I bet you’d have never thought a restaurant that serves only canned food could ever become popular. Well, it can in Japan.
Eating cold food from metal cans with plastic cutlery, is not everyone’s idea of a good eating out experience, but Osaka’s Kanso Restaurant has been offering this exact type of experience for a while now and has enjoyed great success. Things have been going so well that Clean Brothers, the restaurant and cafe company behind the bizarre diner, has begun franchising the idea throughout Japan, under the name Mr. Kanso. And I’m not talking disaster shelters or anything like that, but big cities like Tokyo and Nagoya. The original Kanso opened in 2002, and there are currently 17 branches, 14 of which are franchises, but the number of interested franchisees is growing steadily.
There are no menus at Mr. Kanso restaurants, just shelves lined with about 300 different types of canned foods from all around the world that make the place look like a post-apocalypse shelter.. You can find anything from Hokkaido bear curry to French salad in a can, and that’s apparently very appealing to customers. According to some of the restaurant’s clients, the fun is in browsing all the different canned foods and trying out new flavors.
But why would anyone want to invest in a restaurant that only sells canned foods? There are several great reasons, and they all have to do with money. Because there is no cooking involved, there is no need for a well-supplied kitchen, or a staff of skilled cooks. Operating costs for a Mr. Kanso restaurant are also very low, adding up to about 3 million yen ($38,000), about a third of the usual expenses of opening and running a usual restaurant. Let’s say these are compelling reasons to open a Mr. Kanso, but what would possibly make customers go inside. That one I don’t have any answers to.
What about you, do you think the Mr. Kanso restaurant is a good idea?