The goal of the management of SUSHIRO and Unison was to make SUSHIRO the leading player in the revolving sushi restaurant industry, targeting ￥100 billion in sales.
A new management team was formed bringing together existing operation professionals who have deep understanding of sushi and store operation and managerial talent recruited by Unison. In addition, SUSHIRO leveraged external resources to adopt best-practices. The combined efforts transformed the company into an organization with ability to plan strategically and execute effectively.
SUSHIRO then shifted its focus to rebranding. Due to its confidence in its product quality, SUSHIRO had only relied on naturally occurring word of mouth and simple leaflets. As a result, the brand awareness of SUSHIRO had been limited. There was also significant room for improvement in the store design as well as the service quality of store staff. SUSHIRO initiated its branding strategy in 2009, starting with the development of the credo “Tasty Sushi for All.“ which became a slogan central to SUSHIRO’s marketing strategy. Stores were also renovated at the same time. To deliver on customer satisfaction, the satisfaction of employees had to come first; to this end, employee support programs such as benefits, training programs, and compensation levels were revisited.
Growth of the company accelerated on the back of solid foundation that was built. In Japan, SUSHIRO accelerated new store openings by not only relying on the intuition of store development team but also leveraging the power of data. SUSHIRO also extended its presence aboard, opening a store in South Korea in 2011 by working with a local partner.
While the company underwent dramatic transformation, some things were left unchanged: SUSHIRO’s commitment to sushi quality as reflected in the higher than industry average cost of goods sold; chef’s pride in preparing great sushi forgoing the use of central food preparation facilities; and corporate culture of always putting customers first. While pursuing growth, Unison preserved SUSHIRO’s culture and values which were core to the company’s competitive advantage.