How to Start a Ramen Business in the Philippines - The Thrifty Pinay

Convenient, affordable, scalding, and delicious — these are some ways to describe a hot bowl of ramen. Ask any Filipino to name one Japanese dish; I’m certain ramen would come first — the very reason why a lot are asking on how to start a ramen business in the Philippines.

Ramen is a popular dish in Japan that has now taken the world by storm (thank you, Naruto!). The rise of Japanese noodle houses and restaurants in the Philippines is proof of its overarching popularity. To those that need a refresher, ramen is a noodle soup that sports a combination of noodles, meat, and veggies. Sometimes, you can top the delicious broth with a boiled egg for an added dose of protein. While considered fast food, many restos and street vendors experience a swarm of customers to taste the noodles. And if you want to grace your locality with ramen, we have the perfect startup guide for you!

How to Start a Ramen Business in the Philippines

There is a myriad of things to consider before setting up a shop. After all, you can’t just start a business without understanding the lay of the land. Here is a run-through of the business plan for starting a ramen business in the Philippines.

1. Do your market research

Investopedia defines market research as the process of determining the viability of a solution to your intended recipients. 

You might say, “but I looove ramen, I can’t imagine anyone hating on it!

A valid yet grossly misguided sentiment. While you and I like ramen, other people may not share our taste buds. If you live in a community strictly adhering to Filipino dishes, introducing ramen may not pan out. People may find it intriguing, but not fascinating enough to become loyal customers. 

That is just one example.

Your market research should tell you plenty about satisfying your audience’s needs. Unless there is an actual need for ramen in your locality, you will waste time, energy and money on a ramen startup.

With that out of the way, here are some questions to ask during market research which can also be part of your ramen business plan:

Ramen Business Plan in the Philippines

  • Who are your customers?

Your business exists for the people. It’s only natural to understand your demographics before starting a company. For instance, I normally observe ramen popular among teenagers, college students and professionals. My 4-year-old son loves it, too! Conversely, older Filipinos do not seem too warm about the prospect of trying Japanese food. In that case, would you open up shop when your only audience is baby boomers? Still, your own conduct market research is vital.

  • Who are your competitors?

Want a slap of reality? You are likely not the only ramen house around. In a business-centric country like the Philippines, competitors are bound to appear. Knowing your competitors give you access to their customers, marketing tactics, pricing and offerings. You can then use this information to elevate your business from obscurity.

  • What is a strategic location?

Location is another thing to consider, especially for ramen businesses. But we’ll talk more about this in a jiffy! 

2. Prepare your capital

Depending on the results of your market research, you might want to start a dedicated shop or a food cart. The startup cost of each route will vary greatly, with in-house dining obviously costing much more. Nonetheless, understanding the capital required enables you to estimate profitability, not to mention a smoother launch!

More often than not, the funds you prepared for the business will be intended for the following:

  1. Buy the supplies and ingredients needed
  2. Cover the possible construction costs
  3. Salary of your employees 
  4. Pay the operational expenses
  5. Fund the continuous production of food
  6. Register your business with DTI and other governing bodies
  7. Find a suitable location

Let’s say you have gotten steps 1 and 2 out of the way, what happens next? Before you go ahead and buy the ingredients, find a place to settle first. Again, your market research should guide you on where to set up shop.

For instance, if market research tells you that high schoolers, college students and professionals are the ideal customers for your ramen business, find a location where you can cater to these people. In this case, a food cart may be more favorable for people on the go like high schoolers and some college students. On the other hand, a dedicated place will attract high-end college students and professionals.

The point is: find a suitable location that caters to your desired audience.

3. Acquire the required ingredients and equipment

Once you find a place to settle in, buying the required ingredients and equipment follows. Ramen is a fairly simple dish to prepare, so the materials are not too overwhelming. Plus, you have the liberty to diversify your noodle offerings since the equipment can be used all the same for other types of broth-based noodle dishes. So in this section, we will look at the ingredients and supplies needed for a ramen business:

Ingredients in preparing ramen:

Ramen noodles often have five major components: tare (salting agent), noodles, broth, toppings and oil/fat. We further break these components down into detail with the ingredient list below:

  • Ramen noodles
  • Meat
    • Beef
    • Pork
    • Chicken 
  • Eggs
  • Soy sauce
  • Vegetables
    • Scallions
    • Menma (fermented bamboo shoots)
    • Wakame (seaweed)
    • Shiraga negi (white-haired green onion)
    • Takana (pickled mustard leaves)
    • Nira (leek)
    • Cabbage
    • Carrots 
    • Tomato
  • Sesame oil
  • Sugar
  • Ginger

Supplies needed in a ramen business:

  • Ramen bowl
  • Renge spoons
  • Chopsticks 
  • Noodle strainers
  • Ladles
  • Soup pots
  • Pasta machine
  • Pressure cooker

Note: if you pursue having a franchise, the need for ingredients may change according to the policy. Some franchisors provide the ingredients and equipment to run the business. If such is your case, we have a list of franchisors you may seek out for your business idea (listed below).

