Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

JUL 2018

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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98 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • JULY 2018 REINTERPRETING ASIAN Ramen bars and Asian concepts keep evolving, becoming more diverse while still paying homage to traditional ingredients. By Lisa White W hen Klaus Mager visited China's White Swan Hotel back in the '70s, he was treated to an early preview of what was to become a sensa- tion in the states decades later. "My boss and I were invited to lunch by the general manager and served a noodle dish that he said was creating a revolution in China," says Mager, owner of Food with Thought, a Bend, Ore.-based food and beverage consultancy. "What I see in the U.S. right now is this healthier ramen be- coming a popular alternative to fast food, with its nutritious broth and healthier ingredients." With startups at affordable price points with minimal equipment requirements, Mager predicts ra- men noodle shops will potentially replace fast food in some areas. "We built three noodle shops in Hong Kong with equipment that could cook noodles in 90 seconds, so tiny kitchens could produce 300 meals per hour," Mager says. "From an investment perspective, along with ease of production, this is a segment that has a ton of potential." Consequently, it's no surprise that the Asian foodservice segment as a whole continues to grow. According to Chicago- based market research firm Technomic, the total industry, including chains and small mom- and-pop operations, saw total industry sales of $6.6 billion last year, up 4.3 percent from 2016. Top chains comprised $4.55 billion of this total, with chains comprising almost 69 percent of the limited-service Asian/ noodle segment. Full-service restaurants, including sushi bars, Asian steakhouses, ramen bars and Mongolian grills,

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