This report analyses the Japanese market.
Rocky Fujii, who continues to be at the forefront of the noodle business as headmaster of the Yamato Ramen School, explains ramen soup essence and problem solving!
The booklet introduces the actual situation of ramen shops, explanations of ramen soup and answers to questions that are not on the website.
From the booklet “Ramen soup problem solving based on 17 years of experience since the establishment of the Yamato Ramen School and the essence of ramen soup that even ramen shop owners don’t know”.
Chapter 5: How to win in the global market”!
Chapter 5: How to win in the global marketplace
The current situation in Japan is one of a declining population combined with a falling birthrate and an ageing population, which means that various business markets are becoming smaller and smaller.
Therefore, it is a major challenge for the Japanese food service industry to expand overseas, where there is a large market, if it wants to expand its business even further.
Many people mistakenly believe that if they take Japanese ramen overseas, they will be successful, as ramen, which has recently become increasingly popular and spread around the world, all originated in Japan.
Food customs in Japan and overseas are completely different, and there is no end to the number of people who fail because they do not understand overseas food customs.
Below is a summary of the issues that Japanese people tend to fail when expanding overseas.
1. ramen is a fast food in Japan, but in other countries it is a dining or café
Japanese people eat ramen for lunch in ramen restaurants in 10 to 20 minutes, and the average turnover of customers is three in an hour.
Overseas, however, people eat slowly, taking about an hour even for lunch, so the turnover rate is very low and there is no custom of eating meals quickly.
In other countries, the noodle culture is not as developed as in Japan, so there is no sense of noodle stretching, and the noodles are eaten slowly, first by drinking the soup slowly with a spoon, then by eating the noodles with a fork and spoon, wrapping the soup around the fork.
Therefore, if you build a small restaurant with 20-30 seats like in Japan, the result is that sales do not go up at all and the business is not viable.
This is the most common problem for Japanese people who only know about Japanese ramen restaurants and have only lived in Japan.
In Japan, ramen is a typical fast food that is eaten quickly, but overseas, ramen shops are more like cafés or diners.
Therefore, many restaurants abroad are a fusion of ramen and izakaya (Japanese style pub) or sushi and ramen.
2. tastes vary widely from country to country
Our neighbouring country, South Korea, has a very low salt content in its food and does not like salty food.
There are a great many countries around the world that do not like salty food, and the popularity of Hakata tonkotsu ramen around the world is also due to the creamy soup and high soup consistency, which in turn makes Hakata tonkotsu ramen very low in salt content.
As an extension of Hakata tonkotsu ramen, the popularity of the equally creamy chicken shiratsu ramen has recently increased.
Conversely, some Eastern European countries with cooler temperatures prefer highly salted food.
The tastes favoured in South-East Asian countries also vary from country to country, for example, in the Philippines, sweet and salty tastes are favoured, while in Singapore, sweet and spicy tastes are favoured.
There are also significant regional differences within Japan, with Hokkaido, where temperatures are cooler, favouring a salty taste, and Kyushu, where a sweet taste is preferred.
If you open a shop without understanding these regional differences, it is difficult to be accepted.
In addition to these taste preferences, there are also religious restrictions, and Muslims are only allowed to eat Halal food.
3. if you go abroad, you are bound to fail
It is normal to make mistakes when going abroad, and it is important to accumulate know-how by experiencing a lot of non-fatal mistakes as soon as possible.
First of all, different countries have different laws, different systems, different food habits, different tastes, different religious issues, different education systems, different levels of education, etc. There is no end to the variety of problems you will encounter.
It would be a wonder if they succeeded, and it is impossible to succeed suddenly without failure.
There is no company that has not failed when expanding overseas in the past, and the key to success is to accumulate a lot of experience of failure, and to be able to connect failure to the next step.
It is also important to discard successful experiences in Japan.
Take time to make the first shop successful, build a successful business model, and once the business model is complete, attack it in one go.
The most efficient way to do this is to open multiple shops in a small area where the same business model can work.
・(Case study) Hachiban Ramen in Thailand has 127 outlets in Thailand alone
Many of the students at our noodle school also stumbled into failure at first, but have achieved success.
・(Case study) Uki Uki, the first Polish udon shop
For those wishing to see the fourth and subsequent issues
We have introduced up to three of the most common issues that Japanese people fail to address when expanding overseas.
If you would like to read more, please click below for a free download!