Labor Malpractice Behind Sukiya’s Increased Profits | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Labor Malpractice Behind Sukiya’s Increased Profits

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on LINE
Sukiya, is a restaurant that is open 24 hours a day and is valuable to its customer.
It was early in the morning around 5:30 a.m. when a 58-year-old female employee collapsed in the kitchen. Since there were no other staff members present, she was left unattended for three hours. The next shift supervisor who came to work before 9:00 a.m. noticed her and immediately took her to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead. The cause of death was myocardial infarction.

 The shocking incident at Sukiya, a beef bowl chain, was revealed on June 2. The woman died in January of this year while working at a store in Nagoya City, where she ran the store by herself.

 “Sukiya employs one-man operations to reduce labor costs and increase profit margins. There are many problems, not only in terms of safety, as in the case of the woman who died, but also in terms of excessive labor and crime prevention. Sukiya provides employees with wireless emergency buttons for emergency contact with headquarters, but the woman who died was not carrying one,” said a reporter from the business department of a national newspaper.

Sukiya has been strictly enforcing the use of multiple employees from midnight to 5 a.m. since one-operator operations became an issue in 2002. In response to the death of the female employee, the company has decided to have multiple employees working from 5:00 AM onward by the end of June. The one-operator system will be abolished.

Operating Profit Increased 2.7 Times

Sukiya’s advantage is targeting a wide range of customers

Sukiya has been experiencing a series of troubles, but its performance has been excellent. Zensho Holdings, which operates Sukiya, reported an operating income of approximately 9.2 billion yen in the fiscal year ended March 2010, and expects to increase this figure by 2.7 times to 25 billion yen in the fiscal year ending March 2011.

What is the reason for this rapid growth? Economic journalist Takashi Matsuzaki answers.

 First of all, it is the location. Rivals such as Yoshinoya and Matsuya have many stores in downtown areas, catering to the needs of office workers in the city center. On the other hand, Sukiya tends to develop in the suburbs for families. One of the reasons for its strong performance is probably the growing demand in the suburbs as more people work from home due to the spread of the new type of coronavirus. More and more people are thinking about eating with their families near their homes instead of going out of their way to go to the city center.


The wide variety of menu items is also helping to support this trend. Mr. Matsuzaki continues.

 Most of the customers of Yoshinoya and Matsuya are men in their 30s and 40s, and most of them order beef bowls. We are making efforts to attract young female customers, but they have not been very effective.

 Sukiya’s main target is families of various ages. Because it caters to a wide range of customers, Sukiya offers a wide variety of dishes. In addition to beef bowls, Sukiya offers many choices such as Horohoro Chicken Curry and Unadon (eel bowl), as well as a wide range of menu items for children such as the Children’s Tori-Soboro-Don Sukiyaki Set. Women will also appreciate the desserts available, such as the Smooth Caramel Pudding.

Sukiya is maintaining its strong performance despite many problems. Sukiya must not only improve its services to customers but also invest its profits in improving the working environment for its employees.

A wide variety of drinks and desserts, including iced coffee.
  • Photo by Takashi Yamazaki

Photo Gallery3 total

Photo Selection

Check out the best photos for you.

Related Articles