“Japan’s sixth largest gas station chain” — Jomo — is raking it in by encouraging its patrons to linger, reports Mariko Mikami in Business 2.0 (Oct 04). “Our objective is to make hanging around more fun,” says Yuihito Fujita, of Jomo. And more profitable: Over a three-month period ending in July, following a makeover of eight of its stations, “average monthly vehicle visits per station were up 22 percent over the previous year … driving a 15 percent sales increase” and triggering an 82 percent jump in per-station operating profits.
Jomo calls its new approach “Value Style,” and it comes in direct response to the reality that developing American-style convenience stores wouldn’t help them because, in Japan, “7-Elevens and vending machines are found on practically every street corner.” So, instead, Jomo hired “a leading Tokyo restaurant designer, who introduced not just spiffier pumps but also comfortable cafes, kiddie areas, and massage chairs.” Then there’s Jomo’s famous “car-wash dance.” That’s where you have “two men in blue outfits gyrate around a vehicle, slicing hoses through the air like samurai swords. They towel off the car, their movements perfectly choreographed. Customers watching from behind a glass wall sometimes applaud.”