Business / Corporate

Yoshinoya reveals first annual net loss in six years, citing cost of new tablet device order system

JIJI

Yoshinoya Holdings Co. incurred an annual net loss for the first time in six years for the year ended in February, the fast-food restaurant group said Thursday.

The red ink came as the company, known for its mainstay gyūdon beef-on-rice bowls, booked an impairment loss related to the introduction of a new order-taking system using tablet devices — a move designed to lower labor costs.

The company posted a consolidated net loss of ¥6 billion, compared with a profit of almost ¥1.5 billion a year before.

Two executives, including President Yasutaka Kawamura, will take pay cuts of up to 20 percent for three months to take responsibility for the poor financial performance.

At a news conference, Kawamura said the company’s gyūdon restaurants in Japan, totaling some 1,200 outlets, will offer 2 percent of the value of cashless payments as reward points once the consumption tax is raised to 10 percent from 8 percent in October.

The move is designed to prevent a decline in gyūdon sales. The company is concerned that customers will shift to convenience stores, whose operators plan to provide reward points equivalent to 2 percent of the amount of cashless payments to cushion the impact of the tax increase.

The cost for Yoshinoya’s point program can be considered as “something like sales promotion expenses,” Kawamura said.

The company expects to swing back into profitability in the year ending in February 2020, projecting a net profit of ¥100 million.

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