Aldermore serves up new funding for Shoryu Ramen restaurant chain
Japan Centre, a UK-based distributor of Japanese goods, and its restaurant business Shoryu Ramen have agreed an asset finance facility exceeding £450k from Aldermore, the specialist lender and savings bank.
Shoryu Ramen, which is known amongst food fans for its traditional Japanese ramen noodles, is currently expanding across London and is also looking to move into other UK cities, recently opening its first restaurant outside the capital in Manchester.
Japan Centre was established forty years ago by Tak Tokumine shortly after he arrived in the UK with a suitcase of Japanese books and plans to cater for London’s Japanese diaspora. His company has since become one of the largest Japanese retailers in the UK and now operates an online store, food hall, including sites in London’s Soho and Westfield Stratford City.
In 2012 Tak launched his complementary restaurant business Shoryu Ramen, which currently comprises seven outlets in London, one in Manchester and a newly opened site in Fukuoka city, Tak’s hometown. Shoryu specialises in Hakata tonkotsu ramen from the Hakata district of Fukuoka city on the southern island of Kyushu, Japan and offers alongside its ramen a large sake selection, Japanese rum, whisky and seasonal sake cocktails.
The business now employs over 500 staff.
Aldermore supported the Japan Centre Group and Shoryu Ramen with the funding of various soft assets such as a full kitchen fit-out for one of their recently opened restaurants as well as various other appliances including refrigeration and air conditioning units.
Tak Tokumine, founder of Japan Centre and Shoryu Ramen, said:
“We have ambitious plans to grow our business, and the funding from Aldermore has enabled us to buy the assets we needed in order to drive our expansion. Aldermore took the time to really understand our business and its history, as well as our growth plans. They were able to provide a flexible facility which we can access when we need additional funds. The bank was also one of the few providers offering asset finance for smaller but integral assets for our business, such as kitchen appliances.”
Neil Smith, director at Direct Asset Finance, said:
“Japan Centre Group is a long established business with a bright future. I have known the CEO Tak Tokumine for seven years and was introduced to him initially when financing a Mercedes Sprinter van from a local dealer source. Since then I have committed to assist the business by securing external finance from the market to invest in the assets that would enable them to achieve their growth plans, whilst at the same time protecting their cash flow. We always look to identify the most appropriate and competitive funding solutions for our clients and I knew Aldermore would be a good fit for Japan Centre so had no hesitation in making the recommendation.”
Sean Thorn, business development manager, asset finance at Aldermore, said:
“Japan Centre has grown at a phenomenal rate over the last few years. The additional finance facilities we have provided will not only help the group to increase the number of restaurants in London but also in other cities across the UK. At the same time, the distribution centres are growing to satisfy the increasing demand for high quality Japanese goods, which are proving popular with customers all over the UK. Tak has a great vision for the business and many more exciting initiatives in the pipeline which we hope to be able to support.”