Home » Opinion » This Is On Me » Ever evolving ‘Kaitenzushi’ restaurants

Ever evolving ‘Kaitenzushi’ restaurants

Kaitenzushi (or Kaiten-sushi) is a sushi restaurant where the plates with the sushi are placed on a rotating conveyor belt that winds through the restaurant and moves past every table and counter seat.

The first revolving-sushi restaurant was opened in Osaka in 1958 when Yoshiaki Shiraishi was inspired by the mechanics of an Asahi beer factory processing line. This restaurant design could deliver plates to dozens of customers simultaneously. And with lowered labor costs, restaurants could charge less for each plate, effectively transformed sushi into a form of healthy fast food. Its birth country is Japan, but Kaiten restaurants are found all over the US, England, Australia, France, China, and South Korea.

But now some Kaiten restaurants in the metropolis in Japan are changing again. They are switching to touch screens.

Old-fashioned and bulky conveyer belts are replaced by more compact single-track systems with a clean and futuristic interior and touch screens. The carousel that revolves dishes all around the restaurants is gone.

The menu includes classic fish options, but also devotes space for desserts, tempura and “vegetable sushi” and even hamburger sushi. Customers order via multi-language touch screens. Most touch screens menus have a clear picture for each kind of sushi piece you order with the prices. Customers order via touch screens and a high-speed single-track delivery system zips the ordered food directly to table within minutes – fresher fish to customers and less food waste. In old system, sushi left out too long on the conveyor belt eventually are thrown away.

Despite changes to the store designs and menus, the reputations of kaiten chains for inexpensive sushi might continue to turn off some customers. However, they can be popular among non-Japanese tourists with free Wi-Fi and power outlets with rock-bottom prices for each sushi on the menu. (Floro Mercene )