Photo/Illutration A store sign of Gyoza no Ohsho, a nationwide chain of outlets serving gyoza dumplings (The Asahi Shimbun)

OSAKA--While most restaurants' sales are down in the dumps due to the coronavirus pandemic, one nationwide chain that specializes in gyoza dumplings has enjoyed a healthy appetite among customers.

Ohsho Food Service Corp. is going strong despite Japanese being asked to stay at and work from home to fend off infections.

The company said Nov. 4 that it logged 6,275 million yen ($59.77 million) in sales for October, a record for the month since 1967, when the Kyoto-based chain was founded.

It added that its performance has been recovering since summer although it reported a decline in sales and profits for the half-year financial results through September.

In particular, sales of food that customers can take out home or are delivered jumped by 40 percent, compared with October last year, according to Ohsho Food Service.

The chain’s strategy of expanding offerings beyond its signature gyozas for people working from home, such as a bowl of ramen or a bento box of “mabo dofu,” or a spicy Sichuan dish of tofu and minced meat, has paid off.

Customers like the convenience of being ready to eat if heated in a microwave oven.

Sales of takeout and delivery food accounted for 33 percent of overall sales between April and September.

The sales figure for them represented an increase of more than 10 percent, compared with the figure for a full year of fiscal 2019, the company said.

Buoyed by strong sales of delivery food, Ohsho Food Service plans to raise the number of outlets providing delivery service to about 500 from the current 300 by March. There are about 730 Gyoza no Ohsho outlets across Japan, including franchisees.

The company also said customers are returning to its restaurants close to residential areas, putting sales on a recovery track.

“We want to open outlets with parking lots in the suburbs,” said Naoto Watanabe, president of the company, at a news conference on the financial results on Nov. 4.

Despite recent positive signs, fallout from the pandemic is expected to make a dent in the company’s full-year financial results through March.

The company projected net profits would drop to about 3.7 billion yen, down by 28.7 percent from a year earlier.