Behind the scenes of the opening of Mitchan Souhonten Orizuru Tower store! What are the unknown hardships and thoughts?

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The Orizuru Tower store opened on March 23, 2024 as the largest new store of "Micchan Sohonten". What was the story behind the opening of the Orizuru Tower store, which is visited by many tourists from outside the prefecture and foreign visitors? This time, we will reveal the process leading up to t...

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March 2024 - Meeting -

*This article is an excerpt from the YouTube channel of "Hiroshima Okonomiyaki Mitchan Sohonten [Official]".

"Sharing goals is important when opening a store," says Yuki Kimura, who was promoted to store manager in his third year at the company. Kimura has been involved in the launch of yakiniku restaurants and popular izakayas, and his achievements were recognized, leading to him being appointed manager of Shizuru Tower in his third year at the company.

The new "Micchan Sohonten" store is located inside Orizuru Tower

Kimura was put in charge of a new store in Orizuru Tower, a complex commercial facility that opened in 2016. The area around Orizuru Tower is home to the Atomic Bomb Dome and Peace Park, and is visited by many tourists from both Japan and abroad.

"We decided to open a shop inside Orizuru Tower because we wanted many different people to be able to try Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki," says second-generation Iune Mitsuo, president of Mitchan Souhonten and an accomplished okonomiyaki chef himself.

The store is opening with the expectation of attracting tourists and inbound visitors from overseas, but they also hope that people from Hiroshima will come and try their food.

Regarding opening a store in Hiroshima's most famous tourist spot, Manager Kimura said with confidence, "Customers make a special visit to Mitchan Souhonten. We want to make this a store where they can be pleased with everything, including the taste, service, and atmosphere of the store."

Micchan Sohonten Orizuru Tower store has a unique interior that is not found in other stores. The lively atmosphere you feel the moment you enter the store and the design that is modeled after an old food stall are its characteristics. The iron plate is a whopping 8 meters long!

There are just under 60 seats, including terrace seating, where you can enjoy your meal depending on the season.

According to manager Kimura, the interior of this restaurant, which is the largest and most spectacular of all the Mitchan Souhonten restaurants, has an atmosphere that is a mix between a street food stall-style okonomiyaki restaurant and a modern bar.

March 20, 2024 - 3 days before opening

On March 20th, three days before the Orizuru Tower store opened, a mock sales event was held in the actual store, inviting staff from the operating company and other stores.

Although I have undergone various training exercises up until now, this is the first time I have actually served customers in a practical situation.

"We want to make a lot of mistakes during practice and continue to improve and prepare for the opening," said store manager Kimura.

The Orizuru Tower store is actually a relocation from "Micchan Souhonten Miyabi Sogo Hiroshima store." Therefore, half of the main staff, including the assistant manager Keita Miyabe and head chef Shingo Ueno, are former employees of the Miyabi Sogo Hiroshima store.

While Manager Kimura said that it was reassuring to have someone with experience, Head Chef Ueno was concerned about the possibility of conflict arising between the staff from Miyabi Sogo Hiroshima and the new staff due to differences in experience.

However, Manager Kimura says that he wants all employees, regardless of experience, to start on the same starting line as staff at the Orizuru Tower store.

Manager Kimura's leadership style aims to create an environment where everyone can work as the main character, and the on-site staff felt that "it's easy to voice your opinion and ask him anything. It's a friendly, homely atmosphere."

The mock sales ended without any major issues. After the sales had finished, the staff were seen taking the initiative to hold a meeting. Manager Kimura said to the staff, "I feel that it is reliable to see them taking the initiative and acting on their own, rather than waiting for instructions."

March 21, 2024 - 2 days before opening

Two days before the opening, a reception party was held for suppliers and other related parties. Business associates and media representatives all poured into the restaurant, and dishes were prepared one after another.

However, due to a flood of more orders than expected for some of the dishes, an accident occurred where ingredients ran out. However, they managed to get through the crisis by borrowing ingredients from Micchan's nearby store, and the reception party ended successfully.

March 22, 2024 - The day before opening -

The day before the grand opening is the day to prepare for improvements based on the mock sales and reception party. Since there are no visitors scheduled, the main staff members look somewhat relieved.

"It's very important to refresh your mind. If we don't have enough time ourselves, it will spread to our part-time staff and customers. We won't have a good store unless we put effort into employee satisfaction," says Manager Kimura, who is also attentive to the mental state of his employees.

March 23, 2024 - Opening day -

And finally, the day of the Orizuru Tower store's opening arrived. Manager Kimura spoke passionately to the staff, saying, "I want Micchan Souhonten to be a place that provides customers with an experience that satisfies both their stomachs and their hearts," and they formed a circle.

Many customers lined up outside before the opening, and finally the grand opening took place at 11am!

The restaurant quickly fills up and okonomiyaki is served one after another.

Many customers visit from outside the prefecture and abroad, and the food stall-themed interior is also very popular!

There was a steady stream of people from the moment the shop opened until the last order at 7:30 p.m., marking the end of the first day's business.

What are the thoughts of the second generation Iune Mitsuo?

Uninterrupted business was also Iune's aim. One of the goals of the Orizuru Tower store is to keep grilling okonomiyaki and improve one's skills through practice.

"I want the grillers to come in on a flexible schedule, and I want the dining staff to gain experience and learn from them," says Iune.

Mitchan Souhonten is well known throughout the country, but in the future they would like to make their Orizuru Tower store known to foreign visitors as well.

What kind of store do you want to have?

After closing on the first day, I found a note inside the store that said, "Thank you for the meal. It was delicious." It seems that the customers who visited were very satisfied!

Finally, we asked Deputy Manager Miyabe, Head Chef Ueno, and Manager Kimura what kind of store they would like to develop at Orizuru Tower in the future.

Assistant Manager Miyabe

I want our restaurant to be a source that will satisfy our foreign visitors customers and spread the names of "Micchan Souhonten" and "okonomiyaki" all over the world!

Chef Ueno

I want to make the Orizuru Tower store a great store, one that I can brag about to my future children and grandchildren, saying, "I worked there when the store first opened."

Manager Kimura

I want all customers who visit Mitchan Souhonten during their trip to Hiroshima to be pleased and for it to become a store that will remain in everyone's memories.

When traveling to Hiroshima, be sure to visit Mitchan Sohonten Orizuru Tower store!

The Orizuru Tower store has the most seating of all the "Micchan Sohonten" stores. It's a lively place with a realistic food stall-like atmosphere. It's also close to the Atomic Bomb Dome and Peace Park, so be sure to stop by when you're visiting Hiroshima for sightseeing.

▶Click here for the YouTube video "【Documentary】A long-established okonomiyaki restaurant opens a shop at the new landmark "Orizuru Tower!""

▶Click here for the YouTube channel of "Hiroshima Okonomiyaki Mitchan Sohonten [Official]"

Written by

After the war, okonomiyaki became popular here in Hiroshima. The founder of our company, Mitsuo Inune, is the originator of Hiroshima's okonomiyaki and popularized it throughout the region. Okonomiyaki sauce, cabbage, buckwheat noodles, and eating with a spatula, these Hiroshima-style dishes were all devised by Mitsuo.

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