Bento, Japan’s multi-dish boxed lunches, come in a variety of styles. While it’s most common to make your own or pick one up at a cheap takeout joint, there’s also a whole sub-industry of high-class bento delivery services that cater business conferences and other high-rolling events.
Of course, rich and powerful clients tend to have demands as high as their positions on the corporate ladder. They expect the food to be delicious, the service to be impeccable, and now, with Platinum Lunch, they can expect their bento to be delivered by beautiful models and actresses.
As you might guess from its overarching name, Social Capital Research Institute is a company with varied business interests. One of its recent endeavors was a bento delivery service for customers with special medical needs, and while that’s definitely an admirable niche market to serve, the company received complaints about its delivery staff.
This got the company thinking about offering bento delivery that focused not only on flavor and convenience, but also on hospitality and beauty. To that end, Social Capital Research Institute partnered with talent agency Platinum Productions, and Platinum Lunch began operations this week.
▼ One of Platinum Lunch’s deliverywomen…Oh, and also an unagi bento.
The idea of employing a team of up-and-coming actresses and models to deliver food to businesspeople might seem like the daydream of a group of lonely old men, but the idea for Platinum Lunch actually came from a female employee at Social Capital Research Institute, where 70 percent of the staff are women. The company sees Platinum Lunch as a win-win for everyone involved, as shown by a statement regarding the venture:
“For new actresses and models, this of course allows them to supplement their incomes during downtime in the afternoon. We also believe it provides them with an opportunity to learn etiquette and polish their manners.”
As such, Platinum Lunch isn’t just handing off a pallets of bento to any Platinum Productions member with a pretty face and shoving her out the door. Instead, it provides training and guidance in serving technique, grooming, and how best to explain the dishes to diners.
But while the comely delivery staff is the icing on the cake, it’s important for the food to taste good, too. Customers can choose meals from one of Platinum Lunch’s roughly 20 partner restaurants, which encompass Japanese, Western, and other Asian cuisines.
Prices for each bento range from 1,500 to 5,000 yen (US$13 to $44). That makes Platinum Lunch bentos a fairly affordable luxury, on a per-person basis, but the minimum order size is a total of 30,000 yen (onto which a 10-percent service and delivery fee is added). And just in case you’re willing to splurge and gorge yourself to have one of these ladies bring a meal to your apartment, you should know that Platinum Lunch delivers exclusively to corporate functions, not private homes.
Currently, delivery is only available for the Minato, Chiyoda, and Chuo wards of central Tokyo, where the offices of the city’s movers and shakers are clustered. Platinum Lunch’s website asks customers located outside those three areas to contact the company about the possibility of arranging delivery. You’ll also need to plan ahead, as order must be placed three days ahead of time.
There are two final points to bear in mind. First, it’s luck of the draw for which model or actress will bring you your bento, as clients aren’t allowed to specify which delivery person they’d like. Second, and the stipulation most likely to disappoint creepily obsessive diners, no, you can’t take the lunch box home with you to enshrine after the lovely delivery lady hands it to you. Platinum Lunch collects all containers once the meal is over.
Still, as long as you don’t have any issues with the service’s conditions, Platinum Lunch is an easy way to add a little glamour and eye candy to your business lunch. Just make sure not to get so carried away staring at the would-be starlets that your food slips out of our chopsticks and falls onto your presentation notes.