CONVEYOR BELT SUSHI – Kaiten sushi
It is a dining concept that lets customers pick plates of sushi slowing moving on a conveyor belt. The idea of serving sushi this way was invented 55 years ago, it transformed the pricy and sophisticated sushi to an informal and affordable for all sushi. Over the years, the conveyor belt technology and computer technology has evolved thus carving out a fun experience in the restaurant market. Now a days, it serves more than just sushi and can be enjoyed by all groups and ages.
Everybody knows sushi, it is vinegar rice topped with a piece of seafood which can be eaten in a bite. In Japan there are 2 types of sushi restaurant, the traditional sushi bar and the conveyor belt sushi restaurant. The traditional sushi bar has you sitting in front of the chef, place the order directly to the chef and the chef makes the food in front of the customer. This type of restaurant can be very daunting as some restaurants don’t have prices for customers who have a tight budget. In contrast, the conveyor belt restaurant has moving plates in the middle of the restaurant, no making orders as the sushi comes to you, prices are indicated so you can keep track of your budget. It is fast food for people on the go, as there is no waiting time for the food to come.
Basic working of the Kaiten sushi counter.
· Counter seating for solo diners and booths for families and groups.
· No need for a waiter, no need to order. The menu rolls past the seats, you can pick and start eating
· In case, the sushi you specifically want doesn’t come by, you can order it directly through a computerized ordering system.
· The pricing is easily identified through the colour of the plate.
· The final billing is done by counting the number of plates. It is quick and easy.
If you don’t like raw fish, fret not, these restaurants also have a menu to cater to non-fish eaters. Desserts are also included. The goal is that everyone can enjoy with their varying preferences
Let’s go back to the roots and see the evolution of this now phenomenon of dining.
The beginning of sushi was salted fish packed in rice and fermented, this is the ancestor of sushi. In the 16th century pressed fish with vinegar rice appeared and in 19th century, the hand fold sushi (nigiri) which is what is seen now. Eventually from store fast food, it became a gourmet cuisine made by skilled chefs with the finest ingredients which made it expensive for most people. In 1947 , there was an initiative to make sushi affordable again by Yoshiaki Shiraishi, an entrepreneur. The beginning was a stand up sushi bar, which was inexpensive and was a hit. He wanted to make the operations more efficient to feed more customers. When he visited a beer bottling plant, he had a flash of inspiration. Beer bottles passed swiftly through a conveyor belt, he wondered if sushi also could be passed in the same way. One problem encountered was that the belt couldn’t handle corners well, hence came rounded corner for the belt with round plates rather than rectangular plates.
After 10 years, the first kaiten sushi restaurant was opened. Another problem encountered was there was not enough sushi chefs for the new restaurants and the increasing demand, this was resolved through a food processing machine, the world’s first sushi robot. Rice could now be shaped like that of an expert. High quality for low price Full-fledged chains were established. These robots have evolved for quick and faster production.
Like this the conveyor belt system is also used for various other processes to make working efficient. From manufacturing industry to the restaurant industry, the conveyor belt system has proved its fast paced, efficient working system. The Osaka technology expo is the place to visit to see new inventions and improvements in technology in Japan. If you can visit this expo, do make the most of it.