Japan's sushi chains want bigger bite of overseas markets

Nikkei -- Jan 04
TOKYO, Jan 04 (Nikkei) - Japan's conveyor-belt sushi chains are accelerating their expansion overseas, with some restaurants growing faster abroad than domestically thanks to easing coronavirus restrictions and higher expectations for market growth.

Food & Life Companies, which operates Sushiro, the top conveyor-belt sushi chain in Japan, plans to open 50 to 60 shops overseas during the year ending in September. The chain intends to launch 18 to 22 in Japan over the same period, the first time that foreign openings will exceed domestic ones.

The company's overseas network reached 100 outlets last month, or about 15% of its approximately 630 domestic shops.

Kura Sushi, Japan's second-ranked conveyor-belt sushi chain, expects to debut its first eatery in mainland China this year.

"We are opening locations at a fast pace, with a goal of 100 shops in China within 10 years," said Hiroyuki Okamoto, a director at Kura Sushi.

The company also plans to expand its network in the U.S. and other countries, increasing the number of shops abroad to 400 from about 90 by 2030. This would lift Kura Sushi's ratio of overseas locations to 40% of all shops, up from about 20%. ...continue reading

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