Hargett Hunter has invested in Japanese restaurant franchise Marugame Udon so it can increase its coverage in the US.
Marugame Udon is set on bringing its delicious Japanese cuisine to the US and has got the help of Raleigh, NC-based private-equity firm Hargett Hunter to do so. The fast-casual chain has more than 1,000 locations in Asia and is going to use the investment from Hargett Hunter to open more locations throughout the US.
The managing partner of Hargett Hunter, Jess Brock, said:
“As Americans, we’re big fans of pasta and fried food…This is just pasta and fried food under a different name.”
Marugame Udon specialises in udon noodles, tempura and omusubi rice balls that are made fresh on site and served in a self-service casual setting.
Brock commented that it is “a real confluence of all the traits we put a premium on today”.
The US arm of Marugame Udon is based in Irvine, Calif. The chain currently operates from eight locations in California and Hawaii but is hoping to increase this figure to 150 over the next five years.
Hargett Hunter and Marugame Udon’s parent company Toridoll Holdings will work together to achieve the brand’s significant expansion. A highly skilled leadership team is being assembled to take the company to new heights, first as company-owned locations and then using the franchise model.
According to Takaya Awata, founder and CEO of Toridoll:
“We believe that this partnership will be instrumental in the development, growth and globalization of Marugame.
“The funding will help Marugame’s growth in the world’s largest restaurant market, propelled by the increasing popularity of Japanese food and fast-casual eateries in the United States.”
Brock is certain there is high demand for an udon noodles concept in the US. Ramen has become incredibly popular, but udon is ‘more robust’ and has more flavours: “We view udon as ramen’s big brother.”
“From an investment perspective, it has competitive differentiation. There are not any other udon concepts that people know.”
Becky Martin, Point Franchise ©