FOOD & LIFE COMPANIES (former company name: Sushiro Global Holdings) held a press briefing in Tokyo on the 2nd. Koichi Mizutome, President and CEO of the company, reported on the domestic Sushiro business, and also mentioned “prospects for overseas expansion,” “take-out and delivery business,” and “aim for the acquisition of Kyotaru.” Mr. Koichi Mizutome, President and CEO of FOOD & LIFE COMPANIES, will be on stage to explain. The company changed its name on April 1, 2021. ■ Finally, Mr. Mizutome of FOOD & LIFE COMPANIES, Mr. Ken Ishii, President and CEO of Kyotaru, and Senior Executive Officer of FOOD & LIFE COMPANIES attended the meeting to advance into China. Three people of Mr. Hirotsugu Ogawa. At the beginning of the press conference, Mr. Mizutome cut out from the topic of overseas expansion. Regarding the first Sushiro store that opened in Bangkok (Thailand) on March 31, “We had many customers gather from the first day and waited in line to enter the store. The store is the largest in the world. We have 350 seats available, “he said with a smile. By the way, with the change of the company name, the company changed its corporate philosophy, “Let’s change the deliciousness of every day. Let’s spread the joy to the world. However, from this slogan, we can see the attitude of actively promoting global expansion. After this, we will finally take on the challenge of opening stores in mainland China. It is said that the final adjustment of the first store is now underway. “Because of the corona, it takes time to complete the immigration procedure, but if we can open it during this term (until the end of September), we will bring as much food and equipment as possible, and like Bangkok, we will be with Sushiro in Japan. We will reproduce the same store in China. If customers support us here, we should be able to accelerate store development in China. ” He explained that the businesses in South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Thailand, which are already under development, are performing steadily. “I want to further increase the ratio of overseas business in the future.” “In the future, if I go to major cities around the world, I want to grow into a brand that always sees the corporate logo,” he said. Next is the business results for this term. Although he avoided giving specific numbers, he said, “We were able to operate the business very well even in the first half of the Corona disaster.” In the second half, not only will the taste of sushi evolve, but the business format will also expand. As part of this, we will promote the expansion of take-out and delivery businesses. For example, we are considering setting up a take-out shop that does not have a kitchen near the station or in the station Naka. It was reported that a new take-out shop was opened on April 1 at Kintetsu Yamato-Saidaiji Station. In the take-out business, we will also utilize the synergies of acquiring the take-out sushi “Kyotaru”. Mr. Mizutome explained, “How will we collaborate with Kyotaru and Sushiro? We are currently discussing with President Ishii of the Kyotaru brand.” ■ Expectations for synergies Next, Mr. Ken Ishii, President and CEO of Kyotaru, explained. Kyotaru has been under the umbrella of Yoshinoya Holdings of Gyudon. The company also operates a conveyor belt sushi restaurant, “Seafood Misaki Port.” Mr. Ishii said, “I am excited to join a new group with the same eating out as the backbone. The Sushiro brand is the No. 1 conveyor belt sushi and is expanding overseas. Being a member of such a group I hope that this will generate a lot of synergies. ” Mr. Ken Ishii, President and CEO of Kyotaru, explained, “I want to fly big with synergies with Sushiro.” “In recent years, we will utilize Sushiro’s know-how to develop products that have not been touched on. Has also accumulated take-out know-how over a long period of time. While taking advantage of these strengths, we will incorporate new essences and contribute to increasing the value of the Group ”(Mr. Ishii). Mr. Mizutome also said, “In the future, we will support Kyotaru with the full power of the group. First of all, I want to improve the taste. The reason why Sushiro is doing well now is that the taste has been constantly evolving. I’ve been researching how to improve the taste for many years. I will share what Sushiro has embodied in Kyotaru and Seafood Misaki Port to increase the value firmly. ” Finally, Mr. Hirotsugu Ogawa, Senior Executive Officer of FOOD & LIFE COMPANIES, who oversees strategic planning, made a speech. “We will continue to take on a wide range of challenges, both domestically and internationally, regardless of the framework of Sushiro. With the addition of Mr. Kyotaru, we will deliver fresh products and information to consumers as quickly as possible. I want to see it. Please look forward to it. ” Mr. Hirotsugu Ogawa, Senior Executive Officer of FOOD & LIFE COMPANIES ■ Why is Sushiro doing well? After that, Mr. Mizutome, Mr. Ishii, and Mr. Ogawa responded to media questions. ――Why is Sushiro doing well amid the decline in the performance of each company in the restaurant industry? Mr. Mizutome: One of the reasons is that you can experience things that you cannot experience at home in Sushiro’s eat-in space. We value the experience value that our customers enjoy in the eat-in space. In terms of systems, we have developed a system that allows online payment at an earlier timing than other companies. We are trying to work well with the store operator. Customers want products at lunch time and dinner time. If the system on the back side is not solid, it will not be possible to handle all the orders that came at the same time. Since we have been developing the system before Corona, we were able to respond even when the demand for takeout suddenly increased due to this corona disaster. ――I also run an izakaya, but what is the impact of the corona sickness? Mr. Mizutome: I’m influenced, but even though I’m talking about izakaya, what we do is sushi izakaya Sugitama. Since there is a theme of sushi, I think that it is a person who is open compared to the