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Yoshinoya Holdings Co., Ltd.
Company typePublic
TYO: 9861
IndustryFoodservice
FoundedTokyo, Japan (1899; 125 years ago (1899))
FounderEikichi Matsuda (松田栄吉)
HeadquartersKita, Tokyo, Japan
Number of locations
1,211 (June 2023)[1]
Areas served
East Asia
Southeast Asia
United States
Key people
Shuji Abe, President and CEO
ProductsFast food
Websiteyoshinoya.com
YoshinoyaAmerica.com

Yoshinoya (𠮷野家) is a Japanese multinational fast food chain, and the second-largest chain of gyūdon (beef bowl) restaurants. The chain was established in Japan in 1899. Its motto is "Tasty, low-priced, and quick".[2]

History

Yoshinoya first opened in 1899 at the Nihonbashi fish market in Tokyo.[5] When the market was devastated by the Great Kantō earthquake, Yoshinoya moved to the new Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo in 1926.

The chain opened its first 24-hour store in 1952.[citation needed]

On December 27, 1958, the chain's business model was changed from self-employed restaurants to a stock company, as an attempt to gain more profit.[citation needed]

In 1965, the chain earned a million dollars in sales, which led to the idea of expanding the chain's operations in Japan.[citation needed]

The chain's first franchised store was opened in Shinsaibashi, in 1968.[citation needed]

In 1975, the first American store of the fast-food chain was opened in Colorado.[citation needed] In the early 2000s, Yoshinoya, along with other chains such as McDonald's, triggered a price war in Japan by introducing a regular beef bowl dish for ¥280, or around US$3.[6]

Locations

A Yoshinoya meal

Yoshinoya has a chain of stores in Japan, the United States, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Mongolia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand. Its Malaysian branch closed down in 2021.[7]

Japan

Yoshinoya in Nagoya

In its restaurants in Japan, tables are often counters, and in that case, they take orders over those counters. Chopsticks are provided. The menu includes standard-serving (並盛, namimori, or nami), large-serving (大盛, ōmori), or extra-large-serving (特盛, tokumori)[8] beef bowls, pork bowls (豚丼, butadon),[9] raw eggs (to stir and pour on top, sometimes mixed with soy sauce), soft-boiled eggs (半熟玉子, hanjuku tamago), miso soup and pickles (called oshinkō [お新香] in its menu; a kind of asazuke). They also serve red ginger (beni shōga), spice, and Japanese tea (お茶, ocha) free of charge. Some menus including raw eggs and miso soup can be taken out.[10]

Some customers make special requests at no extra charge such as: extra gravy sauce (つゆだく, tsuyudaku), extra onions (ねぎだく, negidaku), without gravy sauce (つゆ抜き, tsuyunuki), no onions (ねぎ抜き, neginuki),[11] egg-yolk only (黄身だけ, kimidake) and less rice (軽いの, karui no, literally "light one").

On June 14, 2011, Yoshinoya in Japan started serving eel bowls (鰻丼, unadon) as a standard seasonal menu to be offered until the latter part of July.[12]

United States

Yoshinoya in California

Yoshinoya entered the United States opening a corporate office in Denver in 1973, and then its first retail location in Denver in 1975.[13] (This location later became "Kokoro", a similar restaurant run by Mas Torito who had previous experience at a location in Japan.) Yoshinoya is currently only present in California. A location in Las Vegas, Nevada, went out of business in February 2017.[14] A location in Goodyear, Arizona, opened in 2008, but went out of business in December 2011. A Dallas location that opened in June 2011 was Yoshinoya's first venture into Texas,[15] but it went out of business in December of that year.[citation needed] The first location east of the Mississippi River opened on 42nd Street off Times Square, New York City, in 2002.[16] Two more stores opened in other Manhattan locations, but Yoshinoya later filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2008,[17] and later all the New York City stores went out of business by January 2012.

In March 2020, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, indoor dining was temporarily abandoned, with take-away, drive-thru or pick-up service still available.

The main menu in the United States includes the beef bowl, chicken bowl, combo bowl, and shrimp bowl, along with soup and desserts, and has variations such as "beef with vegetables bowls", "teriyaki chicken bowls", and barbecue-style plates. Skinless chicken is available upon request. Tempura bowls are no longer available. The menu of Yoshinoya in the U.S. is similar to that in Japan. At a basic level, both companies serve several recipes over a bowl of rice, which includes the trademark beef bowl with very thinly sliced beef plus light sauce and onions.

