Service delivers famed ramen to the home

by Asako Takaguchi

Kyodo

You no longer have to travel far and wide to try ramen or dishes from popular restaurants that are much talked about.

On takumen.com, run Gourmet Innovation Co., you can find ramen with miso, soy sauce or “tonkotsu” pork bone broth among other varieties from some 100 famous eateries across Japan.

If you order by 9 a.m., you can receive frozen noodles and soups along with “chashu” sliced pork and other toppings the next day.

Makiko Shigematsu, 35, a company employee in Tokyo’s Nakano Ward, always keeps ramen from takumen in her fridge.

“It isn’t easy for us to go out for dinner with small kids, but if we use takumen, we can always enjoy a popular shop’s ramen while at home,” Shigematsu said.

Gourmet Innovation launched the service in July 2010 in response to calls from ramen fans who said they hate waiting in long lines in front of shops and women who feel uncomfortable entering ramen shops where customers are often mostly men.

About 35,000 people have signed up with takumen, of which a third are women, according to the Tokyo-based company. It sells about 15,000 packages a month on average.

“Our customers include men who order for their pregnant wives and those who buy friends noodles from their hometowns,” said Gourmet Innovation President Takuma Inoue.

Since the company handles most processes, including procuring materials for packaging, managing orders and delivering products, ramen shops only need to freeze their noodles and soups.

On Gochikuru, another popular food delivery site, members can choose from among over 4,000 menu items, including sushi, “bento” boxed lunches and ready-made meals prepared by established restaurants.

Star Festival Inc., which operates the site, said companies order from Gochikuru for meetings and events, while individual customers order for parties at home.

“Some customers use our site because they like dishes at a specific shop,” a company official said.

The company started the service in May 2012, selling an average of around 200,000 meals per month. It develops recipes together with restaurants.

Star Festival now has a footing in Tokyo as well as Osaka, Aichi and Fukuoka prefectures, and plans to expand into other parts of Japan by the end of this year.

Gurunavi, a restaurant search site, has offered a delivery service since 2004, providing pizzas, sushi and ready-made meals from popular restaurants.

  • Warren Kung

    Internet is changing POS business models and time and this will make the market even more efficient since this will eventually make ramen making more process driven (if it is not already) and eventually maybe we will have robots making ramen in a perfect world.