What is a popular ‘Customer Service’ and ‘Food & Drink industry’ job for foreign nationals?

What is the “Food and Drink industry” and “Customer Service” job?

You love Japanese culture and are looking for an opportunity to communicate with people. Then the food and drink industry is the perfect place for you! Many international students have had great experiences. In this article we will go over the details why, how and what of the Japanese food industry.

What can you expect in the “Food and Drink industry” and “Customer Service”?

Sales is an important aspect of this industry and cover a range of different services and products. The industry consists of, restaurants, small shops run by individuals, convenience stores and lunch box stores. There is an overwhelming amount of job supply and provide a range of advantages. You will have the opportunity to apply your Japanese and acquire unique Japanese service customs. Also, there is a big demand for employees and the salary is pretty good!

Why is the “Food and Drink industry” and “Customer Service” so popular?

This question can be broken down into 4 reasons.

No complex Japanese language requirement

It is possible to get by with basic daily conversational Japanese. Naturally, your Japanese language skill will increase while taking orders and checking people out, which is a big plus. Of course, to increase your reading skills you can challenge yourself by trying to read the Japanese written menu.

Acquiring Japanese communication skills

In the food and drink industry you have a lot of face to face contact with customers and colleagues. Through everyday conversations you will be able to acquire the unique way Japanese people communicate with each other.

High salary and lots of job offers

Data provided by the Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO), indicates that half of all international students have experience in the food and drink industry in Japan. One of the reasons for this high statistic is the high salary. Although, easy employment due to the excess job offers also play a big role in this statistic.

No prior experience is required

Even though you have no prior experience in this industry you will be just fine. There is proper training making sure you are ready for the real deal. The skills you acquire during your work here might come in handy for a job in a luxury restaurant in the future!

Suitable Person

I like to engage with people

Communication is very important in this field. If you like to interact with people this industry is perfect for you. Especially for those who want to learn Japanese in a practical environment.

I like to make people happy

It is very rewarding if you can make someone’s day better. If you take joy in someone else’s satisfaction you are highly suitable for this industry. Being genuinely thanked for your service is very fulfilling.

I want to meet many people

You will serve many different customers if you work in this industry. This provides great opportunities to talk and meet with a lot of different people. This keeps the work fresh and challenging.

Those who are up for a challenge

There is always room for improvement. At first you might make some mistakes, but those are learning experiences. If you are not afraid to make mistakes, keep challenging and improving yourself, customer service might just be the industry for you. Not only will you be able to apply these experiences directly to your work, but also during your everyday life.

Job Description

The work content depends on the type of store you are employed at.


There are casual restaurants and more high-end places. However, the work will mostly consist out of seat guidance, taking orders, recommending items, check people out, seeing the customer off, and clearing up the tables. In many cases there are communicational standards and advanced Japanese language skills will be required.

Family Restaurant

This type of restaurant is a bit more casual and is often a chain restaurant. The customer base often consists of families looking for a good time. Although you will be expected to take orders, recommending items, check people out, clear tables and guide people to their seats, advanced Japanese language skills are not required.


This could either be a privately-run café or a chain café and are focused on the type of people close to that area. Nevertheless, the work contents are mostly the same and consist out of guide customers to their seat, ordering, recommending items, checkout, clearing tables. There might be occasions where you’ll be making drinks, sandwiches or parfaits.

Privately run drink stores

In the case of restaurants that are run by individuals, there are shops that only have drinks and shops that offer both food and drink. The main work contents consist of guiding the customers to their seat, ordering, recommending items, checkout, clearing tables, and sometimes simple cooking. Basically, the size of the shop is small and there are many regular customers.

Convenience stores

Almost all convenience stores are found throughout Japan. You’ll be expected to work the cash register, simple cooking, cleaning and stocking shelfs. Convenience stores are open 24/7, allowing you to choose your own working style. A lot of people use these convenience stores providing great opportunities to meet and talk to new people.


The “Food and Drink industry” and “Customer Service” is one of the most popular occupations for international students. It is not required to have any prior experience and have great opportunities to acquire new skills. You’ll be able to improve your Japanese language and communicational skill in a practical way. These new skills provide you with a great advantage for future job-hunting activities.


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