No chairs at Ikinari Steak, a Japanese steakhouse chain where customers eat standing up. As Fred Katayama reports, the restaurant counts on fast turnover to make money.
These carnivores who stood in line to get into this steakhouse will keep standing when they get in. No chairs at Ikinari Steak, a Japanese steakhouse chain that debuted in New York City last week. Customers eat standing up. That way, Ikinari can sell more steaks and make more money by serving more customers. And it hopes to get them in and out in 30 minutes. No appetizers like creamed spinach on this one-page menu; no desserts or coffee either. No incentives to stick around. Customers like Jacob Navok and his wife Chihiro go first to the butcher station, order from one of three cuts - ribeye, sirloin and fillet - then choose how many ounces they want. The scale tells them this 5 ounce sirloin will cost $19 (USD). SOUNDBITE: JACOB NAVOK, CUSTOMER (ENGLISH) SAYING: "It's morning. I didn't want too big of a cut so it's something a little bit less. I'm very happy with that." Eli Kies got a chuck eye steak, salad, soup and rice. The cost was $20 (USD). SOUNDBITE: ELI KIES, CUSTOMER (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I think it's a really good experience because I can burn calories as I eat, right. I'm standing up. Keep good posture. And eating some protein, so not bad." To make money, the restaurant must pull in 200 customers a day. Founder Kunio Ichinose plans to create a stand-up culture. SOUNDBITE: KUNIO ICHINOSE, FOUNDER, IKINARI STEAK (JAPANESE WITH ENGLISH TRANSLATION) SAYING: "When I thought about opening a steakhouse in America, a lot of people told me, 'America has no culture of people eating steak while they're standing. I know that. It was the same situation in Japan. It succeeded in Japan, so it's sure to succeed in America." Launched in 2013, Ikinari now has 100 locations in Japan. Ichinose is ambitious. He intends to open 10 locations in New York this year. And he aims to list his company on the Nasdaq in three years. That's no bull.