Marugame Seimen Fast-Food “udon” Goes Gloabal with Ambitious Plans

The operator of the Marugame Seimen fast-food "udon" noodle restaurant chain announced plans to dramatically expand its presence outside Japan with a more than six-fold increase in outlets by fiscal 2027. “We have set ourselves the bold challenge of making the entire world the center stage of our growth strategy,” Takaya Awata, president of Toridoll Holdings Corp., told a briefing session on Nov. 15. As of the end of September, the company, which also runs the Makino tempura restaurant chain, operated 625 restaurants outside Japan, mainly in Asia. It plans to raise the figure to 4,000 by fiscal 2027.

Toridoll expects that having more outlets overseas than in Japan will allow the company to reap greater economic benefits.

Expansion plans call for opening Marugame Seimen, Makino and other restaurants in Asia, the United States and Europe.

Toridoll said 80 percent of the envisioned 4,000 outlets will be operated under franchise agreements.

It will allocate up to 100 billion yen ($870 million) to acquire other enterprises, mainly outside Japan, to achieve its goal.

The company also plans to raise the number of its domestic outlets from the current 1,091 to 1,500 by fiscal 2027.

Toridoll opened a Marugame Seimen restaurant in Hawaii, its first overseas outlet, in 2011 and has since introduced its restaurants in Asia and elsewhere. In 2018, it acquired a Hong Kong-based rice flour noodle restaurant chain operator.

The company’s total sales rose 20.7 percent to 76.6 billion yen for the half year ending in September 2021, in part due to increased revenue from Marugame Seimen’s udon bento.

The boxed lunch, introduced in April, enjoyed strong sales on the back of demand for takeouts during the novel coronavirus pandemic. More than 13 million sets were sold in about six months.

The company chalked up a net profit of 5.4 billion yen for the six-month period, compared with a loss of 2 billion yen for the same period the previous year.