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For Japanese reader

  • Lead Runner Interview

  • Lead Runner Interview

    • Chibo Co., Ltd.

      Senior Managing Director

      Kanji NAKAI

  • Chibo Co., Ltd.

    Osaka is a centre of commerce in Japan, and since the rice produced in various places were collected in the Edo period, it has been called "The Kitchen of the Nation". Great taste, high nutritional value and the enjoyment of meals surrounding steel plates. Okonomiyaki contains all the elements to enjoy meals. We think that Chibo's mission is to deliver this wonderful cuisine to the people of the world. We keep on our efforts day and night for the enlightenment and further development of okonomiyaki not only in Japan but also overseas.

Current status of CHIBO okonomiyaki shops in Japan

  • Currently we develop 59 shops (29 FCs, 30 directly operated shops) in Japan.

    Regarding FC, goodwill division FC is mostly and there are many cases where former employees of our company are going back to their locals and opening shops.

    Currently 8 shops are operated by outside owners, but only partner shops who can sympathize with CHIBO’s philosophy and “CHIBOism” are participated. We are not thinking about increasing partner shops to blindfolds now.

    As a characteristic of the CHIBO’s FC shop, unlike general FC, interior decoration, menus, prices are different for each shop. Because of our concept of “a shop loved by locals”, prices and menus are adapted with the region. We have opened shops based on the philosophy of our president “Adhere to things that no one cares about”.

Differences in Language Walls, Culture and Customs

  • I felt a difficulty in another country to convey detailed nuances. For example, in Japanese there is a word “maroyaka (similar to ‘mellow’ in English)”, but there is no exactly suitable word in English.  I mean that it is difficult to convey detailed instructions.

    Differences in cultures and customs will of course affect business. In foreign countries, there is a tendency to prioritize events with families, relatives, friends, and lovers above all else. There is no point in trying to impose customs in Japan, for example, there is a tendency to privately use mobile phones at work and eat snacks during work. At any restaurant, Japanese staff provides local guidance at first, but as the leader leaves, the colour of the shop changes often drastically as the leader leaves. To prevent this, we have a Japanese staff permanently stationed, thoroughly providing technical guidance and customer service guidance. It is often that customers are pleased with Japanese people just standing at the counter, taking videos with smartphones, and being spread by SNS.

    In Vietnam there are abundant menus other than Okonomiyaki, and in Thailand we mainly serve Yakisoba and Teppanyaki. Menus and prices are naturally localized for each country.

    The most merit of expanding overseas is to improve the brand image of CHIBO in the worldwide Japanese food boom and to expand the “okonomiyaki” culture and Osaka culture to the people all over the world.

Toward attractive foreign market and future

  • We are paying attention to Taiwan, North America, and Middle East. Particularly Taiwan is regarded as the most important base, since there are many sympathizers of Japan, and overwhelmingly number of repeating visitors from Taiwan to Japan, thus we pay attention as not only shop but also as a sales market for frozen okonomiyaki. As for as the North American market, we opened a shop in New York in the past and retreated early, so I want to revenge somehow.
    Currently we deploy in Hawaii (one directly operated shop), Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines (3 FC shops) In the future, I would like to aggressively develop shops mainly in Asia and elsewhere. In June of this year, the Conrad Manila shop opened in Philippines. Since the sales are steady, we plan to open 2nd and 3rd shops in next year. Now we are also in negotiations for opening shops in Taiwan, Malaysia and Thailand and target 20 shops in 10 years. In the near future, we plan to make overseas bases for producing/selling PB products and a base of shop management operation. I would like to consistently carry out transportation and sale of frozen okonomiyaki for overseas.
    Overseas deployment is also basically leading to inner branding of raising motivation of our employees Ideally it is necessary to create an environment where employees of CHIBO can travel and work all over the world. It is my dream that international students who came to Japan work part-time at CHIBO and become our employees then return to their home countries someday to become an owner of our FC.

  • Kanji NAKAI

    Born in Osaka Prefecture in 1976. 2000 After graduating from Keio University (Faculty of Economics), joined Nomura Securities Co., Ltd.2014 Joined CHIBO Co., Ltd. by taking over his father's business from his brother's death and took over the position of senior managing director.While engaging in the management of food business, he works in prevention of repeated offenses by conducting interview and lecture activities for improvement and rehabilitation of inmates as an interviewing committee member. Osaka Restaurant Management Association, permanent board member.