain logistics is also shared in detail in the lecture.

In addition to the above contents, the speaker transferred the message of Yoshinoya’s vision, social responsibility, and the importance of people in service. At the same time, he also answered some questions from students.

Through many useful and detailed lectures, students not only expand their knowledge but also know how to proactively research further if they work in this industry in the future. Besides that, students are more aware of their daily eating activities to ensure their health, community, and social contribution.

Mr. Nagahiro is talking about Gyudon (Beef Bowl)