As elements of Japan endure a chronic state of emergency to battle the newest coronavirus surge, one restaurant chain got here up with a solution to replicate the sushi bar expertise at house: renting out conveyor belts.
Kappa Sushi, which operates greater than 300 sushi bars throughout Japan, is providing takeout prospects a mini model of the conveyor belts that run by their eating places and ferry little plates of nigiri and rolls to diners at their tables. For an extra 3,300 yen, or about $30, prospects can decide up a 49-inch oval belt, concerning the measurement of a toy practice set, that sits atop a desk and strikes the takeout dishes round and round.
Momoko Okamura, a spokeswoman for the Kappa chain, mentioned the corporate got here up with the concept in 2019, earlier than the pandemic. However with Tokyo, Osaka and several other different cities underneath a state of emergency that curtails eating places’ working hours, Kappa unveiled the rental service final month at 5 of its areas. About 75 prospects have signed up to date, Ms. Okamura mentioned.
“Most prospects are households with babies, who really feel reluctant to eat out and really feel safer consuming at house,” she mentioned. “They wish to have a little bit of enjoyable at house, or once they have some occasions at kindergartens or college. We additionally goal company prospects however the service is in style amongst households.”
With a minimal order of about $27, and an $18 deposit, a Kappa buyer will pay to lease the conveyor belt together with the meal. Final month, Reiranran, a Japanese web character with 154,000 YouTube subscribers, posted a video exhibiting her opening an extended black case concerning the measurement of a therapeutic massage desk inside her Osaka condo.
She positioned the conveyor belt on her espresso desk, plugged it in and organized her order on the belt: plates of shrimp nigiri, tuna, egg and an assortment of different sliced fish. With the flick of a change, the belt whirred to life. Sipping a beer, she started choosing from the shifting dishes.
“It’s been so lengthy to see sushi revolving and have a drink,” she mentioned.
With eating places barred from staying open late or serving alcohol underneath emergency measures imposed throughout elements of the nation in April, sushi supply locations and fast-food joints, together with McDonald’s and KFC, are among the many few eating companies which might be surviving through the pandemic in Japan. Some sushi eating places have launched refrigerated lockers to permit contact-free pickup; others supply kits for households to assemble their meals at house, full with paper sushi chef hats for kids.
Some Japanese have tried to duplicate the expertise of kaitenzushi — the reasonably priced, family-friendly conveyor-belt sushi launched in Osaka in 1958 — by modifying toy practice units to hold sushi trays, and posting movies on YouTube. A preferred toy firm, Takara Tomy, is planning to launch a brand new practice set subsequent month that’s designed to hold sushi trays.