Japan-based restaurant chain operator Skylark has announced its plans to end 24-hour operations at all of its outlets by April due to a lack of labour resources and a decline in demand for such services.

Skylark operates restaurant chains such as Gusto, Jonathan, Bamiyan, and Yumean, and will reduce its late-night operating hours at several restaurants to manage the manpower during the peak lunch and dinner times.

The company stated that approximately 560 of its outlets will cut down late-night operating hours later this month. Of the 560 outlets, 150 are currently open for 24 hours.

Skylark stated: “In the future, Skylark would improve customer satisfaction by improving the service quality during the busiest hours such as lunch and dinner times, together with the fundamental service reform utilising IT digital.

“In addition, we will continue to contribute to the local communities in order to achieve sustainability and increase social value, and engage actively to improve quality of employment and ensure job satisfaction, with the corporate belief that contribution to the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) through our business activities is a key issue.”

Amidst the crisis of labour shortage and Japan’s ageing population, Skylark joins large convenience store operators in reducing work hours.

Sectors such as catering, retail, construction and logistics sectors are also facing serious manpower crises.

As of the end of December 2019, Skylark operated 3,258 stores, including overseas locations, and caters to nearly 400 million customers.

The company had commenced 24-hour operations in its restaurants in 1972 but has been reducing operating hours in outlets since 2012.