Amid food hygiene concerns, the renowned Japanese sushi chain Sushiro has introduced an innovative dining solution. In Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya, Sushiro has replaced traditional rotating “kaiten” conveyor belts with digital ones. Customers can now order sushi and other dishes through touchscreen devices, complete with animated dish representations. Once ordered, a separate conveyor belt delivers the selected items directly to the customer’s table. This technological advancement aims to improve food safety, enhance customer satisfaction, and elevate the overall dining experience.

The shift to digital conveyor belts was prompted by a concerning trend called “sushi terrorism.” This trend involves individuals emulating viral online videos by tampering with food and sharing soy sauce bottles on traditional conveyor belts at Sushiro restaurants, leading to arrests and a significant lawsuit. Akindo Sushiro is suing a high school student for 67 million yen ($480,000) after he posted a video on social media showing him tampering with sushi on a conveyor belt. This incident cost the company approximately 16 billion yen ($115 million) due to decreased customer turnout and a drop in the parent company’s stock value. While the introduction of digital conveyor belts aims to enhance hygiene and modernize post-Covid dining, it has sparked debates among customers, with some lauding the potential for reduced food waste and improved cleanliness, while others worry about losing the beloved traditional kaiten style.