Japanese Businesses Find Innovative Ways to Keep Going Amid Crisis

From drive-thrus and deliveries, to online ordering and tutorials, businesses in Japan are coming up with fresh and innovative ways to keep their operations running

innovative bakeries
A baker baking bread
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With a state of emergency in place and people in Japan being advised to stay at home to prevent the spread of COVID-19, businesses all over the country are feeling the impact of declining customer numbers and reduced sales.

In an attempt to overcome the current difficulties, some businesses have come up with new and innovative ways to help them weather the coronavirus crisis.

Drive-thru service for butchers and restaurants

Butchers and restaurants in Aichi Prefecture have come up with a new and safer method of selling their products as people are being advised to avoid public spaces. The new model is the drive-thru.

Toriichi Seinikuten, a butchers in Toyohashi, pioneered his drive-thru service last week, selling frozen meat products to 60 customers in the first hour. The aim of the drive-thru is to help producers in the Higashimikawa region who have experienced a severe decline in orders following restaurant closures.

Elsewhere, in Tokyo Stadium the novel ‘Stay in the Car Marche’, was held in a parking lot on Sunday with 11 local stores offering drive-thru meals and drinks for people to enjoy in the comfort of their own cars.

The event was organised by a group of volunteers to support restaurants suffering financially under the current state of emergency. Some 270 cars visited the market, where they had to order online then drive to the booths to pay and collect their food.

Mr. Brothers Cut Club has launched a “telecut” service, where its barbers will provide customers with live instructions on cutting their own hair

Artisan bakeries taking online orders

A number of popular artisan bakeries around the country have also been coming up with new ways to continue providing bread and cakes to their customers.

Bricolage & Bread Co. was forced to close its kitchen and dining areas as a result of the COVID-19 restrictions. However, Chef Shinobu Namae, who oversees the operation, claims that the bakery is now busier than ever due to the increase in demand from customers making online orders.

In the coastal town of Oiso in Kanagawa Prefecture, Lee Utsumi’s bakery started taking online orders once a week for mixed packages of her baked goods which can be delivered right to your front door.

To reduce the amount of people visiting its store, Scandinavian bakery, Vaner has also set up an online order system. It has established three pick-up locations for the bread so that people don’t have to travel to the slightly out-of-the-way bakery in the Yanaka district of Tokyo.

Innovative haircut tutorials via videocall

Mr. Brothers Cut Club, has launched a “telecut” service, where its barbers will provide customers with live instructions on cutting their own hair via video-conferencing app, Zoom.

Customers will have to gather the necessary tools for the task themselves, including scissors, clippers, a garbage bag and a portable mirror. There are two services available — one for parents looking to cut their children’s hair, and the other is for adults who want to cut their own hair.

The service is provided free of charge, but, while Mr. Brothers are providing the tutorials to help customers, they admit that they “can’t really guarantee that customers can get the perfect, high-quality haircut they would look for at barbershops.”

Have you noticed any innovative measures businesses in your area have used to adapt to the coronavirus crisis? Let us know in the comments.

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Written by Catherine McGuinness

Writer and Journalist with a love for all things Japan.

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