I think that is a very good point. One thing about Mitsui is that all meals contain more than 7 courses, some even up to 10, each with a very small portion, and there is no “main course”. This definitely minimizes the importance of being able to choose what to eat as long as the dietary constraint is communicated to the chief. It also depends on the customer’s expectation. If customer walks in expecting Japanese food in general, they wouldn’t care if it’s salmon or halibut. So I would say it can be applied to other cuisines if they also adopt a multiple-courses small-portion model, and handle the customer expectation well.
If you are ever in Taiwan, you definitely have to try it. It’s soooooooo good!!!
I think to minimize the fluctuation of order turnover time, Mitsui standardizes the “type” of dish they would serve even though the exact ingredient of that dish varies day by day. For example, they would always serve sashimi for first course. They might use salmon for one day and tuna for the other, but the overall preparation for sashimi will not vary too much because the process of preparing different types of sashimi is similar. In terms of scalability, vertical integration of supply chain and central kitchen would definitely help as they expand. But I would say it’s less scalable on a store-by-store level because they try to keep each and every store unique, and the stores have to handle the complexity of customization. But it’s also their core strategy to prioritize uniqueness over scale, and that is the trade-off that they are willing to make.
I loved going to Costco with my family, but now I can’t go anymore because I don’t have a car here. This is a great alternative solution for me. I do wonder though, how easy it is for Costco to enter e-commerce market and how would Boxed compete with it? Since Costco already have warehouse in great locations that enables fast shipping and limited product line with high productivity that optimize space, all they have to do is invest in delivery (or outsource it) and technology to play in e-commerce.
Great post!! Thank for sharing this interesting case! This definitely reminded me of how people in Taipei used to stand in line for 5 hours just to get a freshly baked Krispy Kreme donut. I agree that the retail and wholesale model cannot exist at the same time, and that choosing retail model resonates more with consumer behavior. Do you think the current poor performance of Krispy Kreme is the short term loss they have to take in order to shift to the right strategy though?
Great post!! Very interesting business model and a great case study!! I’m curious about the relative size of price for “cuts & color” vs “washing & styling” as the latter usually have a higher demand but a lower ticket size. Is the market big enough for sustainable growth outside of metropolitan cities? I’m also very interested in how their own hair product line fits into the core business when it generates higher margin vs their core service. Would it just become the core business in the future? And would the stylists selling the products have negative impact on the perception of service?