Sushi Restaurants in Hamburg – What is still Japanese about them?

Term Paper, 2007

17 Pages, Grade: bestanden


Table of contents

1. Introduction

2. Aim of survey

3. Methodological Approach
3.1. Data Collection
3.2. Difficulties of Data Collection

4. Results
4.1. Sushi Restaurants in Hamburg
4.2. How Japanese are German Sushi Restaurants?
4.2.1. Owners and staff
4.2.2. Restaurants and food

5. Evaluation

6. Conclusion


List of Tables

List of figures

1. Introduction

Only a few years ago, Sushi was something really exotic for the Germans. Sushi Restaurants outside of Japan could rarely be found and their target groups were abroad living or travelling Japanese.

But since 2 or 3 years one can find more and more new Sushi Restaurants in Hamburg, almost every day there is a Sushi-Bring-Service-Flyer in my mailbox and at the supermarket in my street, they started to offer Sushi-boxes from the fridge beside frozen pizza, ice cream and others. For me, as I love to eat Sushi, these changes are great, because as the demand of Sushi is increasing, the prices are decreasing. Finally even I, as a poor student, can afford to eat Sushi more often. And I do so.

But although I am visiting Sushi Restaurants quite often, almost once a week, I have recognized that I know very less about them, in comparism to what I know about other restaurants, for instance Italian ones, which I am also visiting quite regularly.

So as the research topic for this semester of Intercultural Communication II was to find out more about people who are sharing collective identity and run ethnic businesses, this term paper gave me the opportunity to find out more about Sushi Restaurants in Hamburg.

2. Aim of survey

This term paper is going to focus on the Sushi Restaurants in Hamburg. The aim is to find out, what is still Japanese about the Sushi Restaurants here.

As I have never been to Japan, I was especially interested in the differences between the Sushi Restaurants here and those in Japan. Especially when I discovered an article with the title: “What is still Japanese about Sushi?” (Löffler, Stefan, DER STANDARD, 6.6.2007) I was wondering if the different nationalities who are running the Sushi Restaurants have influenced and changed a lot about Sushi, or rather if they left everything the same as in Japan.

By asking Sushi restaurant owners and employees in Hamburg I want to prove that as other nationalities than the Japanese, are dominating the Sushi sector in here, the only original Japanese details about Sushi stayed some ingredients such as the raw fish, rice and vegetables.

To be able to prove this thesis it was important for me to reach as many restaurant owners and employees as possible. For this reason, and also for the reason, that I did not wanted to occupy a lot of the target group’s time, I decided to use a self-administered questionnaire instead of the alternative to do interviews.

However due to the very limited number of questionnaires this survey does not claim to be representative. Additionally to the primary research I also used secondary data to prove my thesis.

3. Methodological Approach

As already mentioned I used a self administered questionnaire for this research as it is a quick method and can be interpreted more easily than an interview.

After having decided for the topic mentioned above, the big challenge was the preparation of the questionnaire. There have been so many questions according to the Sushi restaurants which came to my mind, but which of them would help to prove my thesis?

In the next chapter I will give a short overview according the experiences, ideas and problems I was faced with.

3.1. Data Collection

The self-administered questionnaire included 25 questions, which were subdivided into 3 major groups: personal details, background and closing questions (please see attachment). I planed, designed and constructed the questionnaires on the base of the book “Der Fragebogen” which was written by Kirchhoff and others.

I chose mainly multiple-choice questions in order to develop a questionnaire which could be answered by the respondents in 5 to 10 minutes, as I knew from my previous visits, that Sushi employees and owners were mostly busy during opening hours.

In addition to multiple-choice questions some questions were open questions, in order to obtain as proper information as possible. With open question one can get better answers as the respondent can bring in his own opinion and is not influenced by pretended answers.

I distributed the questionnaires on my own, in order to receive the results immediately and also because my intention was to mingle with the people.

3.2. Difficulties of Data Collection

I tested my questionnaire with a German Sushi Restaurant owner, who is a friend of a fellow student. This first test went very well, so I was very optimistic about receiving the information I needed very quickly, especially considering the friendliness and accuracy I was accustomed to in the Sushi Restaurants.

