Let There Be Ramen! Ramen Hero Blends Tradition & E-Commerce
When it comes to comfort food, ramen is at the top of the list. But getting great tasting ramen is another story – ramen restaurants are mostly in urban areas, typically with little seating and long lines. Packaged ramen has its place, but it’s definitely not the same. Into this void slipped Ramen Hero, delivering authentic Japanese ramen right to the doors of hungry customers across the country. Ramen Hero always saw its business as being true to traditional Japanese quality – with the added convenience of eCommerce delivery.
The company’s founder, Hiro Hasegawa, took his time to develop recipes that he cooked himself and tested with friends and family. About 3 years ago he was ready to take the company to the next level, with larger facilities, a Shopify eCommerce platform for online purchases and Perishable Shipping Solutions (PSS) to manage its frozen fulfillment services. Ramen Hero was now well-prepared to spread Japanese ramen culture across the country.
Made the “Honkaku” Way
Authentic (“Honkaku”) Japanese ramen takes a long time to prepare. The bone broth simmers for 10-12 hours. Pork belly marinates for a day or overnight in the refrigerator, then 6 hours to cook. But for the consumer, Ramen Hero is easy and fast – just warm up the broth, noodles and toppings and in 10 minutes dinner is served. For busy or two-income families short on time, this fills an important need. To preserve its bountiful flavors, Ramen Hero is flash-frozen and shipped frozen, which requires specialized handling.
Handling Frozen Foods with Care
Matt Tamaru, Director of Operations for Ramen Hero stated that frozen food shipping is still a fairly new industry. He sees the partnership with PSS as a “behind the scenes extension of Ramen Hero” that enables safe and accurate fulfillment to their consumers in the lower 48 states. He values the contributions of his PSS customer care manager who is focused on their business needs, along with proactive suggestions by PSS management for cost reduction, label integrity and regional carrier delivery options. He notes that a caring fulfillment partner is best case – but so hard to find.
In-Depth Market Research
To drive eCommerce customer engagement, Ramen Hero wanted to better understand their customers. A customer insight process was developed to segment their consumers on multiple dimensions. The top 200 – 300 VIP repeat buyers receive a survey, which is completed and returned by 50-60% of respondents. Initially they expected to find very few of their top buyers in cities, where ramen restaurants are more prevalent. However, this proved to be incorrect – demand was split 50-50. The desire for great ramen at home is quite widespread.
New consumers are reached digitally via search, advertising and social media including Google, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and very soon, TikTok. Influencers are also in the mix – it turns out that UFC Fighters love ramen!
Coming Soon: Experiential Growth
Ramen Hero intends to grow consistently while remaining true to its Honkaku roots – delivering value to community, customers, team members and the environment. The next generation of innovation will be around creating the full ramen experience, such as a ramen party complete with appetizers, spoons, teas, and sake or seasonal ramen packs with special, limited-time ingredients. Sharing the ramen experience with friends sounds like a great way to entertain, especially delivered right to your door with only 10 minutes’ prep time!
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