Report Vol.1: Double Eagle GINZA REION

REION Website Overseas Report
 Vol.1 – 
Takumi Yamamoto(Singapore)

The first case of the REION being introduced abroad is “Takumi Yamamoto,” a restaurant located in Marina Bay Sands, one of Singapore’s leading integrated resorts. Takumi Yamamoto is a popular restaurant where you can enjoy exquisite Japanese cuisine such as sushi, tempura and teppanyaki. Our president Mr. Fujinami talked directly to Mr. Hidemasa Yamamoto who supports the restaurant as an advisor and Mr. Athrun, an Assistant Manager, and discussed how the REION is used at the restaurant which welcomes customers from all over the world.

Popular Japanese restaurant in Marina Bay Sands

 Marina Bay Sands is known for its distinctive appearance in that the SkyPark connects the tops of the three towers facing Marina Bay in the south of Singapore. Takumi Yamamoto is located on the second floor of the facility which includes shopping malls, casinos, theaters and restaurants.
 Opened at the same time that Marina Bay Sands started in July 2010, the restaurant was renovated to its current appearance in 2017. It’s a multi-concept restaurant centered on Japanese cuisine including sushi, tempura and teppanyaki, using fresh seafood transported every day from Tsukiji Market in Tokyo.
 Mr. Hidemasa Yamamoto who produced the restaurant had already built his career at well-known restaurants in Europe and the US. As the executive chef of the Ritz-Carlton in Washington DC, he was engaged as the banquet grand chef for three generations of US Presidents, Reagan, Bush and Clinton. In 2005, he became the first executive chef at Mandarin Oriental Hotel Tokyo. From then until 2006 he contributed to the hotel achieving the world’s first rating of a 6-star hotel. After that, he supervised many other restaurants, developed many more products and is still an attraction both at home and abroad as a top chef.

I want people overseas to care about Japan’s unique hospitality culture.

 Takumi Yamamoto creates a cozy ambience in harmony with a Japanese flavor and a chic atmosphere. The restaurant features different dining settings, consisting of counters specializing in different cuisines such as sushi and teppanyaki, but you can order any of the dishes served by the restaurant wherever you sit.
 Non-Singaporean customers account for about 70%, mainly VIPs and casino customers visiting the restaurant, with unexpectedly fewer local people. When opening this Japanese restaurant in such a foreign country, Mr. Yamamoto told us about his considerable attachment to the Oshibori (wet towel for genuine hospitality in Japan) that were to be served.
 “The Oshibori service is one example of Japanese Omotenashi (genuine hospitality in Japanese). In order to share this wonderful Japanese culture, I was determined to introduce the custom of Oshibori whenever I open a new Japanese restaurant overseas. Even if there are no local companies who produce the Oshibori, I can provide hospitality to our customers with only towels and a washing machine.”
 “The Oshibori service is one example of Japanese Omotenashi (genuine hospitality in Japanese). In order to share this wonderful Japanese culture, I was determined to introduce the custom of Oshibori whenever I open a new Japanese restaurant overseas. Even if there are no local companies who produce the Oshibori, I can provide hospitality to our customers with only towels and a washing machine.”
 Takumi Yamamoto now uses four black large-size REIONs. Though the black type is rare in the industry, how are these REIONs utilized in the restaurant?

Cold Oshibori is popular in the hot weather
REION attracting customers' interest

 Mr. Athrun, Assistant Manager, told us that in the past, the Oshiboris were too warmed up and dried out. Some staff burned themselves because the inside of the conventional Oshibori cabinet was made of aluminum. There were many complaints about the Oshibori being too hot.
 “Currently, we warm the REIONs in HIGH mode before opening, but during opening hours, the REIONs are kept warm in LOW mode, which makes Oshiboris most comfortable, so we can serve the Oshiboris and still retain the moisture. We have handed our customers cold Oshiboris for the first time since we installed the REIONs. The customers are pleased because it is hot outside. The REION’s integrated body made of plastic helps us easily cleans it up.”
 About 100 to 120 thick white Oshiboris are prepared each day, which are also washed every day to remove bacteria and bleach. In order to maintain the quality, the Oshiboris are replaced with new ones every three months.
 Cold Oshiboris are served to the customers at the teppanyaki counter and warm ones at the sushi counter. Especially at the sushi counter, two to four Oshiboris are handed over to each customer during the meal and also before dessert, it was impressive to see the customers asked if they prefer cold or warm Oshiboris. By serving the Oshiboris on trays, staff can avoid directly touching them.
 “When opening the door of the REION, the internal lighting stands out and attracts the gaze of our customers. Many customers are amazed at the beautiful design.”

Fixtures with good design and functionality raise the level of the restaurant.

 What standards do you use to choose the fixtures, materials and consumables for the restaurant? Mr. Yamamoto asserted that “For everything that’s put in the restaurant, function and appearance are very important.” Furthermore, “I appreciate FSX’s attitude toward manufacturing, their focus on design and functionality. The presence of quality fixture seems to rate the restaurant one notch above.”
 Dining, hospitality, the interior, as well as the Oshiboris and the cabinet may all be components of producing a space where the best cuisine is served. Finally, Mr. Yamamoto talked about the role of the Oshibori.
 “At the stage prior to dining, the Oshiboris demonstrate the quality of the restaurant. It would be out of the question for the reaction from customers to be ‘What’s this Oshibori?’ or ‘What’s that odor?’ When you serve a quality Oshibori, the customer’s first impression of the restaurant is much better. I recognize that Oshiboris play a role as crucial and essential as rice in Japanese cuisine.”