As components of Japan endure a chronic state of emergency to battle the newest coronavirus surge, one restaurant chain got here up with a approach to replicate the sushi bar expertise at residence: renting out conveyor belts.
Kappa Sushi, which operates greater than 300 sushi bars throughout Japan, is providing takeout clients a mini model of the conveyor belts that run by means of their eating places and ferry little plates of nigiri and rolls to diners at their tables. For a further 3,300 yen, or about $30, clients can decide up a 49-inch oval belt, in regards to the dimension 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 a number of other different cities below a state of emergency that curtails eating places’ working hours, Kappa unveiled the rental service final month at 5 of its places. About 75 clients have signed up thus far, Ms. Okamura mentioned.
“Most clients are households with babies, who really feel reluctant to eat out and really feel safer consuming at residence,” she mentioned. “They need to have a little bit of enjoyable at residence, or after they have some occasions at kindergartens or faculty. We additionally goal company clients however the service is well-liked amongst households.”
With a minimal order of about $27, and an $18 deposit, a Kappa buyer pays to hire the conveyor belt together with the meal. Final month, Reiranran, a Japanese web persona with 154,000 YouTube subscribers, posted a video displaying her opening an extended black case in regards to the dimension of a therapeutic massage desk inside her Osaka house.
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 selecting 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 below emergency measures imposed throughout components 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 can be surviving in the course of 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 residence, 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 well-liked toy firm, Takara Tomy, is planning to launch a brand new practice set subsequent month that’s designed to hold sushi trays.