How much food and booze gobble up and guzzle down in 15 minutes? This is the challenge presented to patrons at Viking Izakaya Odaidoko Sakeba, where they can eat and drink as much as they like for ¥375. Opened in Yokohama last month, the place is already fully booked at weekends with customers eager to wolf down as much food and drink as they can within the allotted time.
Viking is not a tall blond Norse marauder but a self-service buffet and this one offers items such as oden, nabe (hot pots) and salads, as well as beer, shochu and cocktails. Customers are not limited to sticking to the 15-minute rule, but simply pay for an extra 15 minutes once the time is up. The concept may well catch on.
This year has seen a cut-throat price war among izakaya looking to break even under poor economic conditions and all kinds of tricks are being implemented to attract customers. Earlier this year we wrote about the trend of izakaya offering free shochu to customers and one price establishments selling dishes and drinks for prices as low as ¥270.
The concept of tabe/nomihodai (all you can eat and drink) deals is not new, but the shorter time period is. Typically izakaya offer these deals for periods of 90 minutes to two hours, after which time the (typically wasted) group is kicked out. We suspect that allowing customers to stay for as long or short a time as they like could cause problems for staff.