Several 24-hour Restaurants in Japan to Shorten Operation Hours

February 9, 2017

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. establishment / ɪˈstæb lɪʃ mənt / (n.) – a place of business
ExampleEstablishments near offices usually stay open at night to cater to employees on the night shift.

2. patronage / peɪ trə nɪdʒ / (n.) – the support given by customers to a business
Example: The new restaurant quickly gained patronage because of its unique dishes.

3. round the clock / raʊnd ðə klɒk / (idiom) – for 24 hours
Example: Some groceries are open round the clock.

4. crowd / kraʊd / (v.) – to gather in a place
Example: College students crowded the library during exam season.

5. aviation / ˌeɪ viˈeɪ ʃən / (n.) – the operation and use of aircraft or planes
Example: He wanted to be in the aviation industry, so he studied to be a pilot.


Read the text below.
Popular food establishments across Japan are cutting their operation hours due to decreasing patronage and manpower shortage.

Several branches of establishments that used to offer 24-hour services will no longer be open round the clock. One of the major reasons behind this change is the difficulty in finding employees who are capable and willing to work night shifts. Japan’s shrinking younger population also led to the change, as normally, it was the younger people who crowded these restaurants late at night.

Aside from these reasons, the change was also influenced by the increasing promotion of work-life balance among Japanese employees, which discourages working late.

Among the establishments that have cut their business hours are restaurants under Skylark Co., Ltd. Out of the 428 Skylark restaurants that have 24-hour operations, 310 will implement a closing time of 2:00 a.m. starting April this year. Another company that will also shorten business hours is Royal Holdings Co., Ltd., which operates the Royal Host chain of restaurants.

The food industry is not the first industry to experience problems due to Japan's labor and population problems. Three years ago, the aviation industry was also negatively affected by these issues.

In 2014, the Japanese government reported a shortage in available pilots. This led some aviation companies, such as Peach Aviation Ltd., to cut down on the number of flights they offered as they struggled to find qualified employees.  During the same year, Vanilla Air also had to cancel several flights because of labor shortage. In addition, Jetstar Japan did not push through with its plan to widen the company’s flight coverage.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         In what ways will the removal of 24-hour services affect restaurants and diners?
·         In your opinion, how could restaurants cater to the demands of late night customers without compromising their profit?

Discussion B

·         Aside from those mentioned in the article, what do you think are the other effects of labor shortage? Discuss.
·         What could be a possible solution to labor shortage?

February 9, 2017