Momofuku is entering the $47 billion instant noodle market after a difficult 2020 . CEO Momofuku shared how the restaurant group is transforming its business model for a post-pandemic world.
Momofuku, the crown jewel of David Chang’s food empire, famous for its luxurious ramen – a trendy Japanese staple, is now betting on instant noodles. The restaurant group launched their branded “four-minute noodles” line, capturing a small share of the $47 billion instant noodle market. This is the latest example of how restaurants – even the most successful ones – are moving because of the pandemic.
“Four-minute noodles” are made by A-Sha Foods, a Taiwanese noodle company that specializes in instant noodles that are air-dried instead of deep-fried for preservation. Available in three flavors: soy and scallions; spicy soybeans; hot peppers – and the noodles are done in four minutes.
Marguerite Zabar Mariscal, Momofuku’s CEO, said the decision to switch to the packaged dry noodle business dates back to pre-pandemic, but the current economic environment facing many restaurants today is “the urgently to enter new markets”.
This is seen as a step in another direction for Momofuku, made across two multi-city chains in Fuku and Milk Bar and 16 other restaurants. In 2020, Momofuku closed two restaurants, one in New York City and the other in Washington, D.C., and now it’s selling consumer packaged goods and online cooking classes to combat the pandemic. Translate.
“When thinking about expanding, “How can we interact and make it available to more people across the country?”, “we may have to look at a different path than just a mere one.” is the expansion of the restaurant,” said Zabar Mariscal.
Momofuku is aiming to have 50% of its revenue come from the business beyond the four walls of restaurants, she said given the current situation of tight margins, scarce talent, rental and food costs. Eating in big cities where systems work will make it increasingly difficult to stay competitive.
In addition, 90% of the followers of David Chang and Momofuku on Instagram – the group’s social media channel – do not live in the cities where Momofuku operates restaurants, said Zabar Mariscal. “We’ve always had customers that we really couldn’t reach.”
“We just know that diversification is important and if it is, make it like a life cycle between restaurants, products, digital experiences like the online cooking class we did. created during the pandemic and they create more touch points with customers.” she speaks.
During development, it was important for Chang to create a healthy, restaurant-quality noodle product, so it partnered with A-Sha Foods, the brains behind the process. Make air-dried noodles and the ingredients list includes three items (wheat, salt, and water). Zabar Marisacal added that the noodles are being introduced at Momofuku Noodle Bar as a nightly special but there are currently no concrete plans to make them a main dish.
The four-minute noodle dish is now sold out online with a waiting list of 40,000 people – the next step in Momofuku’s business model transformation. The company also entered the consumer packaged goods market last fall with the launch of chili oil, soy sauce and sesame seed oil products.
“We see this as just the beginning, but are excited to really continue to think about the future of these noodles. Whether it’s noodles of different shapes, the recipe will more accurately reflect what someone saw at one of our restaurants. How customers can take it home and out of the kitchens of our restaurants, keeping the full flavor of restaurant-class noodles – that’s what we’re exploring right now and hopefully soon.”