Taiwan

Yoshinoya entered the Taiwanese market in 1987 with the establishment of Taiwan Yoshinoya Co., Ltd. through a joint venture. It opened its first Asian branch outside Japan along Guanqian Road in Zhongzheng District, Taipei in 1988.[13]

China

Yoshinoya restaurant in Futian District, Shenzhen

Yoshinoya opened its first Chinese branch at Wangfujing, Beijing in 1992.[18] It was later expanded beginning in 2002, the year of opening of its branches in Shanghai (flagship branch) and Shenzhen.

In 2015, Yoshinoya China Holdings Co., Ltd. was established.[13] As of 2021, there are 390 Yoshinoya branches in China. That same year, Hop Hing Group Holdings, the operator of Yoshinoya and Dairy Queen in China, decided to go private.[19]

Hong Kong

Yoshinoya restaurant at Sun Hung Kai Centre Shopping Arcade, Hong Kong

The Hong Kong division of Yoshinoya was founded in 1991. Currently, 50 Yoshinoya food stores are split among three main areas:[1] the Hong Kong branch, the New Territories branch, and the Kowloon branch. Fourteen stores are in the Hong Kong branch, 21 stores are in the New Territories branch, and 22 stores are in the Kowloon branch. Each Yoshinoya food store has five working positions: store manager, supervisor, customer service assistant, crew, and production assistant.[4]

Unlike the Yoshinoya in Japan, stores in Hong Kong do not provide table services. Customers order their food at a cashier and collect their food on a tray there, which is the same as in Western fast-food stores.

Philippines

Yoshinoya restaurant at SM City Grand Central, Caloocan

In 1992, the first Philippine franchisee of Yoshinoya was established, with its first store at Robinsons Galleria, Quezon City that opened on June 12.[13] However, it operated until October 1993. It later changed to direct management.[20]

In 2001, Yoshinoya re-entered the Philippine market through a joint-venture between Yoshinoya and the Century Pacific Group named Yoshinoya Century Pacific Inc. Its first store since re-entry opened in Metro Point Mall, Pasay on December 15, 2001.[21]

In 2021, following the end of the partnership between Yoshinoya and the Century Pacific Group, Yoshinoya formed a new joint-venture with Jollibee Foods Corporation that would serve as the next franchisee of Yoshinoya in the Philippines.[22] Under the new deal, there are plans to open 50 stores in the country in the long-term.[23]

As of 2023, there are seven Yoshinoya stores operating in the Philippines.[1]

Indonesia

Yoshinoya restaurant at Grand Indonesia

In October 1993, Yoshinoya signed a franchise contract with a leading Indonesian company. The first Indonesian branch opened at Pondok Indah Mall, South Jakarta. However, it operated until July 1998.

In 2009, Yoshinoya re-entered the Indonesian market through another franchise agreement, this time with Multirasa Nusantara Co., Ltd. In October 2010, its first branch since re-entry opened at Grand Indonesia Shopping Town, Central Jakarta.[13] As of 2023, there are 146 Yoshinoya stores in Indonesia in the Greater Jakarta Metropolitan Area, Surabaya, Bandung, Bali, Semarang, Yogyakarta, Medan, Solo, Malang, Makassar, Palembang, Banjarmasin, Lampung, Cikarang, Karawang, Kudus, Madiun, Kediri, Sidoarjo, Mojokerto, Gresik, and Jember.[1]

Singapore

Yoshinoya in Singapore

In 1997, Yoshinoya entered the Singaporean market through a franchise agreement with Wing Tai Investment & Development Pte. Ltd. In the same year, it opened its first two branches; the first is located at Ngee Ann City and the second one is at Scott's Picnic. In 2016, Wing Tai sold the whole shares of the Singaporean franchise to Asia Yoshinoya International Sdn. Bhd. to make it as a subsidiary.[13] As of 2023, there are 11 Yoshinoya stores in Singapore.[1]

Cambodia

In 2013, the first Yoshinoya franchise in Cambodia opened on King's Road in Siem Reap with a franchise agreement signed with Meas Development Co., Ltd.[1]

There are currently around two Yoshinoya stores in Cambodia as of September 2022, with both of them being located in Phnom Penh International Airport and Siem Reap International Airport.

Controversies

In late 2001, a domestic bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) incident critically damaged beef bowl sales. In late 2003, Japan suspended imports of American beef due to a BSE incident in Washington, cutting off Yoshinoya's main source of short plate (fatty beef) that is the main component of its beef bowl. This forced Yoshinoya to terminate beef bowl sales in Japan for the first time in its history on February 11, 2004.

News of the removal of this item from Yoshinoya's menu caused its fans and non-fans alike to queue in massive lines at its restaurants all around Japan to taste what might be their last beef bowl for a long time.[citation needed] Yoshinoya then switched to serving pork bowl (butadon) instead of beef. However, its restaurants in the United States continued to serve the beef bowl using American short plate. From December 2, 2004, restaurants in Japan started serving "beef yakiniku bowls" (牛焼肉丼, gyū-yakiniku-don), which use Australian beef, a different sauce, and additional vegetables.[24] These bowls differed from original "beef bowls", which use American beef.

