Snack time! Office workers in Japan use the Glico Office kiosk-in-a-box to satisfy their snack cravings. – Reuters
In Japan, the maker of Pocky has found a winning way to keep office workers happy and make money.
Japanese confectionery maker Ezaki Glico, best known for its stick-shaped Pocky snacks – called Mikado in Europe – has taken convenience to a new level for corporate employees too busy to pop out of the office with kiosks-in-a-box filled with munchies.
Drawing inspiration from unmanned road-side vegetable vendors common in rural Japan, Office Glico comes as a three-drawer box, roughly the size of a countertop file cabinet. Each Office Glico set contains 24 items when fully stocked. Company workers simply deposit ¥100 (RM3.10) into a frog-shaped coin bank, open a drawer and take the snack of their choice.
On the face of it, relying on trust alone may seem risky, but Japanese are well known for their honesty, not to mention strict laws regarding petty theft – people charged with the crime of not returning a found wallet can face up to 10 years in jail.
Treats for hard work
Japanese corporate culture is legendary for long working hours. A Japanese worker puts in an average 1,735 hours a year, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), far more than most European nations.
Office Glico, which also offers a fridge-and-freezer version carrying drinks and ice-cream, now serves 1.8 million people in 100,000 locations, twice the number of Japan’s ubiquitous convenience stores. Last year, it racked up US$44mil in sales and turned a profit for the first time since it started 12 years ago.
To drive growth, it plans to add breakfast items and midnight meals. It sees potential growth in nursing homes to take advantage of Japan’s fast-ageing population, where seniors outnumber children by about two to one. It expects sales to grow another 30% in three years.