Tenants and construction

I’ll exclude the details, but the store was opened in Kyoto.

There were possible four candidates as a tenant, so we decided to rent “a store with stock and all “or “store with housing” because of the shortages of funds, but there were property candidates who were worried until the end.

If you decide where to open your business, it will be a big decision because the layout change will not work afterwards.

Here, we will present the comparison contents and describe the good and bad points of the property that we decided ↓

・ Property 1 “Have stock and all” “Construction costs are lower” “Store with housing” “16-minute walk from the station” “It’s located in a commercial center that has 50 years of history”

・ Property 2 “The concrete floor requires chipping work” “Construction costs are expensive” “Stores only” “a minute walk from station” “It’s located near university, other stores and housing”

 

Based on the above points, I chose the “Property 1” for the reason that it has lower construction costs and “The unnecessity to worry about housing to live”.

I will describe good and bad points of the “Property 1” ↓

 

・ Good points = “unique and clean appearance” “a place full of downtown atmosphere” “many students” “friendly rent”

 

・ Bad points = “the sidewalk in front of the store is narrow” “no parking lot” “the kitchen layout is bad”

 

As a result, “the narrow sidewalk in front of the store” and “the kitchen layout is bad” became a trouble to me.

The fact that “many customers” can easily affect the surrounding area, this was similar problem when I was in Hokkaido, 

In Hokkaido, it’s a complaint to park at a place other than store management, and in Kyoto, it’s a complaint that bicycles can be parked and queued in front of nearby houses and stores.

If the kitchen or seat layout is poor, more staff may be required.

These two bad points were outstanding, and “far from the station” wasn’t a problem comparing with those two problems.

 

it was far from creating a satisfactory store with the 7 million yen that we worked hard to collected, and even if we left 2 million for working capital, I consider a store with about 26 seats needs 10 million yen.

In fact, almost none of the working capital remained.

7 million yen was lost in store acquisition, material procurement, purchase of equipment, fixtures, construction, and others.

○ Failure at this point ○

・ There was a big turning point here

・ Construction costs will be higher than estimated

Loneliness and freedom

What I felt when I arrived at a business place far away from Hokkaido was lonely cultivation in a strange land was so devastating for me.

I thought I had tasted this kind of thing many times in the past, but having borrowed 5 million made me more troubled about the situation.

Of course, you make all the decisions yourself.

When I was disturbed, I put it on hold and consulted with my master and senior apprentice. but decided that I would do things my own.

During this time, my master came to see me from Hokkaido.

It was reassuring to write on the “point of purchase advertising (or price tag)” of the store.

 

I will do what I can do during the construction.

We are going to focus on the store, and the house is on delay, so it feels like we are sleeping tenant under the construction.

There was no inconvenience like a bath since there was a public bath in the area, but even if you do it with a lot of coping alone, there is a moment when you suddenly get calm and you start thinking negative thoughts like “Is this going well?” . Loneliness and freedom are rolling around in my head.

 

The deadlines where I set for three items: “Public health Center Attendance”, “Construction End Date”, and “The Opening day”.

Looking at it now this wasn’t a good step.

Today's stores are marketing by the time of launch.

They use SNS to attract the image of the store to the customers, and they present the story and images of how the store is being built. 

 

But hey, I didn't have it in my mind.

 

○ Failure at this point ○

・ Competition had started before the store was built

・ “Be straightforward” is different from “I don't have enough thoughts”

The rise and fall

After such hardships, the store was able to open.

We didn’t “pre-open”.

By the way, the marketing method I’ve executed during the training period was a media mix of “local newspapers” and “local radio stations”, and also I used the image of funny and unique ramen chef style “Ramen Oyaji” (it’s means in Japanese: The Uncle Ramen. It’s like an expression to ramen chefs that stay more closed or friendly with customers and local people)” as an advertisement for my store. 

 

In the first moments, I had no idea of posting in areas with low population density: If it was 

the population centers in Sapporo(The capital city of Hokkaido and the fifth largest city in Japan)it would have a different result . 

 

The only idea I have was to publish in the newspaper or in the free paper. In both cases, you go to the subscriber's household by reading the newspaper.

 

 I used my “Ramen Oyaji” style as an advertisement for my store because my master used this style to published his store, so I naturally introduced it.

Also, in some places in Japan, they have a very conservative taste of Ramen. Here, “the taste that has been familiar for a long time in that area” have connection to the cultural climate of every region in Japan.