Unfortunately my assumptions were wrong. Only 3 out of the 15 restaurants I visited filled in the questionnaires immediately (1 of these was my test person – the German Sushi restaurant owner I mentioned before). The others asked me to leave the questionnaire and pick it up another day stating that they were busy or had to ask their boss. At the end I visited the restaurants up to 5 times, sometimes without receiving the filled in questionnaire at all.

Also because of the short opening hours, it was sometimes very difficult for me to reach my target group. As Sushi Restaurants are mostly open at night or in the late afternoon, there was no possibility to reach the employees and owners earlier. Usually the opening hours are also the hours when the restaurants are very busy, as most of the restaurants have an “all-you-can-eat” concept, which is very popular to the visitors.

After all I received only 10 copies out of the 15 copies of questionnaires I had dispensed.

4. Results

In this chapter I am going to analyse the outcome of my questioning. By analysing the first part of my questionnaire (personal details) my intention is to prove, whether indeed the Sushi Restaurants in Hamburg are owned mainly by not Japanese. By analysing the data from the other parts of my questionnaire (background and closing questions) I want to prove what still is Japanese about the Sushi Restaurants in Hamburg.

4.1. Sushi Restaurants in Hamburg

The first part of the questionnaire starts with general questions concerning the restaurant owners. The purpose of these questions was, to find out some personal details about the owners and also to prove if there is a major nationality who is running Sushi Restaurants in Hamburg.

According to the homepage of Infojapan ( and to the yellow pages (, altogether there are 40 Sushi Restaurants in Hamburg.

These restaurants can be subdivided into Sushi chains and Sushi Restaurants who are not part of chains as follows:

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Diagram 1: Sushi chains in Hamburg

As one can see in the above graph the restaurants who are not members of Sushi chains are slightly dominating the Sushi Restaurant sector with 23 restaurants. But still the number of restaurants who are members of Sushi chains is quite high with 17 subsidiaries.

These 17 restaurants can be assigned to 5 different Sushi companies:

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Diagram 2: Sushi chains in Hamburg

The biggest of these Sushi chains is the company called “Sushi Circle”, who only has 3 stores in Hamburg but over 20 restaurants all over Germany. With this amount of restaurants this chain is the market leader in this sector ( The restaurants “Sushi for friends” and “Sushi Factory” are regional companies who have each 6 branches in Hamburg which makes them the dominant Sushi companies in Hamburg. “Sashimi Sushi” and “Raw like Sushi” are also small regional chains with only 2 stores each.

This first classification of the Sushi Restaurants was significant for further analysing as 5 out of the total number of 10 questionnaires were filled in by the owners or rather the managers of the above-named 5 Sushi Restaurant chains. So within the group of the Sushi chains my research reached all of the chains. And as I questioned an equal number of chain and individual restaurants, possible differences between the two could be observed.

All of the 5 respondents of chain restaurants had the German citizenship and 4 of them were also born here (one was born in Italy).

According to this observation, the first result of the questioning was that the nationality who is dominating in running Sushi Restaurant chains in Hamburg is obviously German. As one can see from the first diagram, the restaurant chains are making up 42.5 percent of all Sushi restaurants in Hamburg so the group of Sushi chains is significant for the whole sector. The dominance of the Sushi restaurant chains can be explained by the fact that they include more than only 1 restaurant, so they can bond regular customers better than individual restaurants, for instance with store cards. Also they can guarantee better prices by having a good position towards the suppliers.


Excerpt out of 17 pages


Sushi Restaurants in Hamburg – What is still Japanese about them?
Hamburg University of Applied Sciences  (Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften)
Intercultural Communication II
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
File size
474 KB
Sushi Restaurants in Hamburg, Sushi, Japanese Food, Japan in Germany, Sushi in Germany, Sushi restaurants in Europe, Food, Row fish, Japanese culture, Japanese, Japan, Hamburg, Restaurants in Hamburg
Quote paper
Katharina Niciejewska (Author), 2007, Sushi Restaurants in Hamburg – What is still Japanese about them?, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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