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What is a Ramen shop?

Learn more about what you can find on a menu at a ramen shop, about their history, and how much it would cost to start your own.

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A ramen shop is a restaurant that specializes in ramen dishes. Learn more about what you can find on a menu at a ramen shop, about their history, and how much it would cost to start your own.

What is a Ramen shop?

A ramen shop specializes in serving ramen dishes. Ramen is a type of Japanese noodle soup that contains wheat noodles in a flavorful broth usually made of meat bones or vegetables. Ramen shops are very popular in Japan and it is common to see many ramen shops all over the country. Ramen shops tend to be quick-order, counter-service style restaurants, though some ramen shops offer dine-in options for customers.

What is the history of Ramen shops?

China is considered to be the birthplace of ramen, dating back to the 1800s when Chinese immigrants traveled with a broth soup containing noodles to Japan. These immigrants landed in Japanese Chinatowns such as Yokohama. From there, the dish spread quickly and swiftly grew in popularity. 

The famous Hakata Tonkotsu Raman was created in Fukuoka in 1947 when chefs accidentally boiled their soup for too long, which resulted in a very milky, white pork broth. This led to other, more regional variations of ramen sprouting across Japan, starting in northern Japan where the first ramen bar created the Miso Ramen soup.

Ramen noodles became very popular in post-war Japan, which saw an increase in wheat noodle production. In 1950, ramen noodles became popular street food for busy city workers and late-night meals. Ramen remains a popular, global food today, with over 24,000 ramen shops in Japan alone.

What is typically on the menu at a Ramen shop?

The main item sold at a ramen shop is ramen. But, many ramen shops will also sell other foods, usually gyoza, pork buns, edamame, broccolini with sesame sauce, and sometimes sushi rolls. Many ramen shops also offer bowls, which often consist of mixed greens or rice as the base, topped with items like spicy tuna, chicken karaage, or tofu.

But, the most popular item at a ramen shop is the ramen itself. Typically, a ramen shop will offer different ramen variations, including Shoyu Ramen, Shio Ramen, Miso Ramen, and Tonkotsu Ramen.

How do you start a Ramen shop?

To start a ramen shop, you should first determine how well you know how to make proper ramen and whether you will need to partner with a ramen master chef, or if you have enough knowledge about ramen to open a ramen shop on your own. It takes an average of five years to become a true ramen master, so if you are not a professional ramen chef, you may consider consulting with one to design your menu. 

The first step you should take to start a ramen shop is to write a business plan that outlines your concept, food menu, and financial costs. If you do need to look for a business partner, having a business plan will help you pitch your idea and may be required by a landlord or finance institution anyway, should you need to present one to secure a lease or loan.

Next, consider the size of your ramen shop and whether you want to offer counter service, dine-in services, or open a ramen food truck. The format you choose for your ramen business will change the costs associated with starting one.

How much does it cost to start a Ramen shop?

Restaurant startup costs can vary based on location, local rent prices, whether you have furniture and seating, renovation needs, and more. The average cost to open a restaurant can range from $100,000 to $2 million.

Typically, the average price per square foot is between $100 and $800 with the median at $450, so consider the size you need for your ramen shop and whether you want to offer on-premise dining, open a street cart, or start a food truck.

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