If you can rent this property, what will you do?

-3 minutes walk from JR Kanazawa Station
-72㎡ on the ground floor
-Old style Japanese house (The outside appearance is wonderful, but the inside is a little rough and can not be used as it is)
-Free to renovate as you like

Then, I chose a sushi restaurant.

Two months ago, on April 20th, Sushi and Japanese cuisine Hatanaka were opened.

I made this sushi restaurant from scratch for the first time in my life. I spent a lot of money of course.

In this blog, I would like to share about how non-experienced guy for food business opened a sushi restaurant.

This is not a know-how that can be imitated immediately because good conditions overlap, but it would be nice if it would be helpful as a way of making a restaurant.

First of all, let me introduce myself.
My name is Takuya Yoshioka, 37 years old.
I live in Kanazawa, a small city of the Japan.

I run a company called Good Neighbors for 5 years. Our main focus is hotel. Now we have 4 hotel and hostels near Kanazawa station.

This story is about how we started the new sushi business from scratch.

1. Find a Property
The story has begun last June.
It was a sunny day before the rainy season started.

The landlord of the place that will later become a sushi restaurant called out to me.

“Yoshioka-san, do you want to use that property for your new business?”

3 minutes walk from Kanazawa Station. There is a back alley where development was left behind just in front of Kanazawa Station where many hotels stand.

A Kanazawa old town House, which was built just after the end of world war second.

Many town houses are left in Kanazawa, but not very much in front of the station.

I wanted to do something while preserving the goodness of the townhouse to protect the beauty of Kanazawa.

Therefore, “I would like to do something, but I can’t come up with an idea immediately, so please give me one month.” I told him.

We know well about the management of the hotel. However, this property has only 72㎡ and is not suitable for accommodation.

So I decided to ask the landlord for a month. If I can not decide anything, I would give up.

2. Determine the type of business

The outline of the property looks like this.
-3 minutes walk from JR Kanazawa Station
-72㎡ on the ground floor
-Old style Japanese house (The outside appearance is wonderful, but the inside is a little rough and can not be used as it is)
-Free to renovate as you like

I seriously worry about it for a while.

As it is not usable as it is, the cost for the renovation might be so high.

Because it is the station front, it is area with many locals and tourists.

However, there is no crowded street from the main street as it is one back behind.

I could only think of a restaurant because of the location and the size of the property, but I finally chose a sushi restaurant. (I was confused with BAR.)

It is completely intuitive, but I tried hard to understand the plausible reason later to persuade my wife and our company members.

Like this.
-Kanazawa has high demand for sushi
-There is no sushi restaurant where foreigners can feel welcomed
-We may develop sushi business overseas
-I would like to make use of the know-how for foreigners cultivated in the hotel business for sushi restaurant
-Sushi is the best entertainment (from now on the age of entertainment)

Thanks to the many reckless challenges repeated since I started my business, I passed the bride, which is the biggest problem, and I was able to take a step forward to the opening of the sushi restaurant.

3. Find a chef

By the way, although I decided to open a sushi restaurant, naturally I can not to make hand-rolled sushi.

So I decided to look for a chef that could hold sushi.

However, there are two conditions that can not be removed absolutely,

1, Young,
2, Speak good English

As a sushi restaurant opened by young companies like us, I was planning to use SNS to attract customers.

I needed a chef that was young enough to understand SNS such as Instagram.

In addition, because I wanted to bring foreign guests to the restaurant, we need to be able to properly explain each dishes in English.

To be honest, I do not have such a human resource, and imagined how difficult I
would found one.

but I found it very soon:)
She was in Malaysia.

By the introduction of acquaintances, I was connected with Ayako Hatanaka (from now on, Hakanaka) who was practicing at a high-class sushi restaurant in Malaysia at that time.

She was the daughter of a long-established ryokan in Nara prefecture, and she worked at a Japanese restaurant in Kyoto and then studied sushi alone in Malaysia.

As soon as I contacted on Facebook and spoke my plan to her, I got a phone call because she was interested on the project.

She is 29 years old and she
has lived in Kanazawa before moving to Malaysia
loves Kanazawa so much
Has a dream to open her own restaurant in the future.
is learning English
wants to convey the goodness of sushi to foreigners

It was almost the chef that I wanted.

The more she talks, the restaurant she wants to make is almost the same as I imagine.

(I know later, Our birthday are the same.)

So I decided that she is going to be the main chef almost in the middle of the first phone call.

