The certification program of Japanese Food and Ingredient Supporter Stores Overseas
Interview of Suppoter StoresYasuda
The First Designated Restaurant to Serve Kobe Beef in Bangkok
Offers Meat Dishes for Festive Occasions
Bangkok / Thailand
Yasuda expands the sales of their own-branded Japanese Black beef
The restaurant “Yasuda” is located in a quiet residential area, about a 10-minute walk from Thong Lo BTS Station. It opened in 2015 and offers Kobe beef dishes and creative cuisine. Its parent company is Ondoru group, which runs four grilled meat (yakiniku) restaurants in Fukuoka prefecture. The restaurant’s concept is “a restaurant specialized in meat dishes for festive occasions.” It is the first designated restaurant to serve Kobe beef in Bangkok,
which has met strict standards set by the Kobe Beef Marketing and Distribution Promotion Association. Their signature dishes use Kobe beef and Tokyo Black Beef Japan. “Tokyo Black Beef Japan is a brand we created based on Ondoru group’s own standard, from Japanese Black that have had a significant improvement in quality and are from various origins including Miyazaki prefecture. To appeal the quality of Japanese Black beef abroad, we thought it would be better to promote the brand with a unified voice of producers in Japan,” says Mr. Tetsuhide Yasuda, the managing director. The restaurant’s main menu includes various dishes of about 100 kinds and their lunch menu includes dishes of 22 kinds. Kobe beef and Tokyo Black Beef Japan that are used in most dishes as well as the seasonings such as soy sauce and other sauces are from Japan, while other ingredients are from Thailand.
The steak dish prepared with time and effort attracts customers
When the restaurant opened, they used to offer many kinds of Thai dishes; however, they have been replacing the dishes on the menu, looking at the responses of their customers. The current bestselling dish is “Kobe beef cold steak.” The meat parts suitable for the steak is cut out, salted, and left overnight. It is then grilled, left in a refrigerator for one day, vacuum-packed, and frozen. It is served after being defrosted at room temperature. Among three kinds—rump, sirloin, and tenderloin—sirloin sells the most. The taste that is close to roast beef, brought out by the process that requires time and effort, especially attracts Thai customers. Also popular are “Beef steak (3 kinds)” and “Beef steak (5 kinds),” which offer the combination of Tokyo Black Beef Japan’s sirloin, ichibo (a cut from the thigh), rump, haneshita (a cut from the shoulder), and tenderloin, as well as “Special broiled Kobe beef sushi.” According to Mr. Yasuda, “Many Thai customers who are reluctant to have raw meat order Special broiled Kobe beef sushi. Broiling makes the taste richer, and it seems to alleviate their reluctance to have raw meat.” The restaurant’s lineup of alcoholic beverages from Japan includes about 50 brands of Japanese sake, distilled sprit (shochu), and whiskey. Among the two-hour free-flowing drinks that they offer for 499 Baht, many Japanese order brands such as “Hakushika,” “Kikusui,” and “Black Nikka.”
Beef is imported in a chilled storage to maintain freshness
Keeping an eye on the inventory, Mr. Yasuda orders and procures Japanese beef through the business operators with whom Ondoru group has business in Japan. They import about 200 to 300 kg per month in a chilled storage, of which Kobe beef is 50 percent to 60 percent. “In general, beef is procured in a frozen state in Thailand. The chilled beef brings much better flavor. Many customers say that they did not expect to have such delicious beef in Thailand. Our strength is that we can provide Japanese Black beef at its best condition,” Mr. Yasuda says.
Thai customers come back for Shabu-Shabu hot pot
Mr. Yasuda is proactive in proposing a new way of enjoying beef. He makes sure that at least two to three Japanese-speaking Thai employees work at the restaurant at any time, so they explain the recommended way of having beef. For example, “Kobe beef cold steak” should be eaten “first without seasoning, second with wasabi and sauce, and third with lemon and sauce.
” For “Shabu-Shabu” hot pot, which was introduced in June 2017, they prepared the menu in three languages—Japanese, English, and Thai. Their easy-to-understand menu that explains how to select and enjoy meat such as Kobe beef and Kurobuta pork loin as well as vegetables with photos is already well-received by customers. Mr. Yasuda says, “Probably because Thais also have a hot pot culture, Shabu-Shabu contributes to create approachable and friendly atmosphere of our restaurants and generate repeater customers.” The popularity of “Shabu-Shabu” contributed the increase of Thai customers to the current 40 percent from a mere 10 percent in the beginning. “The reason we opened our restaurant in Thailand is because we wanted Thai customers to fully enjoy the delicious Japanese meat. To further increase the number of Thai customers, we are considering developing less expensive dishes, adding more dishes to our lunch menu, and starting delivery services,” says Mr. Yasuda. As a restaurant specialized in Kobe beef and Tokyo Black Beef Japan, it is expected that “Yasuda” will explore a new frontier.