(Source: Inside Retail Philippines | 28 October 2016)
Two families with a shared love for Japanese food have launched the Yayoi Philippines brand in Metro Manila.
In SM Megamall, the first Yayoi Japanese Teishoku Restaurant takes a modern approach, breaking away from the traditional shoji screen and tatami mat of most Japanese restaurants in the Philippines.
“We have always been passionate about food,” says Yvonne Yao, who shares Yayoi Philippines MD duties with siblings John and Jacqueline Gobing.
Also in a break from traditional menus, Yayoi diners scroll through options on an iPad mounted at eye level by the table. They can key in their orders, which are then brought to the table.
The menu comprises teishoku (set meals) with rice, pickles and a choice of soup. Options include Namban (fried chicken steak in sweet sauce), Teriyaki Chicken, Niku Yasai Itame (stirfried vegetables with sliced pork), Mix Toji (breaded pork loin, fried shrimp and sukiyaki beef) and tonkatsu (fried pork loin). There is also seafood – teishoku such as grilled or salted mackerel, or grilled eel, Nagoya style.
“Our families always go to Japan, we love it there,” says Yao. “We tried Yayoi in Fukuoka and immediately wanted to bring it to the Philippines. The food was fast, fresh and authentic, plus we liked the iPad ordering system.”
However, it took a couple of years to convince the restaurant’s parent, Plenus Company, to partner with the Yao and Gobing families.
In the food business since 1980, Plenus has about 3000 restaurants. It opened its first restaurant outside Japan in Thailand 10 years ago and now has nearly 600 restaurants internationally.
Most of the items at Yayoi are imported, from the beef and prawns to the plates and serving bowls. The vegetables, eggs, chicken and pork are sourced locally.
Plenus president Tatsuo Shioi says the decision to open in the Philippines came after seeing some of the city’s shopping malls and markets.