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Ikkousha Ramen Cebu which is a franchisee of Ikkousha Japan was launched in December, 2016 and it just got the award of Best Ramen 2017 from Sunstar. We are planning to expand this food venture by the second brand which is called 99 Ramen in order to introduce authentic ramen to more local people. Many business people try to have restaurant business in Japan after they success some business. However, I had a big suspect that I can succeed restaurant business and hesitated to enter to this category because I feel that it would be very competitive and I am not a chef. Today, I would like to explain why I started Ikkousha Ramen Cebu.
There are so many successful Ramen Brands in Japan such as Ichiran, Ippudo and Nagi. The reason why I chose Ikkousha was quite simple that one of my friends knew the key person of Ikkousha. Actually, Ichiran does not have a franchise system at all and they only open their own branches. Besides, Ippudo does not have good reputation about franchise system that many say it is too expensive to survive in foreign countries. In my mind, I had already had decided that if I enter to this category(ramen business), I should ask my friend if he can introduce Ikkousha to me.
I strongly believe that we should prioritize our networking first. For example, if I telephone to Ippudo as a stranger and ask about a franchise, how can I get a good condition of franchise contract? Anyways, I met the key person in Singapore and decided to enter to ramen business. My guess was right! I have known my friend since 7 years ago and he is a nice guy. The key person is his friend and he is also a nice guy. This is important for business.
One more thing about ramen business in foreign countries is that we should adjust our products and prices to each foreign counties. Philippines is not like Japan and Singapore which are already advanced countries. It is true that Philippines has a big potential and growing market but it is impossible for us to success without meeting of the demand of Filipino people. In fact, only Japanese restaurants which can satisfy local people can have stable sales here in Cebu.
There are other popular Japanese food such as Sushi, Sukiyaki, Tonkatsu and Curry Rice. Why did I choose Ramen? Yes, I love Ramen. I posted so many ramen photos before thinking about it as my business. However, I can not find ramen restaurants which have same qualities as in Japan. Thinking about Sushi, I knew that not only training sushi cook would be very tough here but also maintaining the qualities of raw fish would be almost impossible here. And this is the biggest reason that many Filipinos can not eat raw fish. I really wanted to introduce Authentic Japanese Ramen to local people.
It was December 18 for the grand opening of Ikkousha Ramen Cebu. I believe that it was the moment when Authentic Ramen had been introduced in Cebu at the first time. Every day, so many people visited us and enjoyed having our ramen. In the first 2-3 months, I was there and observed what types of people would visit us. The majority of our customers are very rich people here. As you can see the prices of Ramen, they have 250-450 pesos for each ramen. Basically, most of local people normally can afford to paying only around 100 pesos/meal.
It was really a great success of Ikkousha Ramen Cebu, undoubtedly. So many rich people visited and still visit us to enjoy our ramen and sometimes they meet their friends and greet each other there because the community of rich people here is really small. Actually, the daily sales had gradually started going down and I considered why I started this business here.
Our ramen venture had just started a year ago with the passion that we want to introduce our authentic ramen to more people. We has already had the second brand of Ikkousha as 99 ramen whose ramen price is only 99 pesos. I believe that our business in 2018 will be much bigger than 2017 with 99 ramen. Our ramen journey just started. We will have 100 of 99 ramen restaurants in the future.
Thanks for reading all.
Managing Director Living in Cebu since 2013. Bachelor of Economics from Osaka University(1993) MBA from University of Chicago Booth School of Business(2015).