4. Price your products 

Serving delicious food is a non-negotiable for any food business, like a ramen house. After all, what good is your business if the food is mediocre at best? 

However, selling strategically and pricing competitively is just as crucial. All things being equal, customers will always gravitate to the cheapest price. Now, unless you make diners tear up at how good your ramen is, price your food items accordingly. Otherwise, people might settle for cheaper alternatives.

Here is a quick and easy pricing strategy for food businesses like ramen houses. Check out the steps below:

Step 1: List the ingredients and the actual quantity you used for each serving.

Step 2: Compute the price spent on each ingredient per serving.

Step 3: Calculate the selling price for each serving of ramen. In this portion, you may either add a markup or use a desirable profit margin for your business.

The link above gives a complete guide to help you execute this pricing strategy. However, if that seems too complicated for you, there are pricing alternatives too!

For restos, the most common food pricing tactic is called the cost-plus pricing strategy. In this method, you combine all the operational costs, employee wages, and utility bills. After which, you add a markup on all servings to cover these costs. This is otherwise known as the cost-per-plate strategy.

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5. Market your noodle business

Finally, after setting up the shop, you might want to get the word out about your business. This process boils down to your marketing strategy. Thankfully, the digital age paved the way for startups to market their business and rival even established competitors. Unless you are familiar with the best marketing tactics, seeking out marketers is your best bet to dominate the noodle scene!

But if you want to wing it, here are common ways to market your business:

  • Leverage your presence through social media

Social media is a powerful networking tool. Make sure to set up a page where you can post updates, upload videos and let the world know you exist. You may also pursue social media advertising to boost your impressions and engagement count. Facebook, Instagram and TikTok are popular social apps for this purpose.

Related Post: 20 Ways to Promote & Market Your Business in the Philippines

  • Don’t dismiss word-of-mouth marketing

You have friends, right? Let them know you are starting a ramen business and invite them to dine. Depending on their reception, they may even invite friends outside of your circle to try the food out!

Ramen Franchises in The Philippines You Can Try

These are franchisors I found based on my research. You may find better deals other than the ones listed below. However, take your franchise search process with a grain of salt. Not every one that poses as legitimate franchise owners are genuine and true. Legit check every business you transact with to make sure you don’t get scammed. That said, here are some franchisors to check out: 

Ramen Nagi PH

Website: https://www.ramennagi.com.ph/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RamenNagiManila 

Email: ramennagiphilippines@gmail.com

Number: N/A

Franchise Manila

Website: https://franchisemanila.com/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/franchisemanila 

Email: FranchiseInManila@gmail.com 

Number: N/A

KyuKyu Ramen

Website: N/A

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kyukyuramen99 

Email: kyukyuramenph@gmail.com 

Number: N/A

Kanto Ramen

Website: https://www.pinoy-entrepreneur.com/2021/08/19/kanto-ramen/

Facebook: https://web.facebook.com/MainitMasarapMura?_rdc=1&_rdr 

Email: kantoramen2020@gmail.com

Number: 0912 435 0059

Tomochan Ramen Express

Website: N/A

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tomochanph/

Email: tomochanramenexpress@gmail.com

Number: 0906 002 9384

Is a Ramen Business Profitable in the Philippines

Like mentioned previously in this article, any business is only as profitable as the market research behind it. If your market does not jive with your solutions, then a profitable venture is unlikely. Here in Manila, every mall, whether big or small, has set up a ramen business in the form of a food cart, medium-sized stall, and store. From what I’ve seen when visiting provinces, ramen businesses have gradually taken over nearby markets and the rural cities.

Another great idea when starting a ramen busines in the Philippines is to pair it with some delicious takoyaki which you can learn more through this guide: How to Start a Takoyaki Business in the Philippines. But based on what I see, a ramen business is a big hit among Filipinos – and that could start with you!


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How to Start a Ramen Business in the Philippines

By Ameena Rey-Franc

Recognized as one of the Top Finance Blogs in the PH. Ameena Rey-Franc (founder of TTP) is a former Banker and BS Accountancy graduate turned Blogger, Keynote Speaker, and entrepreneur. Currently an RFP delegate, she is also the Author of a book about Financial Resilience and has held seminars for reputable companies like GrabFoodPH, Pru Life UK, VISA, JPMorgan Chase& Co., Paypal, Fundline, Moneymax, and many more. The Thrifty Pinay's mission is to empower women to LEARN, EARN, and be FINANCIALLY-INDEPENDENT no matter what life stage they are in.