CASE STUDY: Onigilly Japanese Kitchen

A One-Stop-Shop For Consistently Accurate Accounting Services

How R&R FMG & Restaurant365 Help Power Onigilly Japanese Kitchen’s Success

When we think of Japanese foods that have captivated the American palate, sushi, tempura, and ramen all immediately come to mind.

However, Onigiri, a type of rice ball with various fillings favored by the samurai as a quick lunch food during battles, has yet to achieve that same level of popularity. Despite being as common In East Asia as sandwiches are in the US, onigiri still isn’t well known to the American public.

Koji Kanematsu, the visionary behind Onigilly Japanese Kitchen, a 4-location chain in the Bay Area, aims to change that. Koji aspires to make onigiri as popular with Americans as hamburgers and pizza, and through Onigilly, he’s off to a great start. Yet, like any successful concept, Onigilly faced growing pains as it expanded, especially when it came to managing the restaurant chain’s accounting.

In the early days, Onigilly couldn’t afford an in-house bookkeeper, so Koji & his wife did their own accounting on Quickbooks. As the demands of running the restaurant chain began limiting their time, they outsourced their accounting work to an inexpensive external bookkeeper. Unfortunately, that vendor was mistake-prone, did p00r quality work, and provided sub-par service.

To resolve these issues, Koji transitioned to Sage Intacct, but the consulting firm he used to maintain Onigilly’s books on Sage were short on resources. Consequently, inventory was inaccurate, profitability was unknown, and Koji couldn’t get timely, accurate financials.

Finally, Koji reached out to Restaurant365. Restaurant365 recommended that Onigilly contact Restaurant & Retail Financial Management Group (RRFMG), their very first Platinum Partner, to help Onigilly get up & running on R365.

Koji interviewed RRFMG’s CEO Wayne Lipschitz, and learned that Wayne was once Corporate Controller of the Cheesecake Factory, which gave Koji the confidence that RRFMG had the restaurant accounting expertise Onigilly needed. He also interviewed RRFMG’s Sr. Client Account Director Kavita Gora, and was impressed to learn she was a CPA who would be his direct liaison for all accounting matters.

Koji engaged with RRFMG for his accounting needs, and they promptly migrated Onigilly from Sage Intacct to R365. RRFMG then began implementing inventory controls, managing accounts payable, and generating timely, accurate financial statements.

Since retaining RRFMG in January 2020, Koji noticed an immediate change in “…day-to-day bookkeeping accuracy. That’s the most important thing. You know they make payments on time and they create financial statements on time. So the basic thing is the most important one – we need an accurate number for us to make financial decisions, and RRFMG delivers that.”

With his concept in growth mode, Koji now focuses on his primary KPIs – revenues, year-over-year same-store-sales, & EBITDA. These metrics have become increasingly important in light of Koji’s efforts to develop his brand for a burgeoning franchising opportunity.

He states “It’s really complicated for our operation to create accurate EBITDA & same-store-sales numbers. It takes a lot of effort, and I think Wayne and his team do a great job. They always ask a lot of detailed questions and try their best to get all the answers needed to produce accurate numbers. I’ve retained a lot of bookkeeping companies, but RRFMG is the best I’ve worked with.”

RRFMG has also delivered value for Onigilly beyond just accounting services. Koji says, “Whether I have questions about new entities, or negotiating tactics with a landlord, or tax strategies, I’ve been able to get some great advice from RRFMG, because they’re very knowledgeable about the restaurant industry.”

Koji concludes, “With RRFMG, you don’t have to spend a lot of money, but you get good quality and it’s always consistent. They don’t make mistakes, that’s one thing, and also they provide all-in-one service. They take care of everything in one package – bookkeeping, accounting, and sometimes you know even consultation. All-in-one.”

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