LA’s Latest Conveyor Sushi Concept Showcases Future Of Fast Casual Automation

Read Time

6 min

LA’s Latest Conveyor Sushi Concept Showcases Future Of Fast Casual Automation

After struggling to staff his Osaka-based sushi restaurant, the late Yoshiaki Shiraishi opened the first Japanese kaiten-zushi conveyor belt sushi shop Mawaru Genroku in 1958. Supposedly, the idea came from watching the industrialized process of filling Asahi beer bottles. Shiraishi, who is credited with inventing modern conveyor belt sushi, scaled his concept to a peak of 250 stores and inspired a host of other operators to follow suit, such as the 500+ unit Kura Revolving Sushi Bar in the US, Taiwan, and Japan. Higher-end ‘omakase’ tasting menu concepts like Sushi Ginza Onodera have, too, branched out to service the market for quick, affordable, and high quality sushi through its two Japanese kaiten locations in Tokyo and Osaka. In its S-1 prospectus dated January, the company revealed that its 3.5 year-old kaiten restaurants are generating $4.8mm in gross sales at 23% EBITDA margins with a 1.5-year payback on an investment of $1.7mm-$1.9mm per store. In late February, Pan Pacific International, the publicly-traded holding company behind SoCal-based Gelson’s and Marukai markets, opened its kaiten concept Waka Sakura in Marukai’s Tokyo Central market in Gardena, CA. After multiple attempts of witnessing peak wait times of two hours, HNGRY finally got a taste of the automated kaiten concept this week.

Subscribe to continue reading

Sign up now for HNGRY Trends to read weekly stories like this and join the community of hundreds of food tech industry insiders from CloudKitchens, Uber, DoorDash, GoPuff, and more.

Already a member? Log in

Back to articles

Artboard 1