Yoshinoya D&C Co. on Friday forecast a profit for the current fiscal year, despite the loss of its signature dish of “gyudon” beef on rice.

Yoshinoya has been hit hard by the import ban on U.S. beef implemented in December 2003 following the first discovery of mad cow disease in that country.

For the year that ended in February, the company posted a net loss of 758 million yen on revenue of 117.96 billion yen, down 16 percent from a year earlier.

Yoshinoya, which operates more than 1,200 outlets at home and overseas, performed poorly immediately after it was forced to stop serving gyudon in February 2004.

But the company was able to reverse this trend and post a profit during the second half of last fiscal year by cutting costs and introducing alternative dishes, including pork on rice and others using Australian beef.

For the current fiscal year, the company expects a net profit of 150 million yen on revenue of 125 billion yen.

Yoshinoya President Shuji Abe told a news conference that the profit forecast does not include any impact from a lifting of the import ban.

He said the firm is preparing for a partial reopening of beef imports, which he expects will happen by the end of this year.

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