Monday, August 09, 2010

Costco Food Court -- Japanese style

After spending the last year shopping at Costco in San Dimas, California, returning to the Iruma Costco was a great cultural re-entry experience today. While many things are similar, especially in appearance and systems, there are some significant differences, too. Take for example, the food court...

The menu is similar to what we saw back in the States--hot dogs with a drink, a slice of pizza, a salad, churos, an ice cream sundae, etc. The prices are great. The difference is the crowds. Perhaps during the Christmas season in California, we saw a long line waiting for that quick meal. But here, everyday, nearly all the time, there are three to five lines each with people waiting to order.


Its not just the ordering that has lines...one has to develop the skill of circling the tables looking for possible openings, soon to leave occupants, etc. Outside of the McDonalds in Moscow back in '96, I have never seen a place where it is so hard to find a place to sit and eat a cheap meal. While we were gone, they reformatted the condiment table location to improve the flow, but they didn't add any tables...

which left us with no alternative but to find an empty cart and use it as our standing food table...

One other difference I was reminded of is that those white sandwich rolls are the most popular purchase at Costco Iruma. I saw a small stand of them in San Dimas. As I stood eating my hotdog, I saw nearly every cart around me had at least one bag of rolls.


Here the two people in line each have one, maybe two bags of rolls. When we got back to the bread area, there were at least three shelves, twelve feet long, full of these bags. We've been here when people were lined up waiting for them to come from the bakery...

2 comments:

Wendy said...

Thanks for the comparison, Faith. We've never been there outside of Japan. Just wondering, I thought that you weren't allowed to take photos in Costco?

Stan and Faith said...

No photos? And miss out on such a great opportunity? Actually, I didn't see a sign, but wasn't looking for it, either... Faith