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Kura_Sushi_Frisco_Texas_0_1_1_0.jpg Ron Ruggless
A Kura Sushi USA unit in Frisco, Texas.

Kura Sushi USA sees positive impact from new rewards program

The revolving bar model also adds DoorDash as third-party delivery platform

Sales through Kura Sushi USA Inc.’s new rewards program have eclipsed the prior platform, executives said Thursday.

The Irvine, Calif.-based Kura Sushi, which reported earnings for the second quarter ended Feb. 29, said it was pleased with the new offering.

“U.S. members are now responsible for approximately a third of our sales as compared to less than the quarter with our prior program,” said Hajime Jimmy Uba, Kura Sushi president and CEO, on an earnings call with analysts.

“Our recent analysis on average rewards members [is that they] spend 10% more per ticket, even after factoring in discounts, and visit 1.3 times per month.” Uba said.

Mix has remained about the same, Uba said. staying flat at 6.3 plates per person year-over-year.

Uba said some customers have traded out from side-menu orders and from soft drinks to water.

“We do have a number of things that we expect in terms of opportunities for side-menu ordering, namely the biggest one being guests being able to order from their phones instead of just having to reach over their buddies sitting closer to the conveyor belt the tablet,” he said. “People can just use their smartphones as their menu.”

Jeff Uttz, Kura Sushi’s chief financial officer, said commodity costs in the quarter were at 29.6% of sales. Labor as of percentage of sales was 32.8% as compared to 31.5% in the prior0year quarter, he said.

Uba said the company recently secured a “very favorable” deal with DoorDash for third-party delivery.

“In these difficult times, we are able to keep our menu prices the same as in-store dining, and we expect the DoorDash sales to be beneficial to the margins,” Uba said.

Uttz said DoorDash launched in February on a rolling basis.

For the second quarter ended Feb. 29, Kura Sushi’s net loss narrowed to $998,000, or nine cents a share, from $1 million, or 10 cents a share, the same period a year ago. Sales increased to $57.3 million in the quarter, compared to $43.9 million in the prior-year period.

Same-store sales increased 3% in the second quarter.

Kura Sushi USA Inc. has 60 locations across 17 states and Washington, D.C. It was established in 2008 as a subsidiary of Kura Sushi Inc., a Japan-based revolving sushi chain with over 550 restaurants.

During the fiscal second quarter, Kura Sushi USA Company opened five new restaurants: in Kansas City, Mo; Skokie, Ill.; Columbus, Ohio; Euless, Texas; and Webster, Texas. So far in the third quarter, the company has opened one new restaurant in Orlando, Fla. Uba said the company expects to open 13 to 14 new restaurants his year.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

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