Yoshinoya: Taiwan vs. California
Yoshinoya: Taiwan vs. California, an Analytical Comparison of the Chain from the Perspective of an Asian-American Solo Traveler
YOSHINOYA: TAIWAN VS. CALIFORNIA: AN INTRODUCTION. This article is a my personal take on the overall chain of Yoshinoya’s in Taiwan versus the Yoshinoya chains in the States–And when I say States, I specifically mean in California. I have been to a couple of other Yoshinoya’s in Taipei, and they were all pretty similar to the one located in Kaohsiung, as referred to in this article. Compared to the chains back in the States, there were many differences in restaurant logo/design, level of service, and the food they serve.
Logo & Design
First off, the storefront logo here is vastly different from that back in the States. From walking by the exterior storefront, I had no idea I was looking at a Yoshinoya restaurant.
The current bull logo gives off a more sophisticated look, like a more upscale restaurant. The logo in the States is relatively simple and easily recognizable. Only after walking into the restaurant did I finally realize that I was in a Yoshinoya.
After a bit of digging, I found out the reasoning behind this difference in design in LogoDesignLove’s article, Cultural differences in logo design.
“Founded in Japan in 1899, the Yoshinoya brand is known in that country for its beef bowls and tradition of efficient service — with more than 1,500 restaurants across Japan, and 106 locations in California. As Yoshinoya has expanded into international markets, however, it had some difficulty establishing recognition. The complex, traditional seal posed a challenge — particularly in American markets, where signage is very important.”
“Rather than simplifying the existing logo, which contained many elements that were irrelevant or incomprehensible to American audiences, we focused on the distinctive lettering style of the name, extracted the recognisable Y, and set it in a bowl shape. This revised visual identity now works effectively in all applications, from signs to app icons. The new lettermark, in the Yoshinoya orange, will be adopted in both the US and Japanese markets — alongside the original seal that will continue to represent the long tradition of the brand.”
From my initial observations, the workers here were all happy to serve the customers. They happily greeted me with smiles on their face. I am not sure if it is just a cultural difference or not, but the workers back in the States all have grumpy attitudes towards their customers. They also take sanitation more seriously here, as observed by the masks each worker wore over their face and gloves worn over their hands.
There were many different combinations of food to choose from. I went with the chicken and beef combo, along with all the sides that came with the combination meal. This included their version of kimchi vegetables, broccoli with seaweed bits soaked in their version of ponzu sauce, and one drink. The variety here is an obvious distinction.
The portions, however, are a lot smaller than those in the States. When I order a beef and chicken combo in the States, it’s a challenge trying to finish the entire order (large). In Taiwan, I finished it with no problem and have room for more.
The quality of the meat cannot top that of the States. Both the chicken and the beef were not as tender. The sauce on the chicken was also not as flavorful. They do have red ginger that you can get yourself on the side, just like in the States.
Presentation here was a lot nicer. Everything was served in actual bowls and plates unlike the Styrofoam counterparts in the States.
Overall, I liked the quality of the Yoshinoya chains here in Taiwan. The entire presentation, store design, and logo provided a more sophisticated feel of the chain overall. They can, however, work on the meat quality more, but again, USA does have higher quality beef. If the Yoshinoya chain can take the best of both worlds and combine them together, then they will be better overall.