If you’ve visited Waikiki before, there’s a good chance you have eaten at a Zetton Inc restaurant. Zetton owns and operates Aloha Table, Goofy Café & Dine, HEAVENLY Island Lifestyle, ZIGU, ALOHA STEAK HOUSE and Paris Hawaii.
Like many other restaurants, covid has turned their business on its head. Prior to the pandemic, multiple restaurants and many employees were a measure of success. Once the pandemic came to Hawaii, these assets became problematic.
Director of Operations at Zetton, Makoto ‘Mild’ Hasegawa
Makoto ‘Mild’ Hasegawa has been with Zetton since 2006, and is an instrumental figure in their operations here in Hawaii. Prior to becoming Director of Operations, he worked in various Zetton restaurants in Sydney, Tokyo, and Hawaii. We learned from Makoto that sales fell to 15-30% compared to before the pandemic. The move to take out only early on in the pandemic and the rules limiting seating for indoor dining have taken their toll. When the infection numbers in Hawaii worsened, the safety of their customers and employees weighed heavily on their minds. Currently, they have paused operations at all Zetton restaurants since 9/1/2020.
Far from a cookie cutter chain, Zetton has been innovative with their physical locations. Two of their restaurants, ZIGU and Paris Hawaii are on the first and second floor of a renovated historic building in Waikiki. The renovation had to clear multiple inspections and stringent historic preservation requirements, delaying their opening for 2 years. Although a setback, they used the extra time to hone in on the restaurants concept which led to a superior offering once they were able to open.
Support from the local community has been strong. Makoto recalls a regular at ALOHA STEAK HOUSE who sent them kind words of encouragement and told them he was waiting for their other restaurants to open. “Our whole staff really appreciated those comments. We want to live through this pandemic, and are longing for the day we can support our local community again.” Makoto says. When things stabilize, Makoto recommends trying the Kobe Beef Premium Loco Moco at Aloha Table Waikiki. It’s won the 111 Hawaii Award for Best Loco Moco 3 years in a row.
Scratch Kitchen in Kakaako has a passionate group of loyal customers. They sit comfortably at the intersection of local Hawaiian and Southern cooking. We love that we can get Creole Shrimp and Grits and Loco Moco on the same menu. It doesn’t hurt that portion sizes are big, and the presentation of their food is oh so good for the gram.
The current owner of Scratch Kitchen, Gary is a serial entrepreneur . After starting an IT business in 2004 he came to Hawaii in 2017, and Scratch Kitchen is his second food business on the island. He is particularly fond of the open kitchen layout of the restaurant, which allows customers to “see the kitchen staff’s energy and passion”.
Pivoting hard to delivery and take out during the pandemic, Gary says that businesses has been sustained at 80% of the levels seen before covid. Their pancakes and brunch items were already popular, generating a heavy buzz on and off the island. Gary plans on expanding their dinner service, along with new locations on the West and East Side in the future.
Milk n’ Cereal Pancakes
An optimist, Gary finds comfort in the fact that the “kitchen never dies, and people still eat. ” Look for a new focus on take out and dine in dinner service. Live music is slated to come soon as well. He goes a long way for his customers, sanitizing meticulously and bringing in air purifiers to the restaurant. He wants people to stay safe and feel comfortable in his establishment, and it shows.
Supporting Oahu’s Small Businesses
Here at Oahu’s Best Coupons, we are very invested in the community of small, locally owned businesses on the island. Due to Covid-19, many of these businesses are struggling. With the unprecedented drop in Hawaii tourism, many of your favorite businesses may struggle to keep their doors open. We hope that our readers will visit and support them so we can all rebuild the Hawaii that we love.