BARI-UMA: A ramen restaurant franchise showing strong performance abroad under Japanese-style management
[ 2016.07.21 ]
Rich and creamy tonkotsu (pork bone broth-based) shoyu (soy sauce) ramen with noodles made in the restaurant's kitchen
BARI-UMA, managed by With Link Group (Hiroshima City, Hiroshima Prefecture), the franchise headquarters established in 1992, features rich and creamy tonkotsu shoyu soup, aburi chashu (roasted pork fillet), and ramen noodles made with the noodle-making machine set in the restaurant's kitchen. The franchise has opened 34 (6 directly-managed and 28 franchisee) restaurants in Japan and a total of 10 restaurants abroad, consisting of 2 directly-managed (Singapore) and 8 franchisee (2 in Malaysia, 3 in Indonesia, 2 in Hong Kong, and 1 in Macau). Other than BARI-UMA, With Link Group, operates a total of 30 franchise ramen restaurants in Japan under the names TORINOSUKE, featuring chicken paitan (white broth) ramen, and FU-UN MARU, featuring rich and creamy tonkotsu gyokai (seafood broth-based) tsukemen (dipping ramen). *The numbers of the restaurants are as of June 2016.
A system that makes it possible to offer tasty bowls of ramen overseas
With Link Group has provided support to the operation of the restaurants overseas with a system that makes it possible to offer tasty ramen of BARI-UMA in any country and guidance on Japanese-style service for restaurant guests.
To begin with, ramen soup and tare (sauce) are made in Japan, put in retort pouches and delivered to the restaurants overseas in order to ensure that the restaurants have a stable supply of tasty soup and tare. As retort pouched food products can be stored at room temperature, they have the advantage of lower transportation cost and management cost incurred during storage in a warehouse compared to frozen food products. As for the noodles, the headquarters staff choose flours best suited to making noodles from among those that can be purchased locally and teach the staff in each restaurant how to make noodles with the noodle making machine. Although they give necessary instructions, it is so easy to make the noodles that even a part-time or temporary worker can make them, which makes it possible to prepare fresh, tasty, preservative-free ramen noodles in the restaurant kitchen at low cost. Moreover, the restaurant staff are taught how to cook aburi chashu whose materials are also purchased locally.
Japanese-style omotenashi (wholehearted service) for restaurant guests
The headquarters focuses not only on the supply of food materials and cooking instructions, but also on the guidance on Japanese-style restaurant management and on how to provide wholehearted service to guests. The series of instructions start in the pre-opening training session, and after the opening, are given continuously by the dedicated overseas supervisors (SVs) regularly dispatched from the head office in Hiroshima or Withlink Singapore, a group company of With Link Group established in Singapore. As a result, in a BARI-UMA restaurant, you can enjoy a Japanese-style omotenashi service such as "properly-uniformed staff kneeling down (to show respect to the guest) and taking the order from the guest in a restaurant where every corner is pristine."
The Japanese Government appreciates the results of the operations overseas
The taste and omotenashi unique to BARI-UMA have won the support of local people and a monthly average of more than 5000 guests come to each restaurant overseas. The BARI-UMA in Tanglin, Singapore, among others, has shown continuous growth since its opening in November 2012, even though it is located at the edge of the main street, and in 2014, won a prestigious award for restaurants that provide quality food and service in Singapore. The results of these overseas operations were highly evaluated and With Link Group was selected as one of the Top 300 Small and Medium Enterprises by the Japanese Small and Medium Enterprise Agency in 2016.
The number of overseas restaurants exceeding that of those in Japan in three years is the target for BARI-UMA
The headquarters have recruited franchisees at franchise exhibitions in Japan and in ASEAN countries. At the JAPAN INTERNATIONAL FRANCHISE SHOW held in Japan, they came to know and successfully signed a franchise agreement with a listed company in Hong Kong. The franchisee company in Hong Kong with more than 45 restaurants in Macau, Hong Kong and mainland China says that it highly evaluated not only the good taste of BARI-UMA, but also the speedy response made by the headquarters. Mr. Toshiharu Eguchi, President & CEO, With Link Group, says "The Hong Kong franchisee is courteous and understands our position. The quality of overseas ramen restaurants still needs lots of improvement, and therefore, there is a chance for us to climb to the top if we enter the market now. We would like to take on the challenge with our franchisees who can share our corporate philosophy of 'integration of ethics and economy.'" With Link Group will further strengthen its Overseas Business Department with dedicated overseas staff to make further earnest effort in overseas business operations.