Business

So, You Want to Open a Japanese (Ramen) Restaurant

You can find countless articles on “how to” do a million and one things on the internet, but “how to start a restaurant” does not come up (till now). These are your importers/wholesale food supply companies.

Trust me, I looked. I looked because unlike a few of my friends who would never ask me regardless of how many years or decades I spent within a field, they are out to prove to themselves and the world that they are smart. Unfortunately, that is how idiots go about about things, and I lean on anyone and everyone for their knowledge (I need to thank them all for putting up with all my questions).

Photo Description: a number of varying products offered by Wismettac from rice, instant udo, to frozen pre-prepared shrimp tempura. In the top left corner is the text "The Best Selection of Asian Food Products."
This is what the pantry of most Japanese homes look like. Image courtesy of Wismettac

From sushi to ramen, this is all the contacts you will need to get up and running.

All listed in alphabetical order

The Major U.S. Japanese Food Distributors Are:

Photo Description: the extremely large Wismettac warehouse. You can see row, and rows of shelves with a number of pallets with goods stacked on top. The copy "importing and distributing Asian Food Products Globally" is written across the image.
Oh, man, those floors would be great to drift on in a kart. Image courtesy of Wismettac

JFC International, Inc

“Quality Merchandising and Good Service.”

MTC (Mutual Trading)

Wismettac Asian Foods (Nishimoto)

The Major Japanese Noodle Companies/Producers

Getting into anything, you want to know who the major players are because if you think there are only 3, when there are 5, you could be at a severe disadvantage over the competition.

Photo Description: fresh ramen noodles from Sun Noodles.
Being able to get quality ramen from Sun Noodles is a game changer. Image courtesy of Sun Noodles

Sun Noodle Company

“We are artisan noodle makers. We create fresh ramen noodles and Asian noodle products for top chefs, restaurants and home cooks throughout North America, South America and Europe.”

  • Sun Noodle Company
    www.sunnoodle.com
    • Sun Noodle Hawaii
      1933 Colburn St., Honolulu, HI 96819
      (808) 841-5808
    • Sun Noodle North America (West)
      1505 W. Mahalo Pl., Rancho Dominguez, CA 90220
      (310) 764-0100
    • Sun Noodle North America (East)
      40 Kero Rd., Carlstadt, NJ 07072
      (201) 530-1100

Kobayashi Noodle USA

Other Noodle/Ramen Supply Companies

There are a number of ramen related restaurants trying to capitalize on the popularity of ramen, but not all of them are currently fully operational in the U.S. (they’re trying to establish themselves).


Tableware to Kitchenware

Both of these two companies are amazing.

Photo Description: a bunch of Japanese kitchen knives laid out from Korin in New York City.
You can try to pull off using your Ginsu knife. Image courtesy of Korin

Korin

  • Korin: Japanese Chef Knives, Tableware, Kitchenware, and Restaurant Supplies
    57 Warren St, New York, NY 10007
    Tel: 1 (800) 626-2172
    Monday to Friday : 10 AM to 7 PM (EST)
    Saturday : 10am to 6pm (EST)
    Sunday is closed.
    www.korin.com

MTC Kitchen

  • New York Mutual Trading, Inc.
    77 Metro Way, Secaucus, NJ 07094
    Tel: 201-933-9555
    Fax: 201-933-7791
    Email: mutual@nymtc.com
    Open 8 am – 5 pm, Monday – Friday
    www.nymtc.com

Commercial Restaurant Supplies and Equipment

Your mom’s collection of Tupperware just won’t cut it, and you will most likely have to go out and get larger containers although Tupperware is great though.

Photo Description: a rack full of commercial kitchen pans to containers from Cambro. If you are wondering how to start a restaurant, you will want to research all the equipment you will need before you purchase it all.
Why do I only think of how I will have to wash everything here? Image courtesy of Tundra

Culinary Gear

I had one friend who does videography, and he had a massive rig around his DSLR which made it look crazy looking. Looking at it, I knew it was expensive which it was, but he was like “you have to look the part.” Well, the same goes for many people who want to be someday called “chef.” Till that day happens, you can also look the part.

Photo Description: two models stand in front of a colorful abstract mural. Both models, one white dude, and a black chick are wearing aprons that are black with blue suspenders.
These two, you know are just looking the part. Image courtesy of Chef Works

Who I Recommend (and I Cant Recommend Them Enough)

No matter how much preparation I did prior to calling the above big distributors to not waste their sales reps time (Colorado offices), the service I had been given by the vast majority of these companies was on the level of SUCKING A BIG FAT DICK.

Except there is one distributor that just demolishes them all, and that company is MTC (btw, I am of course not being paid to say this, and I’m sure they would rather pay me not to say anything due to the way I say things).

Not only does MTC answer their phone, they call you back, respond to emails, follow-up to your inquiries, and they go above and beyond – I mean seriously, they go well above and beyond what they need to do regardless if you’re their smallest client (like myself) to their biggest (well assume since I got amazing service as a nobody).

This high level of service holds true with my experience for both MTC Los Angeles and MTC Kitchen.

So I’ll just say MTC is the BEST, and I wish I could do business just with them.

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