The words …… are written in large letters on the flashy red body of the vending machine. An unusual vending machine is slowly becoming a boom in the Kansai region.
The name of the machine is “Omi Beef Gacha. The machine offers a chance to win up to 10,000 yen worth of brand-name beef for 3,000 yen a time.
The gacha is operated by Yamamuraya, a long-established butcher store in Kyoto that has been in business for 45 years.
We started the Omi beef meat gumbo in November 2009, after the COVID-19 crisis. Restaurants were forced to refrain from business, and we were having trouble finding wholesalers for the meat. It was also around the time that frozen food vending machines were just starting to appear, so we thought we would give it a try. We decided that if we were going to do it, we wanted to make it something that people would enjoy, so we decided to make it a meat gacha.
The main point of the “Meat Gacha” was to make sure that the winner would win a piece of beef worth at least 3,000 yen. In other words, there are no losers. At first, only six machines were installed, but the number of machines has been increasing rapidly.
In Kyoto, where the city’s appearance is strictly regulated, there are strict ordinances regarding the appearance of stores and other aspects of the city. But I heard that there are no regulations on vending machines, so I tried to make the design as conspicuous as possible. Perhaps it worked, because the popular YouTube star Fishers featured our vending machines on his channel in February of last year. Then, sales, which had been around 20,000 yen per day per machine, quickly rose to 100,000 yen (laughs). (Laughs.) Now, monthly sales from gacha alone average 10 million yen, and sometimes as much as 18 million yen.
All gachas are managed by IT, and a system is in place to immediately replenish the inventory of machines that run low, he says.
We are currently only in the Kansai region, but in the future we would like to expand nationwide. We are also aiming to franchise the business.
The “desperate” plan that started with the COVID-19 crisis has unexpectedly been a great success. The day may soon come when “Omi Beef Gacha” will come to your town.
From the April 21 and 28, 2023 issues of “FRIDAY
PHOTO： Kei Kato