Japanese ramen noodle! One of the most popular Japanese foods in the world
OMO Co. Ltd. continues to grow in under the influence of COVID-19. Franchise Japan interviewed the company's representative, Mr. Takafumi Shimada won two Michelin awards for his two brands, "Ano Junk Story Ano Kobe Enishi" and "AnoAno”.
Love for work: I want to sell what I love
My father can cook any kind of food – Japanese, Chinese and Western. Once he told me. “You are not good at study. You should find a job that you can do by yourself. For example, an udon or ramen chef.” My father could make any kind of food. This could be said to be the opposite as he was not end to end. I followed his words and started working at a ramen shop right after graduating from high school.
When I was 24 years old, I had another job outside of ramen and I worked at that job for a few years. It was a brawny telecommunications company. What I realized at the time was “I want to sell what I want to sell. It’s hard to sell something I that I don’t want to sell”.
My happiest moments were when I was selling ramen noodle.
At the time I had a lot of personal debt, but I was able to borrow money from the bank to open my shop.
Now I can say that “People who achieve something will accomplish it, no matter what the circumstances”.
Love for colleagues: Nurturing others is important
I started the company and there were hard times and happy times. While the number of my ramen shops increased, there was a time when the harder I worked on my ramen, the more my ramen staff quit. I could make good ramen noodle, but I wasn’t able to train people. I wondered why my staff couldn’t do what I could do. Looking back, I was doing something that was almost like power harassment. Then I introduced Credo to improve my QSC. This has helped my staff understand why they work at my restaurant, what it means to treat customers, and how happy they are to be able to serve through ramen, so their turnover rate has dropped dramatically.
AnoAno, a Michelin award-winning ramen shop, is a collaboration between tantanmen noodle of ENISHI in Kobe and the Osaka’s Junk Story salt ramen noodle created by Mr. Masahiro Ikawa It is still a small ramen shop, but we will continue to expand throughout Japan and the world.
Our love for ramen: Aim to improve the status of ramen
The price of a bowl of ramen noodle is around JPY1,000.
There was a time I wanted to improve the status of ramen. At that time, a prominent businessman I met at a networking event advised me to go abroad.
I had an old friend who owned a café and he went to Singapore to look for investors.
We took one step forward and two steps back. Finally, an investor who might invest in us came to Japan.
I intentionally did not take him to restaurants that customized to inbound tourists. I showed him local Izakaya where only Japanese customers come, my small counter-only ramen shop and finally my head office. This investor said to me, “You are interesting” and he decided to invest for me.
Our main ramen shop is a purely Japanese house. Customers can enjoy our ramen overlooking the Japanese garden. The shop is located far from the city, but customers come all the way.
I also involve an activity called the Ramen Improvement Committee. This is a community of ramen shop owners and ramen lovers. For example, we visit children’s homes and give them the opportunity to experience freshly made ramen noodle. Through these activities, we hope that children will think it’s cool to be a ramen maker, and that they will become ramen lovers and chefs of the future. Our goal is to share the feeling that ramen noodle is delicious and to spread the goodness through ramen noodle throughout the world.
Showing the world our love for Japan: Pushing the Japanese Way
What I noticed in Singapore was that in a restaurant with about 100 seats, customers enjoyed chatting with each other and leaving their freshly made ramen noodle on the table. We thoroughly researched the staging of the restaurant to create a truly Japanese experience.
Our ramen shop in Singapore is a counter only shop. Here, you can watch the ramen chefs make ramen noodle in front of you. They wear white Japanese kappo suits, cut their hair short like chefs at a ryotei or sushi restaurant, and even teach their customers how to sip their ramen soup. In other words, we have been able to turn “delicious” into “fun” and create an attractive way for our customers to see the worldview in a way that is uniquely Japanese, which has made us a popular restaurant.
I would like to share correct knowledges and information about Japan with the people of the world. I also post videos through YOUTUBE. In the beginning, I was actually looking for advertising revenue as well. But now, my mind has changed. Through ramen noodle, I genuinely want to help people, make the world a better place, and help others what in any way I can. For this reason, I’ve turned down offers that say ” I just want to make money with ramen noodle “.
Love for "AnoAno": Anyone can become a Michelin ramen chef
Even if your ramen noodle has awarded a Michelin star, you will not be able to please many people if you do not have the know-how to make it by yourself. In order to spread good ramen noodle around the world, we thoroughly quantify and systematize our ramen noodle. This includes the position of the equipment in the kitchen, the amount of ramen soup, and our service for the customers. In other words, for example, it’s a system that allows a 5-year-old child to make ramen noodles.
Through the videos, we are preparing to help people understand the know-how of ramen noodle making around the world, even under COVID-19.
Also, Mr. Nishimoto, head of the Corporate Strategy Office, and his staff are trying to reduce the field work for me and the ramen shop managers as much as possible. In other words, we work hard every day to make sure that everyone can run her/his ramen shop with just our system.
Beyond the delicious food, we will continue to ensure that all of our customers can share “our story” and enjoy the AnoAno brand of ramen noodle around the world.