Of the 4 million people working in the Japanese food and beverage industry, about 167,000, or 4%, are foreigners. Therefore, communications are mainly in Japanese.
Only 10 – 20% of restaurants in Japan have English-speaking staff.
If you plan to work in a normal restaurant, you need at least daily-conversation level Japanese (N-4 of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test). To gain this level of Japanese, it takes 300 – 600 hours of studying.
However, as the number of foreign tourists has been increasing rapidly in recent years (32 million tourists visited Japan in 2019), the number of shops using English to communicate is also gradually increasing. In places like Niseko in Hokkaido, Hakuba in Nagano, or Kyoto, Okinawa, etc.
where there are many foreign tourists, some people are able to find jobs without being able to speak Japanese.
In addition, head chefs at authentic Italian, French, Thai, Chinese, and Indian restaurants are often foreign chefs with more than 10 years of experience, and they are hired even though they don’t speak Japanese.