Marugame Udon is the largest udon noodle chain in the world, with more 800 fast casual restaurants in Japan and 250 in Asia. It opened its first European restaurant in 2021 in London with a QSR-style low price point.
Four further London sites were lined up before the first even opened, with the Marugame restaurant in the O2 also now open. The company has plans for a speedy further expansion.
Marugame Udon has a worldwide audience on social platforms ranging from Tiktok to Facebook and Instagram, and is making the most of this presence – and the power of the Muragame Loyalty Scheme – to extend brand awareness and position the offering perfectly in its new market.
Marugame Udon Chief Executive Keith Bird said: “It’s vital to get the values and culture right.” Helping customers to feel part of the Marugame Udon community is crucial – for example, when getting ready for opening, visitors were invited to take pictures of themselves in front of a special screen to share on social media.
The innovative use of digital technology helps Marugame Udon establish and grow its community of fans across the UK and beyond. A unique level of integration is enabling the company to gain a deep insight into its customers, enabling better customer service and engagement.
The loyalty system, implemented using Aloha EPOS from NFS, is so well integrated that customer information is automatically shared across all platforms from the till to wifi and email marketing.
It gives Marugame Udon a 360 degree view of the customer’s requirements and preferences – what it calls a ‘single point of truth’ – and it eliminates the need to repeatedly input data into different systems.
The integration makes the customer journey seamless. It enables Marugame Udon to send targeted marketing emails that hit the mark – and when the customer pays, the till automatically applies discounts. On opening, members who had already signed up to the loyalty programme were given popular offers including free noodles.
Further integration means customers are never disappointed when ordering their meal. When a menu change is made on the till it is instantly reflected across all menu and collection screens, and Marugame is now working with NFS to extend this to delivery channels.
Customer safety is a priority, and as well as providing allergen alerts, the Aloha EPOS system offers diners the ability to input an allergen and see an online menu of dishes they can eat safely. Calorie counts are also updated through the system.
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