Our Story


The late founder, Bunzo Tanuma always wanted to contribute to society in hope of repaying the lives of his young comrades killed in the war. When Keio University requested him to prepare meals for students in the dormitory cafeteria (Currently in Noborito, Kawasaki city), he gladly accepted it. Amidst the past-war food shortage Tanuma procured food and he even provide poor students with food at no charge. Our founding principle of “providing services that are appreciated by people” started with the students who are the future of Japan.

Episode of history01

Establishment of corporate motto


“Making others happy leads to our own prosperity.”

The idea behind our corporate motto –

Bunzo Tanuma used to always listen and give advice to students and even invited them over to his house to spend New Year’s eve together when they couldn’t go back to their hometown. Years later, when the students Tanuma had cared for become adults working in big companies, they asked Green House to initiate and manage their company canteen. These offers boosted our company’s growth considerably. One good turn deserves another – our corporate motto came from this lesson from that time.
“Making others happy leads to our own prosperity.”

Alt Bunzo Tanuma working in his office inside cafeteria (1952)
Alt Bunzo Tanuma when he was a first lieutenant. (right)
Alt Hiyoshi Campus, where the company was founded. – Keio University
Chapter 1

Start of the restaurant business

In the year 1954, we started as a limited company as the cafeteria management of Keio university Hiyoshi campus took off. Right then, our cafeteria was evicted in order for the Hiyoshi commemorative hall to be built there for the 100th anniversary of Keio university’s founding. Although the cafeteria reopened a year after being demolished with the replacement thanks to Bunzo’s enthusiasm, he had to raise funds for rebuilding and give a long break to the employees. This hardship of consignment business that he experienced gave him an idea of going into restaurant business as strengthening the management foundation.
Bunzo decided to open a high-class Chinese restaurant as the second project and the Tonkatsu restaurant as the first project as there was Shinjuku Subcenter Plan. In December 1966, the 1st Tonkatsu restaurant “Saboten” opened in the Odakyu Department Store underground shopping street in conjunction with the completion the first phase of the Shinjuku Subcenter, and the Chinese restaurant “Shahoden” opened in Shinjuku in January 1967. Later, “Saboten” began to expand in Kichijoji in 1970, Nakano, Kinshicho and Chiba in 1972, and Chinese restaurant “Shahoden” opened a trade center in 1970, Atsugi in 1873 – the expansion of the stores in Japan started.

Episode of history02

Origin of the name “Saboten”

We want to be loved and trunsted by the people for a long time.

When Mr. and Mrs. Tanuma were preparing to enter restaurant business, they saw cactus plant (“saboten” in Japanese) holding up only with small amount of water in the desert during their overseas training tour. Inspired by their vitality to survive in any environment, the restaurant was named “Saboten”.

Alt The logo of “Tonkatsu Shinjuku Saboten” in 1966.
Alt The current logo of “Tonkatsu Shinjuku Saboten”

The current logo is designed with a motif of a type of cactus called “Kinshachi” (golden barrel cactus) in a family crest shape – it has the high quality and sophisticated feeling while shaped like the sun, with the idea of always shining on customers.

Chapter 2

~Creating the foundation for multi-business and expanding into Asia~

While “Tonkatsu Shinjuku Saboten” was expanding, the start of delicatessen business in 1987 following the opening of “Delica Hiratsuka store” became their major turning point. With the tagline of “Taste the restaurant dishes at home”, it gave “Tonkatsu Shinjuku Saboten” the chance for many customers to be fond of it. We had 100 stores in 1995 and the 200th opened the following year – the stores increased rapidly. In addition, as we made use of the know-how that we cultivated for 30 years, Casual Dining “Shi-an Gyoza” opened in 1998 followed by “Kayu-san-chin” in 2001 – the multi-business started to formalize. Because Green House Group, a contract food service, concluded a technology licensing agreement with LG Distribution Co., Ltd. (currently named Our Home) by Korean LG Group in 1991, our Saboten brand concluded a technical assistance agreement with them while Japanese food was becoming popular as “Nissiki (Japanese style)” in Korea.

Episode of history03

The birth of the first Delicatessen Saboten restaurant

In those times, women’s social advancement progressed, and first delicatessen store (Lasuka Hiratsuka store) opened in 1987 where the food was cooked in the store for take out in order to meet the needs of women who wanted to buy dinner to take home. The store became a hot topic as a place where you can “enjoy the restaurant dishes at home”.

Alt Delicatessen 1st store
Alt Delicatessen 1st store
Chapter 3

~Further global expansion~

Well-balanced and healthy Japanese food is drawing more and more interest centered on Asia. Green House Foods has opened a stores in Taiwan in 2004, Thailand in 2008, and Singapore in 2010 to accelerate overseas expansion. In 2013, the company expanded to the mainland China (Beijing) and currently has over 120 stores in 10 countries / areas.
In 2005, the company acquired five Western restaurants including Italian restaurants from Romana Food Service Co., Ltd. and acquired all shares of CANY Co., Ltd. held by Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd. in 2013 – it gave us an opportunity to develop wider range of business categories and brands such as Japanese, Chinese and Western foods.

Episode of history04

Advanced world-class restaurant design

Spanish Dining Rico has won 4 internationally prestigious design awards such as 2015 LICC (London International Creative Competition) in U.K., 2016 A’ Design Award in Italy, 2016 American Architecture Prize in the U.S., and “German Design Award 2018” in 2017. The unique interior design with a different taste in each area, reminiscent of Spanish cities, is drawing attention along with a variety of menus based on our famous Iberian pork cuisine and traditional dishes from all over Spain.




Saboten business category

Chinese dining