Life & Leisure

Japanese sushi restaurant gets creative amid COVID-19 sales slump

Tokyo, Sep 9 (efe-epa).- The owner of a 60-year-old sushi restaurant in Japan has used his ingenuity amid declining demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic by creating a home delivery service that capitalizes on his other great passion, bodybuilding.

Masanori Sugiura, 41, is the brains behind Delivery Macho, a service in central Japan that has become popular on the internet for its eye-catching delivery by bare-chested men with muscles sculpted in the gym.

“Showing off my body helps me to remain motivated,” Sugiura told EFE.

The restaurateur, who took part in the 2020 MuscleContest Japan, started the service at the end of May after the state of emergency declared due to the spread of COVID-19 was lifted.

By then, business at his restaurant, Imazushi, had greatly declined and numerous gyms had closed as a preventive measure, said Sugiura, who thought of this strategy as a way to kill two birds with one stone.

“I wanted to continue showing off my body to (push myself to) keep working out and also wanted to have an income at the same time,” he said.

And so Vber Macho was born, a service that offered customers the possibility of gazing at and photographing young men, many of them personal trainers whose gyms had closed and who had seen bodybuilding competitions canceled.

“Three days later we received a call from Uber’s lawyer,” said Sugiura, who was forced to change the name of the newly launched service to Delivery Macho, as the spelling and pronunciation of “Vber” and “Uber” in Japanese are exactly the same.

Since then they have received more than 100 orders, an average of one a day, although the weekends are the busiest time.

The restaurant mainly accepts orders from Nagoya, which is located not far from the restaurant’s premises in Anjo city, but it also accepts requests to deliver as far away as Tokyo and Osaka for the right price.

The minimum order required to get the shirtless bodybuilders to deliver sushi is 10,000 yen (about $95) and the most common clients are groups of females, although they have also made deliveries for family gatherings and birthday dinners, according to Sugiura.

The restaurateur is looking to expand the service to other cities and even add new ones, such as organizing tuna cutting events. EFE-EPA


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