100 Yen Sushi House

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100 YEN SUSHI HOUSE Sang M. Lee tells of a meeting with two Japanese businessmen in Tokyo, a joint U.S. Japanese conference to explore U.S. and Japanese management systems. As lunchtime drew near, his hosts told him with much delight that they wished to show him the "most productive operation in Japan." The 100 Yen Sushi House is no ordinary sushi restaurant. It is the ultimate showcaase of Japanese productivity. There was a conveyor belt going around the ellipsoid service area. On it I saw a train of plates of sushi. You can find any kind of sushi that you can think of - from the cheapest seaweed or octopus kind to expensive raw salmon or shrimp dishes. The price is uniform, however, 100 yen per plate. The owner's daily operation is based on a careful analysis of information. The owner has a complete summary of demand information about the different types of sushi plates, and thus he knows exactly how many each type of sushi plate he should prepare and when. In the 100 Yen Sushi House, their tasks are tightly interrelated and everyone rushes to a problem spot to prevent the cascading effect to the problem throughout the work process. The 100 Yen Sushi House is a labor-intensive operation which is based mostly on simplicity and common sense rather than high technology, contrary to American perceptions. I asked the owner how he takes care of the sanitary problems when a sushi plate goes all day long, until an unfortunate customer eats it and perhaps gets food poisoning. He said, we never let our sushi plates go unsold longer than about 30 minutes, whenever one of our employees take a break, he or she can take off unsold plates of sushi and either eat them or

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