With over 600 branches nationwide, Sushiro is Japan’s biggest revolving sushi chain. Actually, though, depending on how you do the math, you could also say that it’s in a multi-way tie for Japan’s smallest revolving sushi chain, since the total number of Sushiro restaurants with sushi making their way freely around the conveyor belt is zero.
That wasn’t always the case, though. Sushiro’s current and complete lack of revolving sushi plates on the chain’s conveyor lanes is the result of a disgusting prank video that surfaced in February in which a teenager at a Sushiro restaurant licked a self-service soy sauce container and tea cup at his table, leaving them in their sullied state for the next diner to use. At least one other revolving sushi restaurant prank video (though filmed at a different chain) was posted online at around the same time. With consumer trust in shambles, Sushiro made the decision to stop its conveyors and switch to offering made-to-order sushi only. Delivered via an express-lane belt, this sushi is only for the diner who ordered it. No pre-prepared sushi on plates that go around and around the restaurant for anyone who wants to take them are offered anymore.
However, Sushiro is just about ready to restart revolving. In an interview with Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun, Koichi Mizutome, president of Sushiro parent company Food and Life Companies, said that this summer is the projected timeframe for the return of free-to-grab revolving sushi at Sushiro.
“The experience is much more lively when there’s [a variety of different types of sushi] going around on the conveyor belt,” Mizutome asserted. There’s definitely a visual appeal to seeing the brightly colored plates moving around the restaurant, and being able to see the sushi of the day before deciding what you want to eat has some definite benefits. Sushi newbies might encounter a type they haven’t tried before or rediscover one they have, but forgot the name of and so can’t order directly. For veteran sushi fans with a keen eye, there’s the advantage of being able to visually check that day’s fish, discerning the moistness and fat content (both highly desirable) of the different options and choosing the ones that look best at that exact time.
Mizutome says that being able to see, and choose from, plates of revolving sushi is especially popular with children. With families making up a big portion of revolving sushi restaurants’ clientele, Sushiro obviously wants them to enjoy coming to their restaurants, and keeping the kids happy helps keep Mom and Dad happy too. In addition, while Mizutome doesn’t directly mention them, overseas travelers visiting Japan also tend to get a really big kick out of seeing and grabbing from the freely revolving plates, since it’s a uniquely Japanese dining experience.
No specific date for the resumption of revolving has been set yet. Schools in Japan go on summer vacation in July, though, so taking into consideration Mizutome’s comments about kids, odds are Sushiro will be back to revolving sometime that month, if not earlier.
Source: Yomiuri Shimbun via Livedoor News via Otakomu
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