A typical order might include ōmori beef bowl, raw egg , a scoop of shoga and a dash of spice. Little known to foreigners visiting Yoshinoya in Japan are the no charge special requests such as "tsuyudaku" and, less commonly, "negidaku" .
In the early 2000s, Yoshinoya triggered a discount war in Japan along with other chains such as , by introducing a regular gyudon dish for 280 yen, or around 2 United States Dollars.
In late 2001, a domestic incident critically damaged beef bowl sales. In late 2003, Japan suspended imports of American beef due to a incident in Washington, cutting off Yoshinoya's main source of short plate that is the main component of its beef bowl. This forced Yoshinoya to terminate gyudon sales in Japan on February 11, 2004. News of the removal of this item from Yoshinoya's menu caused its fans and non-fans alike to queue in massive lines at Yoshinoya restaurants all around Japan to taste what might be their last beef bowl for a long time. Yoshinoya then switched to selling ''butadon'' instead of beef. However, Yoshinoya restaurants in America continue to sell the beef bowl using American short plate, and restaurants in Japan sold a "gyū yakiniku don" .
In December 2005, Japan agreed to remove the restriction on importing US beef. A letter to customers was then put up in restaurants promising that the beef bowl would return in a couple months or so. However, in January imports stopped again because inspectors found banned cattle parts in a veal shipment from the U.S. In June 2006, however, Japan lifted the ban on imports, and on July 31, 2006, Yoshinoya reposted the letter promising to bring back the beef bowl in about two months. Finally, on September 18, 2006, Yoshinoya brought back gyudon for one day only in a ''gyudon fukkatsusai'' to promote the "return" of the gyudon on October 1, 2006.
In the United States, Yoshinoya has been selling variations from the traditional beef bowl, including a 'beef with vegetables bowl', a 'teriyaki chicken bowl', a 'shrimp bowl', and barbecue items. Their tempura bowls are no longer available.
Gyudon Come-back Fair
On September 18, 2006, to promote the return of the gyudon, a Gyudon Come-back Fair was held. Yoshinoya started selling gyudon—and ''only'' gyudon—from 11 am until they sold out. They would also only sell the gyudon for one day and limit take-out orders to four per person. The goal of the fair was to sell 1 million beef bowls on a single day.
People lined up at Yoshinoya franchises around the country to have their first Yoshinoya gyudon in two and a half years, with lines stretching around the corner even at the smallest shops. People who got a beef bowl on that day were rewarded with a special banner commemorating the event and a short note discussing the return of gyudon to Yoshinoya, informing them regular gyudon sales would resume on October 1, 2006. "Regular" sales, however, meant that they would only be sold the first five days of the month in October and November. On December 1, 2006, they began selling gyudon every day, albeit at limited hours.
Yoshinoya has restaurants in the following regions:
* Hong Kong
* Mainland China
* United States