Shabu-shabu restaurants booming with American proteins
Two popular Japanese shabu-shabu restaurants are finding success this fall by featuring U.S. beef for their hot pot promotions.
The prominent family-style restaurant chain, operated by Sato Restaurant Systems, annually consumes more than 1.1 million pounds of U.S. beef, and this month it started the American Beef Sato-shabu Premium Fair at its 196 outlets. During this single promotion, the chain expects to sell more than 100,000 meals using U.S. chuck eye roll.
“Sato Restaurant Systems is actively promoting U.S. beef and putting the 'We Care' logo on its TV commercials as well as menu books, posters and point-of-purchase materials,” said Takemichi Yamashoji, senior marketing director for the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF)-Japan, which contracts to manage foreign marketing programs for the beef checkoff. USMEF is leveraging beef checkoff investments and the USDA Market Access Program (MAP) to help support the promotion.
Hot pot, or shabu-shabu, is a popular winter menu choice at Japanese homes as well as family-style restaurants, but family restaurant chains have begun featuring hot pot menus throughout the year as consumer demand has increased.
“As other foodservice companies are seeing the success of Sato Restaurant Systems, which doubled its usage of U.S. beef in 2009, we are receiving more inquiries on conducting hot pot promotions all year round,” Yamashoji said.
Another major Japanese foodservice company, Wonder Table, which operates several restaurant chains, made the decision to shift from Australian beef to U.S. beef after participating in a USMEF trade team that visited the United States in May. Nabezo, a shabu-shabu and hot pot restaurant chain operated by Wonder Table, is now conducting an “American Beef Fair” at its 35 outlets. The chain expects to sell in excess of 66,000 pounds of U.S. beef during the promotion.
Visit MyBeefCheckoff.com for more information about checkoff investment in foreign marketing.