Top 3 Ramen Franchises in the UK

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ramen noodle franchise

With the ever-increasing diversity of the UK’s food scene, Japanese cuisine is more popular than ever. You can capitalise on the growing demand for Asian restaurant dishes by starting your very own ramen franchise business. Keep reading to find out how you can join the thriving restaurant sector.

Ramen, a type of noodle soup, originates from China but has become one of Japan’s archetypal dishes. It uses a particular type of noodle, which is yellow in colour as it’s mixed with alkaline salts to help it maintain its structure and texture in hot soup. 

In Japan, specialised restaurants called ‘ramen-ya’ are the ideal place to buy a bowl of ramen. There are more than 35,000 ramen-ya across the country - but that’s not all. Japan is also home to the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum, which was founded in 1994 as the world’s first food amusement park. Here, visitors can sample ramen from nine different restaurants and explore ramen-themed gift shops.

Why start a ramen franchise business? 

  • Ramen is a popular dish - Ramen noodles became popular in Japan after the second world war and are still one of the country’s favourite foodstuffs, making up over 25 percent of all meals eaten outside of the home (Kushner, 2012).

  • You can target students and people in search of comfort food - While ramen dishes can be nutritious, the term holds connotations of fast food, and most dishes have high carbohydrate and fat content. Because of this, Japanese people often refer to the national dish as ‘gakusei ryori’, meaning ‘student cuisine’. 

  • You can get creative and offer a diverse menu - Popular ramen dishes differ from region to region in Japan, but some of the most common types of ramen include shoyu (soy sauce), shio (salt), miso (soybean paste) and tonkotsu (pork bone). In addition to the main flavour of the ramen, each dish is often finished with a topping. This could be bamboo shoots, shredded leeks or onions, beansprouts, eggs, seaweed, sweetcorn or butter. But 95 percent of the ramen found in Japan is topped with chashu, Chinese-style roasted pork. 

Ramen franchise options

Shoryu Ramen

Operating under this franchise brand, you can offer authentic Hakata tonkotsu ramen from the Hakata district of Fukuoka city on the southern island of Kyushu, Japan. Your cuisine will be characterised by thick, rich, white pork soup and thin, straight ramen noodles. 

  • Becoming a Shoryu Ramen franchisee: If you’d like to run a ramen business in central London or another region of the UK, this could be the franchise for you. You’ll be able to launch a restaurant half the size of the average casual dining outlet, thanks to Shoryu Ramen’s business model. 

  • How much you need to invest: A £400,000 investment is needed to launch a Shoryu Ramen restaurant, including franchise fees of £25,000. 

  • What you get for your investment: All franchisees are given four weeks of training at existing restaurant branches, as well as three weeks of support in their own location. You’ll get plenty of help setting up your business and preparing for the launch day, as well as a comprehensive franchise manual. Plus, Shoryu Ramen provides national and location marketing and PR support, continuous menu development and monthly and quarterly review visits. 

Marugame Udon

This franchise serves ramen and specialises in udon - thick wheat flour noodles. In Japanese-style restaurants with open kitchens where customers can watch their order being prepared, Marugame Udon offers fresh udon, tempura and omusubi rice balls. The restaurant aims to serve each of its customers within just 30 seconds of taking their order and has the potential to serve over 250 customers an hour – that’s more than one every 15 seconds. 

  • Becoming a Marugame Udon franchisee: Having already launched more than 1,000 restaurants in Japan, South-East Asia, Australia and in California in the US, Marugame Udon now has its sights on the UK. Marugame Udon is particularly interested in master franchisees who are willing to build five or more units in one region. 

  • How much you need to invest: There’s plenty of choice for anyone joining the restaurant franchise, with three different models on offer: the food court model (500+ square feet), the street-front model (1,500+ square feet) or the stand-alone model (2,500 square feet). Depending on the type of store chosen, you’ll need to make an investment of between £225,000 and £500,000. 

  • What you get for your investment: As a part of its franchise package, Marugame offers a state-of-the-art training programme. Throughout their venture, franchise partners will receive guidance from the brand’s local support structures, including regular store appraisals, operational advice, updated promotional materials and access to strong property contacts.

Chozen Noodle

This ramen franchise chain is based in the UK and operates more than 20 units, 15 of which are franchised. The chain brings the rich diversity of Asia to British consumers and deliberately limits its menu of main meals to between eight and 10 options to ensure quality over quantity. In London and Oxford, Chozen Noodle dishes can even be delivered to customers’ doors, thanks to partnerships with Deliveroo and Uber Eats. 

  • Becoming a Chozen Noodle franchisee: You’ll serve dishes inspired by a number of Asian countries, including China, Japan, Malaysia and Thailand. Main meals include popular dishes like chicken katsu curry, sweet and sour chicken and thai green chicken. Salads, sushi, spring rolls and prawn crackers are also on the menu.

  • How much you need to invest: You should have at least £30,000 in capital to open your own Chozen Noodle franchise business. 

  • What you get for your investment: This franchise supports its investors with training and help with site selection, design and fit-out, marketing and buying stock. As a franchisee, you should develop all the skills and know-how you need to launch a thriving business. 

Browse other franchise investment opportunities

If you’d like to start an Asian food restaurant but a ramen franchise doesn’t quite fit your requirements, why not take a look at our noodle bar franchises or bubble tea businesses? As more and more consumers are investing in food to eat on the go, investing in an outlet specialising in freshly-made, over-the-counter products could be a wise move. Click on the links above to browse current opportunities. 

>> Read more articles on the Food and Beverage sector

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