• By The Financial District

Frozen Noodle Machines Ramp Up Business For Japanese Food Chain

Ringer Hut, a restaurant chain specializing in Nagasaki champon noodle dishes, is pushing ahead with the installation of vending machines selling frozen versions of its products for people to savor at home, Hiroki Masuda reported for Mainichi Shimbun.

Photo Insert: Ringer Hut near Ochanomizu station

The chain hopes the machines will help boost sales and offset the negative impact of the spread of the coronavirus as much as possible. So far, the machines have done better than expected, and the chain has announced the installation of the vending machines in 26 Ringer Hut outlets as of the end of 2021.

The large, yellow vending machines, with a height of 1.8 meters, width of 1 meter, and depth of 80 centimeters, featuring the chain's "R" logo, stand out even from a distance.

The machines sell six kinds of frozen products developed for people to enjoy at home, including "Nagasaki Champon" and "Nagasaki Sara Udon" noodles and "Chahan" fried rice -- all priced at 450 yen each -- and sets of 12 gyoza dumplings, priced at 350 yen per set.

The idea for the vending machines came from a restaurant manager. While pouring efforts into take-out food amid the coronavirus pandemic, the manager thought: "Other companies sell their products in vending machines; we could easily do the same."

All the news: Business man in suit and tie smiling and reading a newspaper near the financial district.

On June 18, 2021, Ringer Hut set up a vending machine outside the entrance of its Sakai Mozu outlet in the Osaka Prefecture city of Sakai. In one week, the vending machine sold four times the amount of frozen products that were sold inside the restaurant, and sales have been increasing since.

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