What is the secret of the $3.90 menus?
What is the secret of the $3.9...

What is the secret of the $3.9...

What is the secret of the $3.9...

What is the secret of the $3.9...

What is the secret of the $3.9...

What is the secret of the $3.9...

Every menu item is $3.90! What is the secret for the success of running the reasonably-priced and delicious izakaya?

By Aya Ota
There is a restaurant which is rapidly becoming a topic of conversation. They offer every food and drink for one price of $3.90, and do not take tips. The name of the restaurant is “Thank You Sakaba Acchan”, which started just recently in February of this year in the midtown east district that is the center of the business district of Manhattan.

“Although the location is pretty close to the Grand Central Station, even one block away makes a difference in attracting customers. It is necessary to do something different so people would talk about it in order to be appealing to more customers,” says Mr. Taiki Wakayama, the President of the “W&E Hospitality Group” who runs about 15 restaurants in New York.

The W&E Group opened “Teriyaki Boy” in March, 2015, exactly one year ago, where you can take out bento bowls for lunch time, and becomes a standing-room-only drinking place after 5pm. The joint was doing well due to its casual atmosphere and excellent menu that includes yakitori made with selective jidori chickens, delicious izakaya style food items, and sake. However, the standing-room-only style bar was not quite welcomed by some customers, especially among Japanese business people in the area. After some trial-and error period, they made a big change. The place remained as “Teriyaki Boy” for lunch time, and renewed as “Thank You Sakaba Acchan” for the evening time. This new simple and reasonable “no tip, everything is priced at $3.90” concept with widely varied and delicious food items seems to be working well since its new start. Its fashionable interior may also be contributing to collecting many lady customers unexpectedly.

The reason for being able to keep the price low from the standing-room- only style bar period without compromising the quality or quantity of the food is as follows: first is the interior space and layout of only about 20 seats, which can be seen from the open kitchen for the staff to keep their eyes on the customers. There are only 3 employees working for the whole place. The labor cost is kept low by the cooks working as servers as well.

The menu is also very well thought to keep the cost low. The staff goes out and get the selective ingredients by themselves as much as possible. They also try to add menu items that can be cooked in short time for the efficiency of operation by effectively use the natural flavors of the ingredients in the dishes such as “One Pound Chicken Thigh”, “Addictive Salty Cabbage”, “Cold Tofu Tower”, and “Onion Salad” to the others that take time and more care to cook such as “Beef Intestine Stew”.

This better use of time does not affect the taste or quality. It is surprising that they still manage to offer over 30 different dishes plus 5 to 7 daily specials. Another reason for the efficiency is that they take cash only for the payment.

The open hours have been extended to 4 am., which resulted an increase of customers that includes people in the same industry who drop by on the way home. Right now they have 2 rotations with maximum capacity each time, but their goal is 4 rotations a day. It is a splendid operational tactic to fully take advantage of the location as the midtown where many people hang out 24 hours a day.

“W&E Hospitality Group” is currently running 15 casual Japanese restaurants with the concept of “An American eatery where 20 dollars is worth 100 dollars”. Mr. Taiki Wakayama succeeded his father, Kazuo to become the second President 4 years ago. After graduating a college, he was once employed by a stock trading company in Japan, but he wanted to go back to his original desire to run a restaurant someday by utilizing the background and experiences he had growing up. After building up the experience working as store manager for 3 years in the West Co., Ltd. In Japan, he came to the United States, and has been energetically running the 15 US restaurants. He also values relationships among the store managers, and works diversely by starting a study group for them, consulting them, etc.

The name, “Teriyaki Boy” was the name of a beloved bento shop closed 10 years ago, which was taken over by the W & E Hospitality Group, which Mr. Wakayama fondly remembers. He put a lot of special thoughts about this former shop in making the concept of, and how to run “Thank You Sakaba Acchan”.


食べもの・飲みもの全て3.9ドル 均一料金、しかも、チップなしで提供することで、急速に話題になっている店がある。マンハッタンのビジネス街中心地、ミッドタウンイースト地区で2016年2月にスタートしたばかりの『サンキュー酒場あっちゃん』だ。


同社では、ちょうど1年前の2015年3月に、昼食時には丼スタイル弁当のテイクアウトを提供、夜5時から立ち飲みバーとして営業する『テリヤキボーイ』を開店した。厳選した地鶏の焼き鳥をはじめとする居酒屋料理とお酒を気軽に楽しめる店として、評判になったが、日本人ビジネスマンも多い地域柄、“立ち飲み” というスタイルが馴染まなかったと言う。試行錯誤の末、昼食時は『TeriyakiBoy』のまま、夜は『サンキュー酒場あっちゃん』へと、大きくリニューアルしたのだ。「全品3.9ドルでチップなし」というコンセプトのお得さと分かりやすさ、そして、品数も豊富で料理も美味しいということで、新規開店後の評判は上々だと言う。店内の雰囲気がおしゃれなためか、女性客が多いというのも意外性がある。


もちろんメニューにも工夫をしている。食材はできるだけ自分たちで買い出しに行くことで、より厳選した原料をより安価に仕入れている。「モツ煮込み」や焼きものなど、手が込んで時間のかかる料理だけでなく、「鶏モモ一枚焼き」「塩キャベツ」「摩天楼 冷や奴」「オニオン・サラダ」など、素材の持ち味を生かし短時間で調理できるメニューを増やすことで、オペレーション面での効率化も図っているという。効率化は図っていても、決して味やクオリティに妥協していない。メニューは全体で30品以上、日替わりメニューも毎日5 ~ 7品提供しているというので驚かされる。値段を抑える工夫のひとつとしては、会計をキャッシュオンリーにしているのも挙げられる。


『W&Eホスピタリティグループ』では「20ドルで100ドルの価値を生み出したい」というコンセプトで、“アメリカの食堂” とも言えるような、カジュアルな日本食店を約15店舗運営している。若山大木氏は、父・和夫氏の跡を継いで二代目社長となって約4年。大学卒業後、いったんは日本で証券会社に就職したものの、育った環境や自分が培った経験を生かして「飲食店経営をしたい」という原点に立ち戻った。そして、日本の株式会社ウェストの飲食店で3年間店長を務め経験を積み、アメリカに戻って、15店舗の運営に奮闘する日々を送っている。飲食店経営者の横のつながりも大事にし、勉強会を立ち上げたり、コンサルティング業をこなしたり…と、業務は多岐にわたる。

『Teriyaki Boy』は同グループが惜しまれながらも10年前に閉店した弁当屋の名称を受け継いだもので、若山氏にとっても愛着がある。『サンキュー酒場あっちゃん』のコンセプト作りやマネジメントにも、格別な思い入れを持って取り組んでいる。

Thank You Sakaba Acchan
835 2nd Avenue
New York, NY 10017
Tel: 917-388-2039
Monday thru Saturday 5pm-4am
(They are open between 11:30 am and 2 pm as “Teriyaki Boy”.)