Wondering why are a lot of Japanese restaurants closed on Mondays? Here’s the answer. Read on to find out!
You might be wondering why on your last visit to Japan, a lot of Japanese restaurants are showing no signs of setting up or are closed on a Monday. Obviously, you get confused because there are no special holidays or events in the area.
As you wander more around the streets in search of good food, you might have already noticed that most of the sushi restaurants around Tokyo or in Japan, in general, are always closed on Mondays.
Obviously, as a tourist, this is a new and weird sight for you to see because back home, every restaurant and food places are open all week long, ready to serve all kinds of food and beverages to your liking.
What could be the reason? Well, in this article we’ll talk about why a lot of Japanese restaurants close on Mondays.
Reason Behind Japanese Restaurants Closed On Mondays?
Low Customer Turnout
Probably the main reason why in a lot of instances, Japanese restaurants are closed on Mondays is basically because of a pattern of little to no customers at all during that day. This is why the best solution for most restaurateurs is to just close for the day and rest.
If you’re wondering why Monday produces a low customer turnout for Japanese restaurants, the simple explanation would be that most people who go out to eat for a nice meal would go on a weekend and chances are, they won’t go out the next day, especially on a work day like Monday.
Most private-owned Japanese restaurants do this and you’ll rarely see food chains or big brands close on a Monday. The reason being is that private-owned places have more control over their schedule compared to their counterparts.
From an economical standpoint, this could put the restaurant in a better place in terms of cost-efficiency because if the restaurant fails to meet or exceed the costs to run the restaurant for the day, the restaurant will suffer in the long run financially.
As mentioned earlier, private-owned Japanese restaurants are the ones that close on Mondays and it’s one of their best solutions to save money given that their sales are more volatile and unpredictable compared to big restaurant chains.
In most instances as well, private-owned Japanese restaurants offer a good and very reasonable price for their food which is why their profit margins are not as big, proving again that it’s a good economic decision to take a day off on Monday.
Furthermore, for restaurants that serve fresh fish and produce in general, it would be much better for them to not open at all on a dull day like Monday to make sure that their fresh produce won’t lose its freshness or worse, rot.
Given the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the economy for years now, more and more restaurant owners of various Japanese restaurants joined in on closing on Mondays to cut more costs and to recover from the big losses they got during the height of the pandemic.
Rest Day For The Hardworking Restaurant Staff
A typical busy work day for chefs, waiters, and other kitchen staff of the restaurant is very hectic, stressful, and labor-intensive and they all have to do it consistently everyday right when the restaurant opens its doors in the morning, up until they serve the last customer of the day.
A whole day meant for rest and relaxation away from the heat of the fires in the kitchen, and the noises of the eager customers waiting to get a taste of amazing Japanese food is beneficial for these hardworking restaurant employees.
Of course, the restaurant owners and managers need a break too from the hectic and stressful scenes of a busy restaurant. They could also use this time to look at the recent sales performance of the restaurant and plan for the coming weeks ahead, especially the holidays or other special occasions.
Although sadly, this isn’t always the case for all Japanese restaurants as some Japanese restaurants still require their employees to report on a Monday to do various tasks for the restaurant which we’ll discuss further in the next part of the article.
Not to be too sad and concerned though because these restaurant staff and employees are still paid according to the time and effort they put into the restaurant. Of course, the restaurant owners are compliant with the government and its mandated laws for employee compensation.
Delivery Day For Fresh Produce And Ingredients
A day with no customers and outsiders is perfect for deliveries of fresh produce and ingredients, this makes logistics a lot easier and more convenient. Sorting and inventory could also be done quickly because the restaurant is empty and peaceful.
And since closing on Monday would basically mean that it would be a weekly closure of the restaurant, fresh produce and ingredients could come in on a much more frequent basis. This means that the food coming out of the kitchen would be fresher and more delicious.
Other important matters could be utilized as well on this rest day for the whole restaurant staff. The restaurant itself could be assessed for future design changes or repairs; it could also be deep cleaned to look more presentable and spotless.
Often overlooked, this part is one of the most important processes in making sure a Japanese restaurant runs smoothly throughout the week, especially on the weekends wherein a lot more patrons line up and eat alongside the tourists.
Mondays are still important even for closed restaurants because this is where they can do the most preparations and adjustments to their menu, restaurant setup, and other important matters before opening their doors again to the people.
Sushi Restaurants And Mondays
If you’ve ever been to Japan and if you’re observant enough, you might notice that out of all the privately-owned Japanese restaurants, the ones you see closing on Mondays are mostly sushi restaurants and we think there’s a reason why they do it more often than others.
The main ingredient or product used by sushi restaurants is fish, different kinds of fish that are freshly delivered and safely stored in the restaurant. Inherently, sushi restaurants automatically have this logistic and storing problem that they have to effectively manage every single day.
Closing every Monday is very helpful for restaurants that serve fresh fish like sushi restaurants because for the same reasons we stated earlier. The only difference is that there is a lot more that happens in terms of logistics and other technicalities in Japanese sushi restaurants.
To get the freshest fish in the market, weekly delivery is the best strategy to ensure this. Closing on Mondays makes delivery a lot easier because it doesn’t disrupt the restaurant operations with patrons dining inside the place.
Having a day off on Mondays gives the chefs an opportunity to prepare more in terms of storing the fish better. This helps in improving costs in the restaurant and it’s a great way to lessen food waste as well because the fish are being effectively cut and stored for the days to come.
Other Countries That Close Restaurants During Mondays
Japan isn’t the only country that closes restaurants on a Monday, there are also other countries that do the same thing with their privately-owned restaurants. Although we are not so sure what their reasons are for doing so, our best guess is that it’s the same reason why Japanese restaurants do it.
For example, privately-owned restaurants in Italy often close on a Monday because there’s always a surge of customers coming during the weekends to dine and have a good time. Closing on a Monday gives the staff an opportunity to rest and recover from a busy weekend service.
Some authentic and privately-owned restaurants in China also close on a Monday for almost the same reasons as why Japan does it. The only difference is that it happens sometimes in China because of the owner’s preference.
We’re certain that this is also a common thing in other countries that we are not able to cover and it seems like economic remedy is one of the main reasons why they do it. It is indeed a wise way of cutting costs on both the restaurant side and the labor side of things.
It might be a weird sight for you to see restaurants completely closed on a Monday but this is completely normal in Japan for a number of reasons economical and logistics-wise.
The good news is, on your next visit to Japan, you are now aware that you should avoid going out on a Monday in Japan searching for Japanese restaurants and sushi spots.
We hope that this article has been helpful in determining why a lot of Japanese restaurants like sushi places close on Mondays.