The secret of Mos Burger's success in Japan
|Photo from Mos Burger website|
TOKYO - Hideyuki Sato, 38, who has loved trees and flowers since his childhood, believes his current job is the most suitable one for him.
As chief leader of the agribusiness group at Mos Food Services Inc., the operator of Mos Burger hamburger restaurants, Sato procures vegetables to be used for hamburgers directly from farmers across Japan.
Unlike many other fast food chains that prepare hamburgers beforehand, Mos Food Services starts making a hamburger with fresh vegetables after it receives an order.
The company, which runs about 1,400 shops across the country, sticks to a policy of not using vegetables that are produced abroad or preserved for long periods in refrigerators as it believes its customers favor its food because of freshness.
Sato and his colleagues go to see contract farmers many times a year to keep themselves updated on how they are growing vegetables and confirm whether they are not using any excessive amounts of pesticides or chemical fertilizers.
"We always take care so customers can eat our food without any worries," Sato said.
Mos Burger restaurants are open at all times of the year and need to prepare fresh vegetables such as tomatoes, lettuce and onions, each day.
The Tokyo-based company has thus contracted with some 3,000 farmers from Hokkaido to Okinawa Prefecture, making it possible to use vegetables from northern Japan during the summer, while procuring those from southern Japan during the winter.
"I travel around to see those farmers in more than half a year, and don't spend much time at home," he said.
Sato, from Koshigaya, Saitama Prefecture, enjoyed climbing mountains with his father in his childhood and developed a liking for trees, plants and flowers in due course.
After studying agriculture at university, Sato entered Mos Food Services where he believed he would work with vegetables.
"Vegetables on a hamburger may just be a supporting player to make meat taste better, but they're important ingredients," he said.
"I like developing new recipes using vegetables," said Sato.