On the business side of things
Now that Sushi-Rama and Osaka’s other ventures are hitting their stride, Osaka has taken a step back from the kitchen to focus on the business-side of the restaurants. “The kitchen is my comfort zone, but it’s just an evolution of my position,” he says. “Really building the business is where my focus is right now and I can’t do both.”
At first, taking a step back from the kitchen was difficult, but it’s getting easier as they hire and train the right people at each of the locations. “It’s important to find (and invest) in people with a foundation of the skill set you’re in need of and then build upon that,” Osaka says. “For instance, our Executive Chef, Shaun Motada, brought years sushi experience from his time in Hawaii and so we worked together to build his skills to incorporate management of 80 plus people across multiple locations.”
The partnership between Osaka and Wolf has also enabled the growth of this Denver restaurant empire. “He allows me creative freedom even though he’s quite the creative mind himself. His passion for travel is always sparking new ideas. Combine that with his business background and vision of growth structure (which is integral in this venture) with my strengths on the execution of operations and culinary direction, and you’ve got a strong business relationship,” Osaka says.
Success can be defined in many ways, and from an outside perspective, Osaka has certainly found some by hiring the right people, having a complementary business partner, creating replicable, unique concepts and in creating menus and recipes that people want to enjoy again and again.