When we have just started Izakaya business, we started the in-house poultry farm as well. With this farming, we successfully halfed price of our JIDORI chicken (free-range local traditional pedigree chicken). Farming has differentiated our business from others because it isn’t easy to simulate by others. At the same time, it also gave us the opportunity to learn the reality of primary industries.
We started our in-house farming with four farming families4 years later in 2008, our farming families has increased up to thirteen families in total. One of the farmer decided not to continue his kumquat farming career with his grandfather. He was considering of working in Tokyo because farming could not provide enough money for him to live.
Fortunately, we were able to meet this man. Since the day we demanded the increase in production of our JIDORI chicken, we asked him to invest one block of his farm to raise chicken. Now he earns over three times more than he did farming kumquats. It is a serious bottleneck that many of the successors of farming do not succeed their farm. In reality, farmers do not deny it because they dislike farming, however, they do not have a choice of succeeding, because there are no ways of earning enough money. The in-house farming made us recognize this truth.
By in-house poultry farming, contracted farmers and the establishment of our own processing planet, we created jobs for 80 people in Nichinan, Miyazaki. We made the new employment in field of primary industries while we are doing the restaurant business. This accomplishment made us think in the new way, and we thought maybe people like us, who are closest to the customers or consumers, will revitalize the dispirited primary industries in Japan.
The direct connection between farmers and consumers will change the Japanese food culture. Therefore, people who are closest to consumers have to understand the spirit, the feeling, and the reality of farmers and should become the mediator between the producers and the consumers.
Now, we require all employees to visit our in-house poultry farm in Nichinan, Miyazaki as one of their training program. It is necessary for all of our members to see how our JIDORI is raised and how they are turned into the meat. This experience will deepen their knowledge about the product that we are providing; moreover, it will be a very good opportunity to learn the importance of life.
In Nichinan farm, employees will see the process of raising cute little chicks to big roosters, and they will also see the moment that those roosters turn into tender pieces of chicken meat. None of the chicken will be wasted and we promise to provide our dishes with highest quality. Also, the producers never got to know how their chickens or other products were sold and consumed before. But now, the direct connection made it possible for producers to see the consumption of their product. Coming to Tokyo and visiting our restaurant, they could see the actual faces of the customers, and that will motivate the farmers. Isn’t this the real nature of the food industry?
Not only the sales or the profit, but the secondary effect created by one’s business is more important. I believe that all the business could not last long if there are no impact of that business to the world, or without the reason why the company is existing. Do not work for money, work for business itself. Then people would find the meaning or importance in the job and that motivation can cheers them up. In order to work with a sense of mission, the environment that makes people clearly come to feel that their job is essential to the world is necessary.
In today’s business depression, I feel that the world is starved of “the new value”. We need to come up with a new system to accomplish our corporate philosophy: to pursue what food should be. Not to persist in the category of restaurant business, we reconsider “the form of meal” from all aspects including the productive industry, processing industry, distributive industry, and retail business. The upstream sector goes downstream, and downstream sector goes upstream. I am sure of that now, the consumers demand this efficient form in food business.
The system and the expression, not even one could be missing to make the profound brand. If one is missing, it will end up with either superficial performance or not being able to make people understand. The reasons for deliciousness, inexpensiveness, and the freshness should be very clear to all the customers. The Brand is nice and the simple promise between the customers keep us essential to the society for a long time. With the original thinking, we want to involve more and more in primary and secondary industries. We would contemplate the fusion of each industrial step, and we will work on our other corporate philosophy: the Closer relationship between producers and consumers. We look for the profound branding that has both system and expression. Now, there are still many hidden foods all over Japan. The excavation, branding, and the mass consumption on those hidden foods are one of our goals because we believe that this is the reason why people need us.