Matsurika is a Chinese restaurant in Iwaki city in Fukushima, Japan. Their focus is making seasonal dishes using healthy ingredients from local producers.

Fillet helps Matsurika to calculate profit margin for their hot-selling menu items and optimal selling price when they create new menu

About Matsurika Chinese Kitchen

Please tell us, how did you start your restaurant?

I've been working at a Chinese restaurant since I was 18 years old. However, the year that the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred (in 2011), I decided to go back to my hometown from the Kanagawa prefecture. But I also wanted to use the skills that I'd learned. So after taking some time to prepare, I started my own restaurant in July 2015.

What is special about your menu?

I use a fair bit oil because Chinese cooking does require it, but I try not to make it taste oily.

Except for menu items where I do need to use a lot of oil, otherwise the taste just isn't right!

Why did you decide to create healthy Chinese meals?

One of our top regular customers commented that, “This is a restaurant where I actually enjoy eating vegetables!” I like meeting the current demand for healthy food, from our customers and more. So I try to flavor lightly and bring out the full flavor of the ingredients.

Except mapo tofu and twice-cooked pork. (These are indulgent dishes with rich flavours!)

Which menu items would you recommend the most?

Sweet-and-sour pork using black vinegar from Jiangsu Province.

Mapo tofu using "doubanjiang" (Chinese broad bean paste).

Our dishes with Chinese yellow chives are also popular.

Your menu varies depending on the seasonal ingredients you’re using. How do you come up with new recipes?

Our menu is based on seasonal ingredients that are different in each of the four seasons: In spring, we make a variety of dishes with spring cabbage. In summer, we have cold noodles with cucumbers and Chinese jellyfish, or dishes using bitter gourd. I like our customers to have the feeling of each season.

How do you choose suppliers for your ingredients?

We work with many kinds of local vendors including wholesalers of Chinese ingredients, butchers who provide high-quality meats, and nearby shops who carry ingredients we need.

Daily operations and future plans

What is your daily schedule like?

After I wake up, I go to my restaurant and get ready.

Lunch time is from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM.

Then I close the restaurant, start geting ready to buy ingredients for dinner time.

I reopen the restaurant at 5:30 PM for dinner time.

Then I close the shop, clean up, and organize the checks. And the day’s work is done.

What is the most difficult part of your work?

We’re a small restaurant run by two people, so when we have many customers at a time, we can’t take care of them all.

What is the happiest part of your work?

I feel happy when my customers say “Gochisosama!” as they leave. (“Gochisosama” is a Japanese phrase that shows appreciation to the person who prepared your meal.)

What are the daily challenges of operating your business?

We’re always creating new dishes to meet customer demand. This way, we can make progress every day, even if it is slow. We’re learning and challenging ourselves, so that we can offer a unique dining experience.

What are your future plans and goals?

I’d like to build a separate workshop so that we can start selling take-out food, but that’s still a long way off, for now.

How Matsurika uses Fillet

What is your favorite Fillet feature and why?

I enjoy Edible Portion because it helps me to calcuate my recipe cost more accurately. For example, for radishes that need to be peeled, I can set the amount of radish that’s left after peeling.

I also enjoy creating ingredient lists for each of my vendors. This makes it quicker for me to check my ingredient prices. The prices of my ingredients change often. So it’s great that I can change their price easily and recalculate costs.

Which Fillet feature do you use frequently, and why?

Creating new Recipes and Menu Items.

Their calculations are really useful when I’m deciding the selling Price, especially when I’m creating a new menu. It’s also useful for my existing menu items."

How has Fillet improved your business operations?

It’s helped us to see how much it costs to produce our popular menu items. We can see which menu items have a high profit margin or low profit margin. This helps us plan how to balance it out, like recommending a menu item together with certain other items, which helps us to close the gap between cost and profit. Altogether, this has improved our business operations.

Thank you very much to Matsurika’s owner-operator, Mr. Masahiro Tamaki, for doing this interview with us!