Our view of Sustainability at F&LC

CEO Message

Bringing the delicious tastes
of sushi to the world and
become a global food
service company

President & CEO
Koichi Mizutome
社長メッセージ

Since becoming the President & CEO of FOOD & LIFE COMPANIES LTD. (F&LC or the Group) in 2015, I have managed our business operations with an eye toward spreading the great tastes of sushi and Japanese food culture so that people around the world can enjoy them. Customer choice is the fundamental concept behind sushi restaurants. The ability to eat whatever you want at that moment in time and order the highest quality seafood for a particular season represents the best of a sushi restaurant. The great thing about kaiten(revolving) sushi is that customers can choose what they want and enjoy the experience. Kaiten sushi serves up not only sushi but also other favorites such as noodles and desserts, providing a dream-like setting enjoyable for all ages, from children to adults. F&LC provides these delightful spaces and times to as many people around the world as possible using various restaurant formats.
Japan’s food service industry has the ability to compete in international markets based on quality and cost performance. By conveying the value of Japanese food culture and realizing a world where Japanese food service brands are ubiquitous and can be enjoyed by anyone around the world, we will contribute to society as a new core industry of Japan.


A strength to compete globally

Providing the same restaurant formats as in Japan

Overseas, the Group is committed to bringing the Japanese food culture and experience of “sushi” in the same formats as Japan in terms of restaurant design, products, and customer service. Even in our overseas restaurants, the pursuit of great taste remains the same. Some staff members in overseas have never eaten sushi, so it is important to educate them about the importance of properly completing the time-consuming preparation process, as well as to explain the reasons why this process is necessary.
I believe that seeing customers enjoy the experience of dining out represents a common joy for everyone in therestaurant industry. This experience leads to a virtuous cycle of providing better services. This is expressed in the Action Guidelines in our corporate philosophy. These guidelines have been translated into a number of languages so that everyone in the Group can share it. Whenever I visit our local operations overseas, I try to interact directly with the employees as much as possible.
The further evolution of our overseas expansion requires that we refine our domestic business, which has high demands in terms of both price and quality. In order to meet our customer’s wide range of needs, we have enhanced our lineup of carefully selected sushi ingredients and other “specialty” products. Providing products that balance price and quality with customer satisfaction will lead to growth. Through this accumulation of efforts, we are refining our “lean” corporate structure to translate into success in overseas markets.

Human resource strategy for sustaining growth and fostering

A workplace where every employee can take on new challenges

The growth of a company requires the growth of its people. In the food service industry, where there are concerns about labor shortages, creating an environment where employees can work with peace of mind is viewed as a sustainable initiative. For example, we have the same starting salary for both high school graduates and university graduates. From 2023, we began permitting second jobs. On the other hand, we need to focus more on women’s active participation, and we will work to create an environment where diverse employees can play an active role.
One of the unique aspects of the Group is our work environment in which anyone can take on new challenges. Sushiro’s overseas subsidiaries are headed by people who have served as general managers at Sushiro in Japan. In other words, regardless of whether an employee has overseas experience or not, they will be assigned more and more challenging work. We believe that it is because of this approach that young employees are able to work hard with goals in mind, and able to take on the challenges posed by a global operating environment in the same way. I expect that such examples will spread to local staff working overseas in the future. It is important to create opportunities for people to grow, and we use our internal recruitment system to encourage the career development of our employees.

Sustainable procurement initiatives

Shifting to a circular model for creating marine resources

A restaurant business like ours is made possible by the lives of fish and other animals. It is important to ensure that not only fish but also meat, rice, vegetables, and other ingredients are used in a healthy way in the future, and that we shift to a circular procurement model in which we create and utilize our own ingredients in a sustainable manner.
Although the amount of fish caught in Japan is declining due to the effects of climate change and other factors, the catch amount globally is actually increasing due to improvements in aquaculture technology. The problem is that global demand for seafood continues to grow more than the supply. In anticipation of this, and in order to ensure a stable supply of high-quality ingredients, the Group will expand its procurement of farmed fish and increase the ratio of farmed fish to natural fish to 50:50.
In 2022, we established a joint venture with an aquaculture company that engages in integrated production from seedlings to fish, with the aim of addressing frontline issues and improving aquaculture technology. In addition, we are investing in bio-ventures developing genome editing technology and promoting joint research to explore new fisheries. We will connect these next-generation aquaculture initiatives to a future in which diverse marine fishery resources are sustainable, build a circular model, and transform into a business in symbiosis with nature.
In addition to fishery resources, supply chain processes must also be healthy. We have begun communicating with our business partners by informing them of the Group’s approach and guidance, and asking them to cooperate with us in surveys.

Aiming to maximize corporate value

By sharing tastiness with people around the world using the power of F&LC

As a listed company, we must always aim to increase earnings power. In order to fulfill our responsibilities to shareholders, we place importance on return on equity (ROE) as a management indicator and believe that it is important to maintain an ROE of at least double digits. We also focus on scale of sales, striving to maintain growth of 10% or more compared to the same period of the previous year, with the ultimate goal to reach net sales of one trillion yen.
With the aim of pursuing further growth potential and maximizing corporate value, we have identified seven material issues. We have been able to visualize once again which businesses have been impacted by each of these material issues and what should be prioritized. Going forward, we will set numerical targets and monitor them regularly through the Sustainability Promotion Committee and the Board of Directors to ensure forward progress is made.
In terms of governance, all seven of the company’s directors, except for myself, are outside directors*. We believe that it is important to establish a system that allows us to make decisions that benefit the company, and each director was appointed taking into account not only their expertise and achievements, but also diversity such as generation and gender. The percentage of female directors is 37.5%. The role of the Board of Directors is to manage and supervise business execution.
On the other hand, we deeply regret the inconvenience caused to our customers by inappropriate campaign announcements in Japan. In addition, online harassment carried out by a small number of consumers on social media also had many impacts. To prevent this from happening again, we will strengthen governance, rebuild the system so that everyone can visit our restaurants with peace of mind, and strive to comply with these new approaches. Both management and employees are working to solve these problems. While placing greater emphasis than ever on collaboration with our business partners, we will bring together the capabilities of our “Companies” to realize the dreams of various ages and nationalities and to connect “tastiness” to the future.
Based in Japan, the Group offers a high potential for growth overseas. While protecting diverse fishery resources, we will take advantage of the uniqueness of our business to become a “global food service company.”
※At the General Meeting of Shareholders in December 2023, Mr. Hiroshi Ogawa was appointed as Director and Senior Executive Corporate Officer, bringing the total number of internal directors to two.

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