What can serving sushi teach you about business?

Yesterday, I was yearning for some “brainless entertainment” and I headed on to Miniclip.com, only to find an interesting game – Sushi Go Round. And for some time (okay, okay, it got me stuck for over an hour! :mrgreen: ) I was so caught up in the game, and I played it over and over again.

Miniclip sushi game

I didn’t get my “brainless entertainment”. In fact, it was far from that. I was so frustrated why I could not serve my customers… and after many tries at it, I finally grasped the technique. I learned something, and something that really applies well into almost any business.

So, what can serving sushi teach you about business?

The Sushi Go Round game was a simulation of a sushi restaurant, you are the sushi chef, and customers are going to walk into your restaurant and ask for sushi!

Your job is simple. Serve your customers before they get frustrated and leave! :mrgreen:

Over on the bottom left, you have your ingredients – rice, nori, roe, unagi, salmon, shrimps. And you need to follow the recipe from your sushi recipe book, to make the sushi requested by your customers! Once the sushi is made, they are placed on the conveyer belts and your hungry customer will pick them up to eat. After they leave you will need to collect the plates, to make way for new customers.

Sounds easy? Not so.

My first game was the worst mess. I didn’t know my recipes well, and everytime there was a request, I had to refer to my recipe book, this took time, and during this time, customers are waiting!

You need to memorize your business recipes!

What is your business recipes? If you are going to service your customers and provide them with your proprietory products, you cannot afford to refer to you product manual in front of you potential customers. Product information must be at your finger tips!

So, I took time to memorize the recipes… and things got better. As I progressed to advanced stages of the game, there were more recipes to memorize, but I found that time spent to memorize the recipes will be well worth it, because it will allow you to prepare the sushi’s right at the moment you see the order!

Then the second challenge came. The conveyer belt was slow, and many times, before the plate could reach the customers seat, there were already grinning their teeth, on the verge of leaving.

I order to overcome this, I had to prepare sushi’s and put them on the belt, even if there are no orders for it. I trusted that orders will come.

You need to know your business demand, and be able to predict it!

In the fast moving world of business, it is already too late to prepare your order when the demand comes. While the demand for a particular type of sushi is pretty random in the game, real life demands follow patterns, they follow trends… and if you want to be able to capitalize on the trend you need to prepare in advance.

If you are in the Internet business use Google Trends to check the spikes, and optimize for these search trends in advance.

Granted, your predictions may not be 100% correct and you might end up wasting some effort… but in the long run, being prepared for the spike in business can bring you enough business to cover the cases in incorrect predictions.

Third issue. Again in the advanced stages of the game – I was required to prepare more complicated kinds of sushi – receipes that required all kinds of ingredients, which took longer time to prepare. Many times, I had to choose between serving the simple “califonia roll”, versus the ultimate “combo” sushi.

But I realised that the simple sushi will get me only Â¥60 – Â¥80 each, and the tougher ones will make me sometimes up to Â¥640 each! This means, that if I let my “combo” sushi customer get frustrated and leave, I’ll have lost an opportunity to make Â¥640, and I’d have to serve up 6 to 8 of the “califonia rolls” to make up for that!

If you can’t serve all your customers, choose the ones that will give you the most profit!

It sounds simple and logical enough, but how many actually practise it? Out of “simplicity” and the perception of “quick and easy money”, many of us want to get done with our “califonia roll” clients work before we start work on the “combo” customers. As a result, we end up running late serving our most important customers.

Who are your most important customers? If you serve this small group of customers well, will it pay off eventually?

Its amazing what a sushi game can teach you, isn’t it?


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  2. really good analysis, you made some good points and I really can relate to that. makes me think I wasn’t wasting my time playing games 😀

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