Marugame Udon (Japan) to Franchise in London

Marugame Udon, a 1,000-unit udon noodle and tempura chain based in Japan, is opening early next year in London as the result of a joint venture between Toridoll Holdings Corp. and Capdesia Group Ltd. The London site will be the first in Europe, but it has locations in the U.S. and Russia.

Marugame Udon Europe Ltd. will become the master franchisee for the region and the London restaurant, for which a location is soon to be confirmed, will be followed by a rollout plan involving corporate-owned and franchise operations in the U.K. and Europe, working in partnership with local multi-unit/brand operators. Keith Bird, a Capdesia's operating partners, will lead the company.

"We would like to develop the Marugame Udon brand all over Europe by combining the experience we have cultivated over the years with Capdesia's strong sector expertise and network," Takaya Awata, founder and president of Toridoll, said in a company press release. "We also hope that this relationship will be a stepping stone for the development of other Toridoll brands, as we continue to make progress toward our goal of reaching 6,000 restaurants worldwide."

Bird said Marugame Udon was dedicated to providing Japanese udon noodles that taste how people eat them in Japans.

"Their chefs cook fresh, handmade noodles and tempura options in open kitchens in front of customers every day, all in keeping with traditional Japanese Omotenashi hospitality," he said. "What we also know is that Japanese food has gone mainstream in the UK over the past couple of decades. We feel the market is now ready to embrace a more authentic and specialized offer but at a very affordable price point — essentially a fast-casual offer, in terms of quality of food and experience, but closer to QSR prices."

Based in Japan, Toridoll Holdings Corporation has annual system revenues of GBP 1.2 billion and a portfolio of over 1,700 restaurants across 30 brands and 40 countries including Shoryu and Wok to Walk in Europe.

Capdesia is a European private equity firm with offices in London and Brussels that focuses on the foodservice sector.