The technological differences are also notable. JINYA Ramen Bar, which offers a more traditional dining experience, did not have online ordering at every location before the pandemic.
In comparison, the bushi is built with QR code ordering and will eventually incorporate self-ordering kiosks, all with the aim of reducing labor. The idea is that someone would float between the kitchen and the counter instead of standing in front of the cash register.
“All these things in mind, [Takahashi] I was just thinking about the future with the pandemic and everything, right? says Marketing Director Justin Bartek. “We want to make this as easy as possible. Then with our customer groups, they’re tied to their phones anyway, the people we’re targeting. So it works pretty well. »
Based on signed leases, JINYA Ramen Bar will open 12 to 15 restaurants in 2022, LaRue says, but aggressive pipelines from some franchisees could add to that total. Currently, the Northeast and Southeast are major targets, in places where Gen Z and millennial age groups “eat, shop, play and entertain,” as LaRue puts it. Because the concept is capable of generating a significant amount of volume in 2,500 to 3,000 square feet, he adds, owners are eager to strike deals.
“We’re getting new developments with some of the biggest developers in the country,” LaRue says. “It opened up new opportunities in new markets. But again, we’re across the country, and we’re not specifically targeting certain markets. We follow where the strong operators are, and obviously those who are interested in the development of JINYA. »
As for the bushi, about five units are planned this year. Think airports, college campuses, military bases, and food halls. For example, the bushi location in Glendora is located in a 19,000 square foot Glendora Public Market food hall, and the Westwood unit is part of a Kitchen United shadow kitchen operation in a Ralphs supermarket.
Even though malls are in decline (Coresight Research predicted that 25% will close within five years), LaRue says major developers continue to offer food court space in upscale A-rated malls.
takahashi said RSQ that his ultimate goal was to open 100 bushi outlets by 2024. While lofty, the goal is still achievable, LaRue says, because the concept requires minimal capital outlay and franchisees have the necessary infrastructure. to open quickly and efficiently.
“Based on the current opportunities that our current franchisees are seeing, in addition to the growth of new franchisees specific to these non-traditional locations, I think 100 is aggressive. But from a business perspective, we have the infrastructure to grow with that and be able to sustain that,” he said. “I think that’s a good goal to approach that. I think we’ll still be in a really good position.