izakaya chain stores in the world. Very good locations are coming out now. We intend to continue opening stores without staying. When will the day come when we can open until night? Looking forward to that, we will continue to open stores, believing that such a time will come. –Kyotaru has a low profit margin. How do you clear the challenges by joining the Sushiro Group? Mr. Ishii: That is our weak point. I’ve been a member of Yoshinoya Holdings for more than 20 years, but there were some things I couldn’t do. There was a difference in sticking to sushi and beef bowl, and I couldn’t combine them. In the future, I would like to utilize the procurement capabilities of the Sushiro Group to further refine the ingredients, refine the business format, and if there is an analog part, incorporate digital as well to increase productivity. We would like to increase the number of customers by giving more Kyotaru numbers than ever before and aim for a solid position within the group. Mizutome: Basically, I think eating out is fresh. There is freshness of the ingredients, but there is also freshness as a store. How new and discoverable can we provide to our customers? That will lead to the next visit. Kyotaru felt that the store was not fresh. Sushiro promotes festivals and fairs more than 20 times a year. We are also developing side menus, and every time we visit the store, we discover something new. That’s why Kyotaru also wants customers to think, “There may be some new menu, let’s go see it.” I hope that both Kyotaru and Seafood Misaki Port will work together to make people think that something has become more interesting. –What are your future plans for your own delivery? Mr. Ogawa: Soberly, we started in-house delivery experiments at about 3 stores in Kansai, and now we have expanded to about 30 stores. The test is repeated while changing the area. Depending on the area, there are areas where the response is good, and some stores that are doing well say that they want a few more bikes. If I increase the number of stores a little more, I would like to see the whole situation once. As with in-house delivery, we continue to use third-party vendors. It seems that there are areas that we are good at and areas that we are not good at depending on the area, so we will strengthen it while observing those areas as well. Our policy is to deliver to as many stores as possible. ――When did you talk about the acquisition of Kyotaru (which was not so good)? Mr. Mizutome: I was informed at the end of last year. After that, I did a lot of research. We want to provide more customers with the opportunity to eat sushi, but there were some areas that could not be reached in the Sushiro format. This is because a large space is required to provide Sushiro’s eat-in, but there are many cases where it is not possible to secure a site in the city center. I don’t want to spoil the experience value while showing the Sushiro sign. We have received many talks such as “Please put out Sushiro on this 50 tsubo”. But that doesn’t include standard equipment such as lanes and kitchens. Sushiro’s format cannot be entered without 100 tsubo. In that case, fried food cannot be provided and soup cannot be provided. I don’t want to make Sushiro that I can’t experience all of Sushiro. Then, how can we serve delicious sushi in a place where there is not enough space for 100 tsubo? You needed a different format. At Seafood Misaki Port, while the format was 40 to 60 tsubo, he was able to grasp the needs of the store openings and increase the turnover rate to run the business. I’ve been referring to it for a long time. Currently, Seafood Misaki Port operates nearly 100 stores. Therefore, I took the story of this acquisition positively and came up with the idea of utilizing the foundation of Seafood Misaki Port. Regarding takeout, we are thinking of incorporating our resources into the Kyotaru platform. –What is the difference between Sushiro and Seafood Misaki Port? Mr. Mizutome: If it’s Sushiro-like Misaki Port, I think Sushiro is fine. Then, how do you pursue the goodness of Misaki Port and make it stand out? There is a difference between the two stores. In some cases, the material that Sushiro cannot handle is used at Misaki Port. There are craftsmen at Misaki Port. Sushiro does not have a craftsman, but a veteran housewife prepares and cooks it. Therefore, the operations that can be performed are different. Therefore, we are thinking of narrowing down the value of Misaki Port by using ingredients that can only be handled at Misaki Port. –What is your future policy regarding measures against infectious diseases in coronavirus? Mr. Mizutome: It’s been a year, and we’ve been learning, and I feel that we have accumulated know-how in the world. Customers have become accustomed to refraining from talking in the eating space and removing the mask only at the moment of eating. I think this is a collaborative effort in the sense that the stores will make efforts and the customers will be aware of it. Air and relationships have been fostered to be careful of each other so that the food space can be as safe and secure as possible. Eating with your family and loved ones in your daily life is indispensable for your life, and in order to protect your precious time, let’s be conscious of each other and feel at ease. I hope that things will continue to take root. –Will you invest in infectious disease control? Mr. Mizutome: We have been promoting automation even before Corona. With the aim of improving productivity, we have developed a system that can provide services without human intervention. Therefore, we will continue to make investments that should be continued even if it is said that “Corona will end tomorrow.” Sushiro has an “automatic souvenir locker” that allows you to receive products at the locker without having to interact with a clerk, or a checkout system like a self-checkout. Regarding the design of the store, we are also considering a flow line where people do not intersect at the entrance and exit. We will continue to promote initiatives that lead to safety and security.