High Quality Ingredients at a Reasonable Price
The biggest differentiation of Mitsui vs its competition is the quality of the ingredients they use in their dishes. Mitsui sources the highest quality ingredients directly from production site and delivers it fresh to the restaurant. The chefs use very simple seasonings to bring out the flavor of the fresh and all-natural seafood. You can taste the sweetness and silken texture of a scallop sashimi that only exists in its freshest state. While the average spend per meal is around US$ 6 in Taiwan, Mitsui’s multi-course meal ranges from US$40 – US$ 130. But people still find the meal fairly priced as they would need to pay at least double the price at other restaurants for the same quality. Moreover, the price of a meal is set such that it is no more than double its cost, to make sure the restaurant delivers a fair value to the customer.
Menu-Less Seasonal Craze
In Mitsui, there is no menu. It has been serving its diners an ever-changing seasonal meal using the freshest ingredients available on that day. Customers choose a price level and explain any dietary restrictions, the rest is in the chef’s capable hands. Mitsui leverages its menu-less flexibility and seasonal ingredients to create the best meal possible, and customers receive the surprise of finding out what they are going to have only when the meal is served.
Unique and Differentiated Branch
Mitsui is extremely selective in expanding its branches- the number of stores are limited and every single restaurant has its unique theme. Its seven branches include an art-inspired Japanese cuisine, a standing sushi bar in a wholesale fish market, and an ancient Kyoto style cuisine. To bring the consumer an extraordinary experience, Mitsui has a dedicated Creative Director who is in charge of creating an integrated dining experience from dining ware to the interior design of the restaurant.
|Art Inspired Japanese Cuisine
|Wholesale Fish Market
|Standing Sushi Bar
To get highest quality fresh ingredients with the fastest delivery at the lowest cost, Mitsui entered the wholesale market to work directly with production suppliers around the world. Sourcing sites include Japan, Russia, Norway, and USA. Mitsui’s wholesale market not only supplies its restaurants, but also provides an alternative for urban consumers to purchase fresh seafood.
To emphasize freshness in his restaurants, Huang invented the “served by ingredient” model where there is no standard menu for the meals served. Instead, Chefs prepare food based on current pantry stock, which is usually made up of seasonal offerings. This lowers inventor and increases asset turnover.
Innovation Center & Quality Control
Mitsui invested USD 3.5 Million on an Innovation Center. It is the central kitchen of Mitsui’s restaurants where new recipes are developed. When entering the center, employees have to wear isolation gowns and boots, pass through a 360-degree high speed fan, and stand under sterilizing ultraviolet light. Food preparation processes are separated in different processing zones including raw material, cold food, hot food, dessert shop, and freezer zone. Employees working in each zone wear uniforms of different colors and are prohibited to move across zones to prevent food contamination. All deliveries are weighed to ensure that the portions are consistent. The chefs take samples from each dish so that they can track the source of any quality issues. Every process strictly follows the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) system.
The Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system links the frontline operation with the back office. It is the best-in-class across the industry that effectively reduces operation errors and reduces cost.