Asian restaurants have been some of the fastest growing restaurants in the UK. And, as a big part of this growth, noodle bars today count themselves as some of the most popular options for food goers in the UK. As this sector continues to grow and innovate, here are 5 of the biggest noodle bar trends in 2021.
The pandemic has forced many food restaurants to close. Some permanently. But, for those still open and continuing to thrive, food establishments have been forced to adapt to new ways of working, some of which will be sticking around for the foreseeable future.
In this article, we’re going to touch on just a few of the major trends shaking up the noodle bar industry. So if you’ve been thinking about starting your own noodle bar franchise, investing in a franchise, or are just plain curious, here are 5 trends we think you should be keeping an eye on.
What is a noodle bar?
Noodle bars and food establishments serving mainly - you guessed it - noodles. Don’t be deceived though, many noodle bar franchises offer a wide variety of different food options for more middle-of-the-road tastes. You may have already heard of some of the following food franchises:
- Camile Thai is a noodle bar franchise built off years’ of experience. Famous for its ghost kitchen business model and use of technology, Camile Thai has been seeing huge demand during the pandemic and is one of the few businesses that has managed to grow since the pandemic first struck.
- Wok&Go is a fresh Asian fusion food chain, blending the best in Thai, Malaysian, Indonesian, Chinese and Japanese cuisine. First opening its doors in 2008, Wok&Go has established itself as a fast-growing and attractive brand, expanding both locally and internationally.
>> Read more:
- Advantages of Running an Indian Food Restaurant
- Top 5 Sushi Bar Franchises in the UK
- 8 Things to Ask Yourself Before Opening a Sushi Restaurant Franchise
- 6 Advantages of Running a Japanese Restaurant Franchise
- 5 Mouth-Watering Asian Food Franchises in the UK
- Q&A: Does Ichiran Ramen Franchise in the UK?
- Q&A: Does Marugame Udon Franchise in the UK?
The shape of the noodle bar sector post-COVID
Like other customer-facing sectors, many noodle bars initially struggled when many were forced to close. However, through this adversity, many businesses have since managed to perfect alternative ways of working that have allowed them to retain existing customers, but also to grow and reach new customers.
Through these new practices, many franchises have embraced the challenge and are continuing to adjust to the new normal. So, to find out more about how these new trends have helped the noodle bar sector keep going, read on.
Top 5 noodle bar trends in 2021
1. Ghost kitchens
Ghost kitchens were a growing trend before the pandemic, and have since really come into their own. As rent prices for fixed property locations have spiralled and traditional sit-down restaurants have been forced to close, the need for alternative ways of operating has increased.
Ghost kitchens are simply food restaurants without a fixed premise or customer-facing, walk-in options. Orders are processed solely in kitchens and then delivered by riders. The idea is simple, but throughout the pandemic, this has proven itself to be an extremely resilient and profitable way of operating. You can expect to see plenty of these kinds of food establishments long into the future.
Free from the consumer-facing elements required in their bricks-and-mortar parent restaurants — chairs, tables, toilets, sheer space — the kitchens exist purely to serve the growing food-delivery market. Orders come in, meals are cooked and couriers whisk them immediately away by bike.
– Hattie Garlick, FT.
2. Subscription services
When restaurants haven’t been delivering food remotely, many have been putting together subscription boxes. These boxes can consist of anything from ready-to-eat products to ingredients and recipes telling customers how to cook some tried-and-tested classics. Either way, subscription services are big business.
As noodles and noodle recipes are relatively easy to put together, this is a cost-effective and easy way for many noodle bars to tap into the growing demand for easy, convenient, fast and healthy food.
There’s lots of psychology behind successful loyalty programs, a key element of which is the feeling of being part of a special club. This is where subscription services score highly; they draw people in on the basis that they’re getting something for less
>> Read more:
Technology has been threatening to disrupt many aspects of the food sector for some time, and the noodle bar sector is no exception. Drone-based delivery, QR code-based ordering, and platform ordering have all been growing in popularity for some, and while some trends might not be ready to rear their heads just yet, you can expect to to see them in the near future.
Camile Thai, in particular, has been incorporating technology into how it carries out service, and is an example of what direction technology could take this industry in the future.
4. Mobile and van-based service
Mobile and van-based franchises are another way that some businesses have been able to get around fixed location rents. By operating through vans and other mobile vehicles, many franchises have been able to go directly to where their customers are.
This also allows many franchisees to operate with minimal staff and greater independence. By allowing franchisees greater autonomy, mobile-based noodle bars are getting around many of the bigger costs of this industry, so this is a trend you can expect to hang around.
5. Diverse options
The number of vegetarian, vegan and other dietary friendly food options has been growing for many years, and orders of these varieties spiked during the first lockdown. In fact, orders of vegan food spiked 187% in 2020 [Vegan Food and Living].
As demand for dietary-friendly food increases, more and more restaurants can and are offering different food options in order to help capture this demand.
Interested in running a noodle bar in 2021?
If any of the above trends have given you inspiration, you could well be the perfect franchisee for a noodle bar restaurant. But, if you’d rather see what other options are out there, you can see a full range of options on the UK franchise directory.
Elliott Fudge, Point Franchise ©