New Zealand is to become the 16th country to see the opening of one of Japan’s fastest growing restaurant chains which features a bespoke multi-million-dollar fit-out.
Popular Japanese restaurant noodle chain Ippudo has more than 100 stores world-wide and its first local store will open in newly redeveloped Westfield 277 mall in Newmarket today.
Plans are also underway to open a further two more stores over two years throughout New Zealand.
Ben Cheong Ippudo spokesperson says as well as a win for those in the hospitality industry there will be a significant investment in local suppliers.
“Ippudo operates seven stores in Australia already which are based in Sydney, Perth, and Melbourne. We serve more than 2,000 bowls of ramen every single day across the ditch, and we expect this unique concept to take off just as positively here in New Zealand.
“We will be sourcing all our fresh products from local suppliers and this includes everything from meat, seafood, vegetables, fruits and many other base raw ingredients,
Ippudo was the first to revolutionise the ramen scene in Japan and Cheong says they’re excited to bring some of the culture and hospitality along with the traditional and modern flavours to New Zealand.
“Japanese food and brands have been consistently regarded as the epitome of quality and authenticity amongst Asian countries in the eye of the global market.”
“While we’ve seen that Kiwis have had a taste of Japanese food for a while, we think they are ready to experience another one of Japan's staples, which is ramen. Sushi is popular, but historically it was for wealthy people only. Ramen was, and still is today, the staple diet for the Japanese,” he says.
Ippudo serves Hakata-style ramen, which is characterised by pork bone broth and thin noodles - the most popular style of ramen in Japan. Their unique concept, combined with an emphasis on omotenashi (Japanese service hospitality), has translated well and helped the rapid expansion he says.
“Instead of being crammed into bars with limited seating, as most traditional ramen shops only have about 10 seats, Ippudo operates in a spacious setting with a mix of private and communal seating, which makes it easy for groups of family and friends to dine in together,” he says.
The simple ramen dish has also been transformed into sophistication, referred to as “Cosmos in a Bowl” and Ippudo keeps Instagram foodies around the world engaged as they are spreading images in hip settings while consistently sharing their love for ramen on the gram.
Cheong says that every new store opening helps bring Japan's soul food and hospitality to a new audience, to fulfil Ippudo’s commitment to giving smiles and ‘arigatou' (thank you/appreciation) with every single bowl of ramen.