Sugimoto Restaurant in Nagoya City, Japan, is a gourmet, traditional Japanese restaurant that is famous for its fine beef dishes. The head chef has prepared meals for the Japanese Royal Imperial Family. Freshness, quality and fine attention to detail, make Sugimoto an exemplary and memorable dining experience. What is also impressive, is its innovative lean restaurant management systems and methods that ensure quality, cost and delivery standards are upheld. Sugimoto Restaurant and their meat factory in Toyota City is a 15 billion yen (USD $148 million) business that is profitable and innovative. Soon, they will be opening a Sugimoto Restaurant in Tokyo Sky Tree.
Process Improvement Japan had the opportunity to not only visit the Sugimoto restaurant and its impressive meat factory, but also arrange meetings for our clients with the President, head chef and factory manager for insights into how they manage their business operations and ensure profit while upholding the highest standards of service and quality.
Some of the key lessons learnt were:
Actually, Sugimoto san, the President, travels domestically and internationally regularly. He`s never satisfied with their level of service and business style. "There is always something more we can learn." Sugimoto san says. "Experiencing different cultures inspires me. And investigating new and better equipment keeps us competitive and forward thinking."
The Sugimoto Meat Factory, based in Toyota City, prepares quality meat and meat products for use in their restaurants, other restaurants as well as for supermarkets. They smoke their own meats and prepare their own sausages. It`s a bustling place that is full of energy and enthusiasm.
Mr. Mizuno, Plant Manager, says they always make an extra effort to maintain a high level of hygiene. "We go above the standard," asserts Mr. Mizuno with pride. "We want to be known as the best of the best." Sugimoto Meat Factory also places a heavy emphasis on reducing muda. Ensuring that staff are always on the look out for unnecessary items and process steps keeps the factory in tip top shape. "The factory is truly impressive", says Kozo Sakano. "It is a hive of efficient, creative activity. Staff are energized and take pride in what they do."
Process Improvement Japan also had the opportunity to spend time with Takada san, a renowned food consultant that has worked Japanese and international restaurants and restaurant chains on ensuring profitable operations and restaurant management systems to drive business forward, prepare for franchising and develop innovative product and cost control strategies.
A genius in his own right, Takada san got straight down to business. "A stable profit rate must be determined." He stated firmly. "A too high or too low profit rate cannot be sustained or be healthy. Whether you are a restaurant chain, a family restaurant or fast food outlet, your stable levels of fixed and variable costs and profit rate must be balanced and sustained in order to ensure long term prosperity." Further he warned, "People who can cook good dishes establish restaurants. They lack knowledge in finance. This is one of the biggest problems in the food industry."