Customers who have been to the nationwide kushikatsu (deep-fried meat and vegetables on skewers) restaurant Kushikatsu Tanaka since the start of June may have noticed some new posters on the wall. Walk in to most outposts of the chain serving up the deep-fried Osaka specialty and you'll see big signs declaring the whole shop is now nonsmoking.
"Our stores, before June, were mostly smoking-friendly, but we also have lots of customers who have families and small children," says Monami Nagase, a representative for the company. "They are important to us, and we thought it was strange the majority of our shops allowed smoking."
News of this move won the chain plenty of coverage online, with happy netizens celebrating the decision on social media. The ban has only been in effect for a month, but everything at the chain appears to be business as usual. It has opened more outposts (including its first restaurant in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture) and continues to pack in customers (the company is reporting a 2 percent increase in customers compared to June last year, though overall sales fell 2.9 percent).