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As the coronavirus pandemic takes a heavy toll on the restaurant industry, some chain operators have shifted to a new business model: offering two different restaurant brands in one store.

They hope the two-in-one approach, which enables customers to enjoy dishes of two different restaurants at once, will help them recover lost ground by making their stores more appealing to customers while keeping business investment costs low.

According to research firm Fuji Keizai Co., Japan’s eating-out market in 2020 is expected to drop 16.5% from the previous year to ¥28.6 trillion.

This month, Skylark Holdings Co. began efforts to accommodate its Karayoshi restaurants specializing in deep-fried chicken within its mainstay Gusto family restaurants.

“The move is popular among our customers as they can enjoy authentic fried chicken as well as Gusto dishes,” a Skylark employee said.

Karayoshi’s takeout products are also selling well at Gusto restaurants, as many people are spending more time at home amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Skylark plans to increase the number of Gusto-Karayoshi restaurants from around 100 at present to more than 1,100 by March 2021 by making use of its nationwide Gusto chain network.

Izakaya (Japanese-style pub) chains have also been hit hard by COVID-19 as demand for drinking parties has plummeted.

AP Holdings Co., which operates izakaya chains such as Tsukada Nojo, has renovated the dining areas of its pubs to accommodate its new Kitchen Cloud takeout and delivery chain stores offering Japanese, Western and Chinese food, starting this month.

AP Holdings hopes customers will enjoy izakaya dishes at its pubs while savoring various types of food at home through its takeout and delivery services.

“We want to secure regular customers by offering community-based services,” said Hisashi Yoneyama, president of AP Holdings.

Meanwhile, some restaurants have decided to operate under different brands at lunchtime and dinnertime.

This month, two of restaurant operator Colowide Co.’s Doma-Doma izakaya in Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture began to operate during lunch hours as Kitchen Doma-ni restaurants, serving hamburgers and pork cutlets.

Colowide hopes the move will make up for a drop in Doma-Doma’s late-night sales.

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