If I managed a restaurant chain in the U.S., I’d look to Japan to see what interesting ideas I could import. I personally think that yakitori, the delicious teriyaki chicken cooked on bamboo skewers, would be a great addition to the menus of restaurants wanting to differentiate their offerings, and I could see patrons happily munching on chicken over beers as an appetizer before the main course arrived. I’d also be sure and adopt the awesome Japanese practice of handing customers a steaming hot towel when they sit down to order — it’s a great way to make them feel special. Finally, I’m a fan of chu-hi or drinks made with shochu and fresh-squeezed fruit juice, like Lemon or Grapefruit Sours. When you order these drinks, the server hands you a glass containing the shochu and a lemon or grapefruit which you squeeze yourself with the included juicer. It’s great fun, and I’m sure that any restaurant chain that adopted it would have many takers.
I’d love to see yakitori become as famous as sushi around the world — yum!