Newest Myanmar noodle chain has Japanese roots, local prices

TOKYO — One of Japan’s top purveyors of noodles is setting up shop in Myanmar’s biggest city this month, hoping to cater to a growing middle class hungry for cheap food.

Bowls of rice noodles in broth will sell for 650 kyat (48 cents) at the Yangon restaurant operated by a local joint venture of Kobe-based Toridoll Holdings and YKKO, Myanmar’s biggest dining group.

Portions will be kept small so that diners can easily adjust their orders to the size of their appetites and budgets. The venture will keep costs down by sourcing rice for the noodles locally and importing the broth from neighboring Thailand.

The roughly 900 restaurants that Toridoll runs in Japan include the Marugame Seimen chain of self-service udon noodle shops, which offer noodles for around 300 yen ($2.68) a bowl — a price too high to succeed in developing Myanmar. But instead of trying to foist the popular domestic chain’s practices on the Myanmar market, the company is taking a local approach. Its venture with YKKO seeks to open about 50 locations by 2025.

Toridoll has some 380 restaurants in around 30 overseas markets, including Cambodia, China, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. But it takes in just 6% of its sales abroad. With the Japanese dining market stunted by a shrinking, graying population, the company has set an ambitious target of opening 4,000 overseas locations by 2025.

Source : Nikkei Asian Review

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