Therefore, it’s highly unlikely that “the taste of other region” and” the new wave ramen” in other areas will take its foundation. 

That’s why I decide to have a “Something different” taste.

 

As the result, “the Hokkaido method” didn’t work in this area.

I considered that the following case was the cause.

 

・ Regional newspapers: There were not many households subscribed to the newspapers. Like the Students and younger segments of the worker population.

 

・ Local radio stations = Everyone in the countryside participated like a volunteer, but it is different in urban areas. As a result, the cost amount to pay for an order is massive.

There was a reaction everywhere except for my “Ramen Oyaji” style.

 

After opening the store, it didn't look like it was in the training period, but sales gradually increased and the sales were steady until the second store was opened.

The differences appeared in various ways, and it seemed that there were two major differences compared to the rural areas in Hokkaido where customers were attracted and recruited.

I feel the outspread of “unpopularity” was way faster in the countryside.

 

By the way, I will break it from here.

Furthermore, I will describe the results here.

I hope you can imagine that there were countless dramas during this time.

  • Two years after the opening of the first store, the second store was opened 

      →But I couldn’t handle it, and I retired from manager position

      → The results: I withdraw from the store

 

  • The repayment of the first store will start with the repayment of the borrowed money of the second store 

      → The success of the first store should be completed, but also the success of the second store must be fulfilled  too.

 

  • I leased a noodle making machine in order to pursue of a lower cost ratio and a commitment factor 

      → I was able to get the leasing cost by removing the leasing fee, but I don’t know which is the correct answer, because I have spent my time on noodle making (The result was a large negative factor in labor costs)

 

  • No use of chemical seasonings. It's known as free of chemical seasoning ramen. 

      →But I started to feel hesitant to eat ramen in my own restaurant, especially for children.

 

  • Start developing non-modified ramen (free of chemical seasoning) 

      → I closed the store and pay money to learn how to make it (I spend about 1.2 million combined with lost business opportunity and tuition)

 

  • After struggling, we decided to completely renew the ramen in the restaurant. 

      → There is also no reason to have any money to open other stores and no human resources.

 

  • I started to lost customers

      → It was a natural result because ramen with different directions with the taste of the local people.

 

  • I have a sharp sense that even a good idea can't be eaten by itself.

 

  • Attempting to attract customers that fit the new ramen, but the number of customers was sluggish, and we returned to the original ramen in 4 months.

      →The money and my mental state came to the limit

 

○ Failure at this point ○

・ If you have passion, there is no reason to be dull

・ If you try to recover from a single failure with more success, you may move over on the opposite direction sometimes

I finally left it

With that circumstances in mind, at this point I was thinking first of returning sales to breakeven.

However, the difference between “current sales” and “break-even” does not narrow rapidly.

Finally, step by step, sales were definitely recovered.

In March, April, and May, gradually, there is no deficit during this period, and there is no fund reserve, so you have to get a loan.

If bank lending is “unrealistic” at this point, we will start bank-affiliated card loans.

There are also bank-affiliated card loans for businesses, and I’ll begin with that.

If you've used all of your corporate financing loans, your next step is for individuals’ loans.

My first step was Bank-related card loans for individuals, and next step is Non-bank majors (Consumer finance).  This was my limit, and going forward from here means a certain failure.

Finally, there are eight borrowers, including the Japan Finance Corporation.

 

This is where such questions come up: I wouldn't normally do this

 

It depends on the personality of the individual, but I'm clear that this has happened.

・ It is pointed out that there is no possibility that it will be fatal to stop here.

・ If you can quit at any time, it indicates that it may be too late.

 

“What happened …”  That idea dominated my thoughts, and I couldn’t do my job for overthinking.

Despite being done, the resources that people can consume are probably limited, they think and execute, but none of them are half-finished with good results.

But in fact, sales are returning.

I would try again for another month, and there I was who couldn't lose myself, and the people around me who supported me.

This was the case with business partners and tax accountants. Which is a “very dangerous support” apart from good or bad intentions. So, if you are supported by the consultation partner, I recommend you to temporarily close the store for about 3 days and face it yourself.

 

And I decided to close my shop in early July.

 

○ Failure at this point ○

・ People can't take responsibility for anything other than themselves, and only you can stick to yourself

・ It's already wrong to cross the withdrawal line

wait