Why Do Japanese People Love All You Can Drink & Eat? | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan

Why Do Japanese People Love All You Can Drink & Eat?

By Yae Dec 5, 2017

If you’re a foreigner who lives in Japan or came to Japan as a tourist, have you ever been in a situation like small gatherings or drinking parties with your Japanese friends?
Instead of ordering just the a la carte and a glass of wine, did you know there is a package menu course at izakayas in Japan?
Such course system is quite reasonable and lots of Japanese people enjoy this option a lot. This article will tell you about this amazing menu and why Japanese people are addicted to it.

1. What is All You Can Drink & Eat?

“All you can drink & eat”

This is a limited time menu package that you can find mostly in Japanese izakaya(Reasonable price restaurants, bars only), which sounds like a buffet but is different.
The course menu includes normally fixed 5-9 different dishes, limited alcohol like beer, wine, sake, and cocktails that are supposed to be consumed within la time limit of usually 90-120 min.
The price is different depending on the course menu and length of time, but the average is around 3,500 yen-5,000 yen.

This price being expensive or cheap is up to you to decide, but it’s obviously a more reasonable price with a fixed course menu compared to other dining options in Japan.

2.  Average Course Menu

Here are some examples of common course menus for all you can drink & eat:

【Price Average】
3,000 yen-5,000 yen

【Limited Time Average】
90 min-120 min

【Food Menu】
1. Appetizer
2. Assorted Sashimi (Raw fish)
3. Salad
4. Meat dishes
5. Noodles or Rice
6. Dessert

【Drink Menu】
1. Beer
2. Wine
3. Sake
4. Shochu
5. Cocktails

The food menu varies depending on the restaurants or izakaya but contains quite a lot of food to choose from and will definitely make you full in most cases.

3. In What Situations Do Japanese People Choose this Option?

Japanese people think this all you can drink & eat system is reasonable and convenient in following situations:

(1)Business Dinner

Whereas business breakfast is not very common, we do have business dinner quite often in Japan.
For instance, business dinner is designed for clients or vendors coming from other countries to deepen engagement with customers.
For the companies that have enough money for a large entertainment budget and don’t need to think about the price range, there might be no need to refer this article.
However, for those companies that have a limited budget, all you can drink & eat course menu package is a super useful system.

Having fruitful business dinner with important business partners with a low budget, don’t you think it’s supportive for the company account?

(2)Welcome Party or Farewell Party

If you’re working at Japanese companies, most of you probably have already experienced attending welcome parties or farewell parties.
In terms of hiring new employees, the time comes for retirement or changing jobs for the next step in your career,
everyone goes through that road once in a life.

In most cases, company members need to pay their own participation fee, so if there are all you can drink & eat system for these events, it’s easy on the wallets and they don’t need to worry about choosing the menu for 30-40 people but instead can just rely on the fixed course menu.

People can focus 100% on the purpose of the events. Time is money.

(3)Single Party Gatherings

If you’re looking for a boyfriend or a girlfriend, some of you may have attended blind dates.
Here in Japan, we have single party gatherings (same as blind dates) called “Goukon” in Japanese.
The concept is very simple. two or three men and women meet to have dinner or drinks together, and wish to meet new people.
Trying to focus on the conversation and knowing each other, all you can drink & eat system is very convenient and helpful.
Since it’s a limited time course, if that gathering is not so interesting to someone, they can go straight home after the time is done.

(4)Friend Gatherings

Some Japanese people use all you can drink & eat system for friend gatherings, especially if people get together as group of 4 or more. Fixed price system helps people to pay easier than splitting the bill afterwards.
Some people can’t drink that much and if people order from the menu each time and split the bill between everyone, including the people drink a lot, there will be a risk of feeling as though the price is “UNFAIR” for those who can’t drink that much.

Enjoy dinking and eating with feeling fair happiness.

4. The Notes You Must be Careful

Even if you can drink as much as you like in a limited time, you must be careful to not drink too much.
It’s your own responsibility to keep a good pace for drinking, but if you lose your mind and get dead drunk, you may be wasted, and you’ll black out in the worst case scenario.
If you know the movie “Hangover”, you don’t want to be in the same situation, right?
Even if you can drink with a reasonable price, keep up the drinking pace with only feeling little tipsy.
Don’t forget to drink water with the alcohol. This helps you sober up.
If you have worst hangover next day from drinking too much, you may have troubled your friends or people who you often drink with.

“It takes a long time to build up trust, but it only takes a second to destroy it”

Do you now know the backgrounds of the all you can drink & eat system in Japan?
If you’re the person who loves going to Japanese izakaya, try this fixed menu course with your friends, family or business colleague.

Japanese people love the key words, “Special Deals”, “Rational” and you can figure out why after experiencing this all you can drink & eat system in Japan.