However, it seems that there is a lack of cohesion between the country and local government authorities — and the situation in the restaurant and food service sector is growing dire.
In addition,It would be difficult for our voices to be heard as the scale of the pandemic is nationwide. Therefore, we would humbly like to address this petition to the Tokyo Governor, Yuriko Koike.
We are an organization of izakaya’s, ramen shops, Japanese, French, Italian, and Chinese restaurants, yakitori stores, and numerous others. Many of us across the country have voiced concern over this issue and we all concur. Our voices have to be heard, not only in Tokyo but nationwide; We need to join forces to save the industry from devastation.
The guidelines set under the state of emergency — such as the self-imposed temporary closure of businesses — have been set into place despite having no appropriate or substantial support catered for each business.
Yes, the government has indeed offered a form of subsidy for all restaurants, bars, and izakayas in Tokyo; however, the subsidy value is fixed, and not catered to the needs of each type of business. Be it the scale or the location, every business is different; the subsidy offered does not consider these important factors.
As a Japanese citizen and residents of Tokyo, we do our best to abide by the guidelines set into place for the safety of everyone and to prevent further outspread of the Virus. However, as restaurant business owners, who has to endure and bear the consequences of closing our restaurants, we cannot help but have feel a sense of injustice. Without any substantial support or consolidated solution for those paying rents, the guidelines for self-imposed temporary closure was set into place.
Tokyo turned into an international community to meet the inbound demand, however, that demand dropped drastically overnight. With no sure way to make profits and no light to the end of this tunnel, restaurants will be forced to close its doors. Even with minimum wage, it is said that 75,353 stores and 905,854 people in the restaurant industry of Tokyo, including independent businesses and chains are economically threatened by this virus.
At this rate, we risk losing everything we have built, the very thing that has made us unique — our food culture. The Japanese food culture has gained global attention over the years; one of the major attractions for the 2021 Olympic games, will definitely be the restaurants. We need to protect the restaurants to protect our food culture.
There are 38,645 independent businesses and 36,708 chains in Tokyo; based on just the total number of food and beverage establishments, 94.7% are independent (privately-owned businesses). Although the restaurant industry is said to make a comeback from here on, if the restaurant industry continues to face collapse, it would be very difficult for the bulk of food and beverage establishments such as privately-owned and small-sized businesses to make a comeback.
The restaurant industry is clinging on for dear life as we speak, we have to act now. Take this opportunity to save and support the future of restaurants in Japan before it is too late.
1.Minimally 80% subsidization of rental costs for restaurant businesses
2.Minimally 85% subsidisation of labour costs for restaurant businesses
And Simplify the administrative process for subsidy and support applications.
The battle against COVID-19 is said to last a “very long time”; the fate of the restaurant industry remains uncertain. There is a limit to how long we can all continue like this. When can we reopen? Can we slowly start reopening now? How long more do we have to endure this situation? Many of our questions go unanswered.
According to certain calculations, it is said that the US foodservice industry is set to lose 24.5 trillion yen if lockdown continues for several months; 75% of privately-owned businesses are expected to close its doors. Let us apply that calculation to Tokyo; assuming several businesses were to make a total loss of 40%, based on calculations, 29,000 privately-owned businesses and 14,683 operating chains will be expected to close its doors. The number of unemployment in privately-owned businesses and chains will reach a total of 409,660; more than 48.1% of food and beverage establishments in Tokyo will vanish. These values mentioned are just based on assumptions; however, in reality, the situation is deteriorating very quickly.
Furthermore, with the restaurant industry coming to a halt, the food supply chain in Japan is also threatened; the agricultural, fishing, livestock, dairy industries are all greatly affected. For these industries to make a comeback as soon as possible, we urge you to listen and help immediately. Give restaurants the appropriate rent and wage subsidies.
Given the high fixed costs and low-profit margins of the industry, the drastic declines in sales mean a major hit to profits; even so, there are still bills that have to be paid. For years, chefs, servers, bartenders, and restaurant owners have contributed to our communities, providing food and hospitality services. Now, we need help from our communities and the government.
If we do not act fast enough, the reputation that we have painstakingly built and all that we have worked for over the years may be destroyed overnight. We need all the help we can get. Together, we can support each other and make our voices heard.
While we have begun the project in Tokyo, we hope to expand this effort across the country. Support the future of restaurants in Japan. Keep the spirit of Japanese food culture alive.
We seek your understanding and consideration for this cause. With your commitment and action, we can save and secure the better future for the restaurant industries of Tokyo and Japan.
Association for Futurity of the Restaurant Industry
Representative and Founder
HAL YAMASHITA Tokyo Owner Chef
Minken Kigyō Kabushiki Gaisha
Representative Director and President,
Yūgen Gaisha Head Rock Planning
Kabushiki Gaisha Materiesu
Kabushiki Gaisha Alchecciano
Kabushiki Gaisha Signal
Kabushiki Gaisha La Rochelle
Yūgen Gaisha Kobe
Yūgen Gaisha Piatto Suzuki
Yūgen Gaisha Tsuyama
Spirits & Sharing Kabushiki Gaisha
Kabushiki Gaisha Kafuka
Representative Director and President,
Kabushiki Gaisha Menya Musashi
Kabushiki Gaisha ZIG L’ESSOR