Ramen and Poke, oh my! These fun fast casual food concepts are popping up all over the place and with good reason – they are delicious, colorful, and easy to execute with high price margins on the food costs. Plus, neither ramen or poke is anywhere near a ‘new’ food concept – both have deep cultural roots and have been enjoyed for generations in the respective areas they originated in. If you’re looking for a new restaurant concept to try, consider one of these two options. Here’s a little more info on both:
Ramen: originating in Japan, a classic ramen bowl involves Chinese wheat noodles, a killer broth, and a variety of savory (delicious) toppings. The ramen craze in Japan originated in 1910, with the first stand along ramen shop opening at that time. It took, granted, several decades for this classic, easy to execute, and delectable noodle dish to take off in the USA, but it’s now a fast growing industry, with trendy eateries popping up in major cities on the east coast, west coast, and everywhere in between. Broth is key – essential – to a good ramen bowl – so perfect yours, and then work on a variety of ingredients which will please a variety of palates and lifestyle restrictions. Remember to cater to vegetarians with both vegetarian broth and completely separate prep space in order to increase your marketability.
Poke: from the far East to the far West, Poke Bowls hail from Hawaii. A very simple preparation involves marinating raw fish in a soy sauce marinade, and then creating a ‘bowl’ with various rice and vegetable toppings. This trend is newer, even, then ramen and appeals very easily to a health conscious consumer, especially if the bowl is prepared with brown rice. Different types of fish can be used, and because the fish is marinated, cheaper cuts can also be employed.
Want to try out these concepts but not sure how they will do in your neighborhood? Consider a pop up to gauge interest and also run the kitchen for a night and see how your staff does with either/or concept – or perhaps even a hybrid of both!