Japanese noodle restaurant chain Ippudo opened its first Myanmar outlet on April 11 ahead of a grand opening in May at the recently-opened Junction City Shopping Centre.
The Yangon outlet is being managed by Singapore Myanmar Invest (SMI) Co under a partnership deal with Chikaranomoto, which plans to launch additional branches across the country. SMI is an investment and management company that focuses on retail, food and beverages, logistics, auto services and construction.
According to a release by SMI, Chikaranomoto has provided training programmes to SMI for the set up and will also operate the restaurants in Myanmar. “We see abundant growth opportunities within the food and beverage retail market in Myanmar and the time is ripe for us to introduce the popular IPPUDO brand and cuisine to a growing middle class.” said Mark Bedingham, president and CEO of SMI. SMI is reportedly looking to expand into the food and beverage industry in Myanmar over the next three years. The company has also signed a franchise agreement with Crystal Jade group, a Chinese restaurant concept and The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, which will open soon.
Kyaw Thaung, operating manager of the Ippudo branch in Myanmar, said, “ramen lovers will be able to taste standardised, original recipes from Ippudo”. He hopes to attract relatively well-off consumers to his restaurant by providing “more Japanese food options (than) sushi and sashimi which are relatively familiar to Myanmar people.”
The first Ippudo restaurant was founded by Shigemi Kawahara in Hakata in 1985. Currently, there are over 80 outlets in Japan and 63 outlets in 12 overseas markets including New York, Bangkok, Seoul and Manila.