Kura Sushi, a popular Japanese conveyor belt sushi chain, has begun introducing “zero contact” stores across Japan. This restaurant will feature a completely digitized service, allowing customers to visit, eat, and leave the store without having to talk to anyone directly. In a typical visit to Kura Sushi, customers may be required to interact with staff up to four times. However, each process can now be performed through a screen. When entering, customers will be greeted by a digital guide and interact with a self-guided screen that will direct them to their seats. This process will not require any touch from customers, reducing the risk of spreading disease. The screen will utilize motion sensor technology to read finger movements near the screen.
Upon reaching their seat, customers will be able to order their sushi from their phones. This is done by scanning a QR code that pulls up a menu site. Up to six phones can be used per table, allowing individuals to order their plates at their own pace.
Once you finish eating, you can check out and pay by yourself as well. While staff normally come by to count the number of sushi plates, the need for that has also been eliminated. A camera will keep track of the number of plates coming to your table and record the information on a barcode that can be used at the self-checkout area. The payment screen will also be touch-free.
This first “no contact” Kura Sushi in the Kansai region is scheduled to open in Dotonburi, the tourist section of Osaka. Kura Sushi is expecting the store to help do its part in revitalizing the Kansai region’s economy, which has been hit particularly hard due to the Corona virus and a lack of tourism.
The Future of Kura Restaurants
According to a spokesperson of Kura Sushi,
With the implementation of this system, the ‘smart Kura restaurant’ format will become the standard for future stores to accommodate new lifestyles.
Despite a large loss of business due to Corona virus, thanks to the innovative measurements of Kura restaurants (and a successful “Demon Slayer” collaboration campaign), the chain has managed to regain some of its lost revenue. As “Smart Kura Restaurants” continue to become more and more implemented across the country, it can hopefully serve as a model to other businesses struggling in this Corona rut.
Christian Dakin is an editor, designer, and video game director currently based out of Tokyo, Japan. Originally from a small town in Georgia, he studied in Japan for a year in college before returning again for work. Christian enjoys studying Japanese and the outdoors. In his off time, he is most likely to be found adventuring to a castle, belting it out in karaoke with friends, or in a gym somewhere.