• Chunichi Shimbun

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With the public asked to stay home amid the coronavirus outbreak, butchers and restaurants in Aichi Prefecture are resorting to new and safer measures to sell their products: drive-thrus.

Toriichi Seinikuten, a butchers in Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, started a drive-thru service on Sunday to sell frozen meat products in the hope of helping producers in the Higashimikawa region in the east of the prefecture, which have been dealt a heavy blow from declining orders from restaurants.

After the firm started the service at 10 a.m. from a food truck parked on the grounds of Japan Tobacco Inc.’s Toyohashi branch near its store, cars arrived one after another, with some 60 people making purchases in the first hour.

Three kinds of meat packages were available — a ¥5,000 “family pack” including seven packs of beef, pork trimmings and sausages totaling 3,400 grams, a ¥10,000 “producers support pack” including five packs of local wagyu beef brands totaling 1,200 grams, and a ¥3,000 “Hamburg steak pack” including eight packs of patties made of local wagyu beef totaling 800 grams, all tax included.

Since they are prepackaged in cardboard boxes, people can receive them in some two minutes after placing orders.

“I hope people will support local producers by enjoying shopping in a new way and preventing crowds at the same time,” said Takuya Higuchi, 36, a member of the firm’s sales department who came up with the idea.

Sachie Suzuki, 68, of Toyohashi, who bought the family pack, said: “It’s handy since the products are frozen. I hope local producers will hold on.”

The firm is planning to offer the service from Sunday through Wednesday at other venues in the city.

The family pack and the producers support pack are also available for purchase online at the firm’s website.

Meanwhile, an outdoor food fair, Stay in the Car Marche, was held on Sunday at a parking lot of Toyota Stadium in the city of of the same name, which hosts the Toyota Motor Corp. headquarters, with 11 local stores offering drive-thru meals and drinks for people to enjoy inside their vehicles.

Some 270 cars visited the event, which was organized by a group of volunteers working in the city to support restaurants facing difficulties due to requests by municipal governments to shut down businesses and for people to avoid nonessential outings.

Visitors first made orders on a website for the event and drove to the booths. They then showed the purchase order number, placed the money on the counter and took the food. The windows of the cars were closed except for making payments and receiving the food.

“Since it is difficult to eat out because we are asked to stay home, it's refreshing,” said Satomi Suzuki, 43, a company employee who was visiting a couple of stores at the event.

Takashi Sakui, 34, a Nagoya resident who is among the people who organized the event, said: “We explored what we can do and made preparations in a month. I thought the event matches well with the car-oriented culture of the city of Toyota.”

The group plans to continue holding the event regularly in the future.

This section features topics and issues from the Chubu region covered by the Chunichi Shimbun. The original article was published April 27.

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