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Suffering Japanese restaurants turn to delivery services


Stunted by lost sales since the government declared a new state of emergency two weeks ago for Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures over the novel coronavirus and shortened their business hours, many restaurants are turning to home delivery services.

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On Friday, major restaurant chain Watami Co. launched a vegetable delivery service for households. The company added the service to its existing deliveries of boxed lunches and side dishes. The new service is expected to be used by people who want to cook at home but do not want to go out for shopping.

Of the approximately 100 izakaya restaurants operated by Watami in Tokyo and neighboring Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa prefectures, about 80 are temporarily closed. The company hopes to make up for the decline in restaurant sales due to their hours being shortened to 8 p.m. with home deliveries.

The management of restaurants is becoming increasingly difficult. According to Toreta Inc., a reservation management service for restaurants, the number of customers at about 3,000 restaurants in Tokyo and the three prefectures dropped by 54% from Jan. 4 to 10, and by 71% from Jan. 11 to 17, compared with the same periods two years ago when the coronavirus had no impact.

At the Enomoto Hamburg Laboratory’s Kasuga Korakuen branch in Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo, a 26-seat Western-style restaurant, home delivery sales have increased 20% since Jan. 8 due to an increase in orders from the delivery service Demaecan. The manager of the store said: “We have recently started selling frozen food as well. We have to do it through trial and error.”

Demaecan plans to increase the number of its delivery centers and boost its workforce to about double what it had before the emergency declaration was issued.

Among the major chains, Denny’s family restaurants are offering free deliveries for a limited period to customers of Demaecan and Uber Eats.

Published : January 24, 2021

By : The Japan News