People lining up on the day of "the beef bowl revival festival" (牛丼復活祭) in 2006, near Teradachō Station, Osaka

In December 2005, Japan agreed to remove the restriction on importing beef from the United States. A letter to customers was then put up in restaurants, promising that the beef bowl would return in a few months. In January 2006, imports stopped again because inspectors found banned cattle parts in a veal shipment from the United States. In June 2006, Japan lifted the ban on imports again, and on July 31, 2006, Yoshinoya reposted the letter promising to resume serving the beef bowl in about two months.[citation needed]

On September 18, 2006, Yoshinoya brought back their beef bowl for one day as "the beef bowl revival festival" (牛丼復活祭, gyūdon fukkatsusai). This "revival", however, meant that its beef bowls would be available only the first five days of the month in October and November. On December 1, 2006, they began serving beef bowls daily, albeit at limited hours. These hours were extended once during special campaigns in February and December 2007. By March 17, 2008, Yoshinoya announced that they would resume 24-hour sales of the beef bowl, rolling out through their then 1040 stores nationwide through March 20, 2008. An announcement of banned cattle products in a Californian beef import on April 21, 2008, did not halt the company's plans, as they felt they had enough stock from other sources to avoid a recall.[citation needed]

In August 2008, three Yoshinoya employees in Hong Kong including the store's manager were arrested after gang-raping another employee. Footage of the incident was uploaded to the internet.[25]

In 2019, Yoshinoya outlets in Hong Kong were targeted to be boycotted and vandalized by anti-government protesters during 2019–20 Hong Kong protests. Hop Hing Group, based in Hong Kong, is the licensed franchise of Yoshinoya in the city and Mainland China (Beijing and the cities in Southeast China). Its CEO, Marvin Hung, was criticized by protesters for attending a rally for Hong Kong police organized by pro-Beijing camps.[26]

Another major reason that caused the boycott of Yoshinoya is an advertisement posted on Facebook in July 2019. The advertisement featured a traditional Japanese food, chikuwa; in Cantonese, the word sounds similar to "dog that tears paper". As this advert was published after police removed messages on a Lennon Wall in Tai Po, the advertisement was then regarded as poking fun at the police. The staff from Social Strategy Hong Kong who helped create the advertisement was sacked afterwards. Hence, protestors thought that Yoshinoya was politically biased and suppressed freedom of speech. Citizens in support of the protests then started boycotting Yoshinoya.[27]

On April 16, 2022, Yoshinoya managing director Masaaki Itō attracted controversy over his statements as an instructor during a Waseda University marketing course. During the first class while covering marketing strategies for young female consumers Itō reportedly described a "drug-addled virgins strategy" stating: "You have these women straight out of the countryside who don't know left or right, while they're virgins you get them hooked on gyudon like a methamphetamine addiction. Once a man starts paying for their expensive dinners they'll never eat with us again."[28] Students' shocked reactions were uploaded to Facebook and attracted fierce criticism online. One user wrote "Let's deconstruct this remark – he showed contempt for women, young people, people from rural areas and his own company's products. In short, he pretty much insulted most of his company's customers."[29] The course tuition reportedly cost 36,500 yen over 29 days. On April 18, 2022, Yoshinoya issued a public apology, calling Itō's statements "profoundly inappropriate".[30][31] Itō joined the company in 2018, previously vice-president at Procter & Gamble.[32] On April 19, 2022, the company announced Itō's dismissal, calling that his statements "could not be tolerated from the point of view of human rights and gender issues".[33][29] The controversy led to Yoshinoya suspending an upcoming marketing campaign starring Nicole Fujita and rollout of a new product that took 10 years to develop.[34]

