Hachimenroppi Inc., a Tokyo-based venture, is growing rapidly thanks to its tablet computer-based platform for distributing fresh fish.
The company provides tablets to restaurants free of charge, allowing them to order fish based on their prospects for arrival at Tokyo’s Tsukiji market, the nation’s largest, and in catches at ports across the country.
Since orders are usually placed by telephone or fax, the conventional system “lacks a sense of speed and cannot meet needs of restaurants willing to create attractive menus every day,” said Masanari Matsuda, president of Hachimenroppi.
The company’s name is taken from a phrase meaning “versatility” or “jack of all trades.”
Information is provided through an application developed by Hachimenroppi and updated on a daily basis. It includes data on fish that used to be consumed only locally, such as “akaisaki” (pink maomao) caught in Nagasaki Prefecture and “sumagatsuo” (wild bonito) in Oita Prefecture.
Clients of the service can place their orders after examining photos of the fish, where they were caught, the price and other data. Their orders are delivered the following day.
Demand for the service has increased sharply over the past year because it is convenient and allows customers to buy fish rarely available through conventional distribution networks.
Hachimenroppi now has some 1,700 clients mainly in the Tokyo metropolitan area and plans to expand the service to restaurants in cities in other regions.
Matsuda worked at a logistics company and learned that fresh fish is delivered to restaurants and other end users through a number of dealers.
Matsuda started the tablet-based information service in April 2011, aiming to make things more convenient and efficient.
He initially provided the tablets to fish wholesalers on a commission basis. But as that business proved unsuccessful, he changed the format of the venture to the current one.
As a result, Hachimenroppi recently started handling vegetables and meat as well, thanks to strong demand from clients.
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