Yoshinoya finally installs ticket machines – a step forward or backwards for Japan?

Posted on by Japan flix

Yoshinoya – Japan’s largest fast food chain whose signature dish is the $3 gyudon, a bowl of thinly sliced, marinated beef and sauteed onions over rice – has now begun to install ticket machines in its stores.

In Japan, it is common for fast food chains to place ticket machines near the door to place orders. After the customer places his order, he finds himself a seat, the waiter collects the ticket stub, and the food is brought to his table.

Yoshinoya had held out on using ticket machines for the longest time. At Yoshinoya, you would place your order directly to the waiter behind the counter, he would deliver the food to you, and you would pay the waiter at your seat. It’s largest competitor, Matsuya, has already been using ticket machines for many years.

There are several rationales for the ticket machines. Not only is the system more efficient and sanitary, the ticket machines remove the “messy” human interaction between waiter and customer.

In Japan’s tiny restaurant spaces, serving food McDonald’s-style isn’t exactly safe – imagine customers walking around with heavy bowls of ramen looking for a seat. Counter style restaurants are common.

From the businesses’ perspective, ticket machines can remove potential staff-customer confrontations due to incorrect – impolite – use of keigo. Businesses are already fearful of interacting with customers for fear of offending them (check out the film Claimer and see for yourself).

From the customers’ perspective, limiting the amount of human interaction lowers the hurdle to entering the restaurant, particularly for the socially nervous otakus, the herbivore boys, and the tired salaryman. The counter-style arrangement already makes it easy to come into the store alone, removing the judgemental facetime with the employee makes it even easier to avoid human contact.

115: “Gyu…gyu…um…excu..gyu…gyugyu…cough…gyudo….gyudon”
119: Stammering NEETs rejoice loooooool
126: I’d rather go to Sukiya where I don’t have to ask for water, the pitcher is on the counter.

But despite the benefits to all, it can be seen as another step in the perceived sad trend of declining Japanese language abilities and the decreasing sociability of Japanese society. The fact that Yoshinoya had held onto its traditional methods for so long till now, makes the news particularly disappointing.

What do you think? Ticket machines in Yoshinoya: yay or nay?

Source: Rocket News (Japanese only)

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