Office Glico, Business Model of Extremely Japanese Style

What do you do when you are a bit hungry while you are working at your office? Are you going to go to the nearest convenience store to get some snacks? or do you have any food vending machines in your office?? In Japan, we have very popular and “epoch-making” food (actually, snacks and sweets) providing system called “Office Glico” by one of major Japanese confectionary makers, Ezaki Glico Co., Ltd. Of course, there is the one in my office and I have been a great fun of the system since I started working.

What is like “Office Glico” system?

The system of Office Glico is quite simple. It is a plastic box with 3 drawers, which contained snacks such as rice crackers and cereal bars, chocolates, cookies and candy inside. It is called a “Refresh Box” as I knew it for the first time. Each snack & sweet is provided by 100 yen and we just put coins into a mouth of green frog (it is a kind of piggy bank) on the box, and a staff of Glico company visits our office once a week in order to refill and collect money. As both the plastic box and the piggy bank aren’t locked by keys, so you can steal products and money if you want to do, but nobody does it.

“Refresh Box” of Office Glico provided by Glico Company, One of Major Sweets Manufactures in Japan (The photo from
We put 100 yen in a mouth of plastic green frog when you get a snack from the box. (The photo from

Japan is a country of “Vending Machine Paradise”

Some of my foreign friends are so surprised to see so many vending machines outside on the roads. They always asked me that nobody breaks machines to steal drinks and money inside, but actually I seldom saw people who did that kind of thing. (I just encountered persons who were crawling on the floor and tried to collect coins under machines before, but it was a quite rare case.) If you have visited rural areas in Japan, you might see some unattended vegetable stands besides fields or next to bus stops. If you want to get these vegetables, just put coins into the box on the stand, then vegetable sellers (farmers in this case) come to collect money regularly. In fact, there is few people who don’t pay money intentionally or steal from the box. It seems to me that the system relies on Japanese temperament such as moral view and the way of thinking that human nature is fundamentally good. Office Glico is also the same kind of logic and it seems to work well ONLY in Japan.

Japan is a country of “Vending Machine Paradise”
The Image of a Unattended Vegetable Stand on The Road

In relation to Japanese temperament, there were almost nobody deprived any food and goods from collapsed shops and supermarkets when we were attacked by massive earthquakes in Hanshin-Awaji area in 1995 and the north-eastern area in 2011. Although I watched on TV news that some people who lost moral spirits stole properties from individual houses, basically plunder and robbery seldom happen in Japan even under the urgent situations, especially in case of natural disasters.

No Office Glico, no business life for me!?

Talk back to Office Glico, I was a kind of “premium” customer for them when I worked for my previous company. I was super busy at that time and had worked for long hours until midnight. The refresh box was next to my desk, so I often bought many snacks and sweets from them. In particular, when my brain worked so hard, I was starving to have something sweet!! Not quite often, but sometimes I ate almost all products in the box by myself (Of course I paid each time). It may not so surprising that my junior staffs gave me the refresh box as a gift when I left the company in order to change my job. They had already checked that I bought so many items from the box, wow so ashamed… This is one time gift, so Glico staffs never visit my house to refill, however, I am always welcome if they come. Because I am still keeping the empty box with a plastic green frog on the refrigerator at home 🙂

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