Trail meets Japan Centre

In this blog series we're putting operations in the spotlight and getting unique insights from the front line. Today we're meeting Japan Centre's Jonathan Whitley.
Caroline Joyce
Jul 2023
4 min read
Japan Centre's Store Front

Since launching in 1976 Japan Centre has gone from strength to strength to become one of the biggest Japanese retailers in the UK and Europe. The group consists of a buzzing food hall in Central London, homeware offerings, a wholesale division and also includes the ever-popular Shoryu Ramen restaurants.

As you’d expect from a business with so many moving parts - smooth running operations are key to their success.

We caught up with Japan Centre's Head of Operations Jonathan Whitley to find out how they’re using Trail day-to-day to streamline operations within the business.

How would you describe your role at Japan Centre?

I look after all aspects of operations across the group including customer service, sales, stock, maintenance, health & safety and food safety.

What were the main issues before you started using Trail and how has Trail helped you?

Lack of visibility in terms of when checks were completed, how accurately they had been completed or were they done within the correct time frames etc.

Trail means we can easily monitor checks on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. It improves compliance and our team finds it more efficient and easier to use than previous paper based systems. We also have better records for when the EHO comes visiting.

What's your favourite thing about the app?

Checks can be updated or amended easily and the changes take effect immediately.

Was Trail easy to implement within the business?

Yes - very. Straightforward and simple to build; the team have picked it up really easily.

What's the best thing about Trail from your team's perspective?

No more paper. It reminds the team what checks are due and presents them in order

Do you have an idea of where Trail has saved you time/money?

Yes, less paper for sure. Around 100 sheets saved, per month, per site.

Have you changed the way you run your operations to save energy and keep costs down?

Yes absolutely - and we’ve also implemented energy saving checklists on Trail which has helped with this too.

Finally, what advice would you give to someone starting out a career in hospitality right now?

It's great fun - hard work - but very rewarding. What gives you a bigger buzz than helping others to celebrate special events and enjoy themselves? Come join the hospitality party!


Try out Trail for yourself - sign up to our 14-day free trial here.

What customers are saying

"I f****** love Trail, it's taking my businesses to the next level."
Josh Paterson
"We rarely provide training to our guys, they just bought into the idea straight away. I love that I have a full visual of everyone's activity in front of me."
Katrin Toots
Compliance Manager
“It’s not a paper diary that’s covered in barbecue sauce. We have clarity over what’s done in our sites and are confident going into our audits.”
Jay Brown
“The EHO visited almost every site last year and every store was given a five star rating."
Jay Brown
Operations Chef
"We turned our Costa Checks and various compliance forms into regular tasks on Trail, which has contributed to some of the best scores we have had."
Delroy Daniels
Operations Director
"Our teams love it, it gives our managers of all levels absolute clarity on what they need to achieve every day."
James Brown
Operations Director

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