Gallery

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Number of Stores of the Group". Yoshinoya Holdings. Retrieved 12 July 2023.
  2. ^ "吉野家公式ウェブサイト". 吉野家公式ウェブサイト.
  3. ^ "吉野家の歴史に関するご質問". (Japanese) YOSHINOYA CO., LTD. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
  4. ^ a b Hong Kong Yoshinoya official website: "Yoshinoya-HK Website". Archived from the original on October 11, 2012. Retrieved October 4, 2012.
  5. ^ "Tsukiji". Archived from the original on January 6, 2009. Retrieved April 10, 2010.
  6. ^ Nagata, Kazuaki (2014-04-28). "No sacred cows in Japan's beef bowl war". The Japan Times Online. ISSN 0447-5763. Retrieved 2015-10-06.
  7. ^ "Yoshinoya Hanamaru In Mid Valley Megamall Has Already Closed Down". 2021-09-27. Retrieved 2023-04-14.
  8. ^ "吉野家メニュー: 牛丼・牛皿". (Japanese) YOSHINOYA CO., LTD. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
  9. ^ "吉野家メニュー: 豚丼・豚皿". Archived July 9, 2011, at the Wayback Machine (Japanese) YOSHINOYA CO., LTD. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
  10. ^ "吉野家メニュー: サイドメニュー". (Japanese) Yoshinoya Co. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
  11. ^ 吉野家の牛丼、頼み方は72種類 (2008). Retrieve June 19, 2011, from http://www.gamenews.ne.jp/archives/2008/03/72_1.html
  12. ^ "吉野家 夏の定番メニュー 「鰻丼」期間限定発売のお知らせ". (Japanese) (pdf) YOSHINOYA HOLDINGS. June 9, 2011. Retrieved July 5, 2011.
  13. ^ a b c d e f "History of Overseas Expansion". Yoshinoya Holdings. Retrieved 12 July 2023.
  14. ^ "Yoshinoya - CLOSED - University - Las Vegas, NV". Yelp.
  15. ^ Teresa Gubbins (May 16, 2011). "Yoshinoya Beef Bowl to open first Texas branch in Dallas". Pegasus News. Archived from the original on May 19, 2011. Retrieved May 24, 2011.
  16. ^ "Yoshinoya". Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  17. ^ "Yoshinoya N.Y. seeks protection". The Japan Times. June 19, 2008. Retrieved June 4, 2023.
  18. ^ "关于吉野家". 吉野家(中国)投资有限公司--关于吉野家 (in Chinese). Retrieved July 12, 2023.
  19. ^ Kihara, Takeshi (8 September 2021). "Chinese operator of Yoshinoya and DQ to go private". Nikkei Asia. Retrieved 12 July 2023.
  20. ^ "Yoshinoya collaborates with Jollibee in Philippines". Taiwan Immigrants' Global News Network. March 7, 2021. Retrieved July 11, 2023.
  21. ^ "History of Overseas Expansion". yoshinoya-holdings.com.
  22. ^ Venzon, Cliff (16 February 2021). "Fast-food giants Jollibee and Yoshinoya team up in Philippines". Nikkei Asia. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  23. ^ Fenol, Jessica (February 16, 2021). "Jollibee partners with Yoshinoya for 'first ever' Japanese food chain venture". ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs. Retrieved February 16, 2021.
  24. ^ Press release 野家の「 牛焼肉丼」(ぎゅうやきにくどん)全国で販売開始 [Noya's 'Gyuyaki Nikudon' is now on sale nationwide] (PDF) (Press release) (in Japanese). Noya D&C Co., Ltd. November 25, 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 22, 2011. Retrieved April 10, 2010. (Retrieved on April 10, 2010)
  25. ^ NNA Asia. "吉野家の女性店員暴行、容疑3店員が初公判". NNA Asia (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 3 January 2016. Retrieved 23 April 2022.
  26. ^ Hong Kong protesters trash Starbucks and Yoshinoya
  27. ^ "Yoshinoya steams at ad agency as extradition rows rock workplaces". South China Morning Post. 2019-07-12. Retrieved 2020-03-03.
  28. ^ Mainichi Shinbun. "吉野家、取締役の不適切発言で謝罪 「生娘を薬漬けのように牛丼中毒に」". Mainichi Shinbun (in Japanese). Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  29. ^ a b "Japan beef bowl company sacks director for remark on getting women "hooked"". Reuters. 19 April 2022. Retrieved 20 April 2022.
  30. ^ Yahoo News. "吉野家、役員の不適切発言謝罪 「生娘を薬漬けのように牛丼中毒に」". Yahoo News (in Japanese). Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  31. ^ Nikkei (18 April 2022). "吉野家、取締役の不適切発言で謝罪 「生娘を薬漬けのように牛丼中毒に」". Nikkei (in Japanese). Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  32. ^ Tokyo Shinbun. "吉野家、役員の不適切発言謝罪 「生娘を薬漬けのように牛丼中毒に」". Tokyo Shinbun (in Japanese). Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  33. ^ Asahi Shinbun (19 April 2022). "吉野家HD、不適切発言の常務取締役を解任 「到底許容できない」". Asahi Shinbun (in Japanese). Retrieved 25 May 2023.
  34. ^ Asahi Shinbun (18 April 2022). "吉野家常務発言で新商品発表会が前日に中止 10年かけ開発の親子丼". Asahi Shinbun (in Japanese). Retrieved 25 May 2023.