Down by the 'bay' | Hawaii Jobs

Down by the ‘bay’

Chefs Neal Sumimoto and Paul Santos at work.

Sushi Bay, a family-owned restaurant in Kapolei, “revolves” around its mission to serve delicious, high quality food to please guests.

The eatery on Farrington Highway provides dine-in seating with a rotating conveyor belt — also known as kaiten — on which individual plates of food pass by guests as they carefully make their selections.

“Guests may order as well off of our menu, which has over 80 items. We serve nigiri sushi, sushi rolls, beef, chicken, and noodle dishes as well. All of our menu items can be for takeout as well,” said Lance Yamamoto, president and co-owner.

Yamamoto, who purchased the Kapolei establishment from the previous owner, explained that he and his wife, Jacqueline, co-own the business with Jacqueline doubling as manager of the eatery’s front of house.

The goal of Sushi Bay is to be a successful business in the state, focusing on the local community.

“The majority of our guests are local, but we do have many from out of state,” Yamamoto said, adding that employees of nearby hotels and resorts recommend Sushi Bay to their guests.

Server Jassmine Romena takes down a phone order.

Sushi Bay opened in 2011, but Yamamoto took over operations and re-opened in February 2013.

Prior to buying Sushi Bay, he honed his experience with 19 years of working at several other established Hawaii sushi restaurants.

“When I took over, I changed the menu, portions, products and pricing. I have a lot of experience with the conveyor belt system and knew what I needed to do to make it successful. We have been very fortunate to be in this position today. I am thankful for all our staff and our loyal customers throughout the years,” Yamamoto said.

“We are a fast-paced, high-volume restaurant in a small space, so it gets very busy at times. We have various positions like other restaurants, but employees who can multitask are the key,” he emphasized.

While Sushi Bay currently has a solid foundation in the key positions, the company is always looking for staff with a good work ethic, are punctual and who work well with others. Sushi Bay hires both employees with experience or entry level.

“We strive to create a family-friendly atmosphere. We care for each and every employee we hire. Our priority is to service guests with quality products, good portions, and great service at affordable prices,” Yamamoto declared.

Other central employees of the company are executive chef Neal Sumimoto, lead chef and back-of-house Paul Santos, senior lead front-of-house supervisor Chanel Kaito, and lead supervisor Valerie Inafuku.

Santos explained that he has been employed at Sushi Bay for five years.

“What I love most about working here is all the support from management that got me to where I am today, and all the returning customers that I’ve served and gotten to know.”

Meanwhile, Sumimoto shared that he has decades of experience working in the culinary industry and loves working in a restaurant and making sushi.

“Although we are a small restaurant, we take care of our employees and will continue to strive to make it the best company to work for,” concluded Yamamoto. “We have flexibility and understand that a winwin situation is best for a company and its employees.”

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THE 411

COMPANY: Sushi Bay

LOCATION: 590 Farrington Highway, Kapolei

PHONE: 693-9922

OWNERS: Lance and Jacqueline Yamamoto


BENEFITS: Full medical, dental and vision from HMAA, paid vacation, retirement program with company match, flexible scheduling, and annual bonus for full-time staff members

NOTEWORTHY: Owner Lance Yamamoto highlighted that Sushi Bay has company parties twice a year