STORY BEHIND THE SUCCESS
Masahiro Fujio, President FUJIO FOOD SYSTEM CO., LTD.
who is currently operating 819 food chains, told us the story behind his success.
■ The root of business
I grew up as the youngest child of four brothers under my parents who managed a local eatery in a shopping street of Tenma, Osaka.
I helped the eatery since I was a kid while watching the backs of my parents. They worked early in the morning until late at night.
In such an environment, I learned how to make Japanese foods from the cooks and waitress who worked together and was able to make hand-formed sushi in the days of the upper grades of the elementary school.
On the other hand, I felt lonely as my parents were always busy and could not take care of me.
At the time, I did not really like the eatery that became the starting point of my current business though.
■ Directly operated chains
After graduated from a university, I independently opened my own restaurant when I was 24 years old.In order to find a property, I went around almost a hundred prospering restaurants all over the country. The start of my business was a cool ＇kitchen bar＇ style, which was a hit. I ran 40 restaurants when I was 32 years old meanwhile I had a lot of debts, but I was not afraid.
As you know, the location is the most important for any restaurant. While I was watching a lot of locations, such as a 100 sqm with a wide storefront and L-shaped property with a 180-cm storefront, I noticed that ＂the business style must fit the location＂. It is a way of thinking to choose a business style according to the location.
■ Turning point
I faced a big turning point when my seasoned, artisanal and tough father died that was after about 7 years of my independence. Since then, my mother was in deep sorrow and lost her cheerful smile with a sinceregreeting of saying “thanks always”. I wanted to regain her freshness and smile and made up my mind to present an eatery that reminds her of the old days. That was “Morimachi Shokudo”, the first “Maido-okini Shokudo (thanks always eatery).I aimed for an eatery showing the name of local place, serving mother’s taste and offering a joyful working place for local women over 40 years old.
When I was 40 years, I had 100 directory operated chains but I could not break the barrier of expanding more.
At that time, I was promoting business with only my sensitivity.
One day, I joined a study meeting and found out a management style from a business person younger than me.
It is a strategic dominant system, that is, planned and organized management.
It is a funny pride but I had more mistakes in many sites than anyone else. However the failures led to the practical know-hows such as the flow of work and all of them have been connected to my present operation.
■ Overseas development
Now you can find many Japanese foods around the world, but there was no decent and yet expensive a decade ago.
At a set meal shop which was in Hawaii before, I was surprised to see customers eating rice with a rice paddle.
They did not know that it is for serving rice in a rice bowl.
We needed to show them how to use it. Thus the style of ordinary Japanese cuisine was not yet popular.
Does everyone in Japan eat sushi or tempura every day?
I wanted to deliver the everyday Japanese foods, namely home cooking plates by Japanese mothers but not special dishes by chefs.
I launched the first “Maido-okini Shokudo” overseas in Shanghai in 2006.
As for overseas expansion, there is country risk. Making up shop, laws and others are different here. For overseas deployment, I recommend to start from a shopping center or mall where almost everything is defined.
■ Future overseas development
In addition to ＂Maido-okini Shokudo＂ of Japanese home cooking and ＂Kushiya Monogatari＂of kushi-katsu buffet, which have been already expanded overseas, ＂Ebinoya＂ of tempura and ＂Sachifukuya＂ of kamameshi will be also have potentialities in other countries.
I think overseas development should be steadily but hurry up.
For me, meeting with a goodbusiness partner will be an association as endless partner.
This is the same for overseas. Our expanding goal is unlimited and endless.
After finishing the interview
I knew and was surprised that the calligraphy-brush name-boards of each “Maido-Okini Shokudo” were written by President Fujio. I was impressed his drawings with soft, warm and impassioned letters one by one from the bottom of the heart His gaze is earnest and severe but also full of gentleness and he is really dandy.I feel a charismatic nature that attracts not only Japanese but also foreign people through his stance for food and cooking.
In the office, there are impressive calligraphy-brush posters drawn as “intelligent and humility”, “not to lose”, “breakthrough power”.The wide guest room with spacious views where I interviewed is coordinated in modern design and equipped with a nice bar counter. It is a man’s aesthetic itself.
Lastly, he taught me his motto “remember someone’s kindness and forgive and forget someone’s enmity”.
1979 Foundation First independent restaurant, the Escale Kitchen and Bar, opens
1988 Morimachi Shokudo, the first Maido Ookini Shokudo restaurant, opens
2000 2nd Kushiya Monogatari, Navio store, opens in Umeda
2002 Listed on the Hercules market (now it is JASDAQ) at Osaka Securities Exchange
2006 First overseas store opens in Shanghai.The total number of restaurants reaches 600
2008 First Hawaii restaurant opens
2011 Established a subsidiary company, Fujio Food System Singapore PTE.LTD in Singapore
2012 Established Honolulu Coffee Japan Co., Ltd
2013 Established Birakushoku food and drink Management Co., Ltd.＂ as a joint venture in Taiwan
2014 Established ＂MBK Food system CO., LTD＂ as a joint venture in Thailand
2015 Established ＂PT.MSP＂ as a joint venture company in Indonesia