4. Contract a Property

Since the type of business and the chef were decided, I contacted the landlord and signed a contract.

It’s been a month since the first promise.

The landlord is the one who are indebted to different projects, and we are mutually linked in a very strong relationship of trust.

So I signed a contract directly without the help of a real estate agent. By doing this, we reduced the contract fee incurred at the time of the contract, and also cut off the administrative fee that would be incurred on the side of the landlord.


And at this time (around August), I decided the opening date. It is April 20th. Once the deadline is decided, there is no choice but to run.

5. Get a loan from bank

As soon as the contract of the property has done, I asked for a loan to a bank.

Two documents were needed.
“Business Plan” and “Profit& Loss statement for the first 3 years”.

The business Plan include where, who, to whom, and how to sell it?

In this case, “Our company (Good Neighbors, Inc.) open a sushi restaurant in front of Kanazawa station, for locals and foreign tourists as main targets, and using SNS marketing.

Profit& Loss statement includes a plan for sales, costs, and profits for each month of three years from the start of business.

Sales are calculated from capacity, turnover, price, etc. The costs are estimated in detail, such as purchasing and rent, labor cost, and consumables, and the final profit is derived.

So, I asked the bank, “Please lend me some money because this is a business that makes a lot of profit.”

Banks do not swallow submitted plans, but they do scrutinize whether they are viable plans, or money that they really lend will return.

Depending on the size of the business, it will take approximately 1-2 months.

6. Ask the renovation to a store design company

As soon as I got a conformation that I could get the loan, I asked the local store design company for the renovation.

As we had consulted in advance about the number and capacity, price range, targets, tastes of design, specifications of kitchen equipment, etc. we will notify them to the person in charge.

After several meetings, when the outline of what we wanted to make was clear, I was asked to submit a design proposal and a quote.

However, the estimated amount was 30% over the original budget.
This happens all the time when making shops and restaurant.

So I revised the design and jumped up from the budget, so I worked on the reduction by scraping the excess equipment.

I heard that the construction period was about 40 days, so I calculated back from the opening date and signed a contract with the company by the end of February, and the construction started from the beginning of March.

7. Last spurt for the opening

From here, it is the final preparation until it opens.
I did them during the construction period.

From here, I will go in a rush because it is almost imaginable content.

1. Purchase of dishes and fixtures
We bought tableware and cutlery that fit the concept, pots and utensils used for cooking, and seasonings. Although the unit price per plate was low, it was a good price to buy a lot.

2. Selection of suppliers
We searched for vendors such as alcohol, fish, vegetables, and towels.

3. Staff recruitment
We called for recruitment of opening staff.
In addition to the main chef(Hatanaka), we hired another chef, and also employed two part-time staff members.

4. Confirming operation
From the visit of the guest, how to take the order and how to check, etc., a series of flows are decided.

5. Menu
Determine the menu and price.

6. Make an official site
I made an official site using WordPress. I took my own domain, used a rental server and built my own.

7. Create SNS accounts
I created a Facebook page, Instagram, Google My Business account. Google My Business takes a long time to register, so we recommend that you prepare it early.

8. Hit the press release
I hit a press release. By making a press release, it is possible to be published in the media of interest or to be able to dig deeper and get coverage.

9. Crowdfunding
Because the cost of the construction was unexpectedly exceeded, the missing part was compensated by crowdfunding. Though the goal is 700,000 yen, approximately 2,100,000 yen was funded.

10. POS cash register
We contracted POS cash register.

11. Reservation/customer management system
We have introduced a system for receiving reservations from the company site, managing reservations, and managing customers. It is a system called TableSolution.

12. Pre-open
Finally, it’s open soon.
We called the staff and related parties and did a pre-opening. We will reconfirm the operation at this point.

The next step

Two months after the opening, the operation on the site settled down, and the regulars also increased, and it has been a very good start as a restaurant.

Before the opening, I and Hatanaka talked a lot about everything, but after the opening I basically leave it to her.

For the moment, the target sales are 6 million yen a month. Also, we are planning “Making sushi Experience” for foreigners using the free time of the daytime.


This is our new challenge and it has a lot of risks. I do not want do it again.

On the other hand, having rented a wonderful property in front of the station, I met Hatanaka luckily, also new team members, everyone is great, And, etc., unexpected luckies overlap, and despite the first challenge, we were able to make a good start.

Certainly, when you think about the future, you may get nervous and get stuck, but there is also growth and it’s really exciting when you think about the impact when you grow.

Making restaurant is really interesting.