Coming to America
Last time, I wrote about Go! Go! Curry!’s birth story and the spirit behind it. This time I’d like talk about our story once we stepped foot in America.
Since the establishment of our curry restaurant business in Japan in 2003, we grew steadfastly in the domestic market, and within four years we opened the first US location in New York City. It was our Times Square store, which opened its doors in 2007, and is still bustling today. It was the very first Japanese curry rice specialty restaurant in New York which solely focused on katsu curry. Even for New Yorkers who had every imaginable cuisine at their fingertips, our concept was unique at the time—we were serving a new kind of food for them at a fast pace at affordable prices. Above all, our Kanazawa-style curry was delicious. It didn’t take long to attract NY customers; but that was not our only mission. We were thinking about a franchise opportunity. However, we weren’t ready to embark on that journey just yet.
I joined Go! Go! Curry! in 2012, and my mission from the founder, Mr. Miyamori, was to open 55 locations by the end of 2022. It’s difficult to achieve that mission through only a direct-operation restaurant. So I studied up on food franchises.
I want to take more time to talk about my trials and errors another time, but one of our milestones is when we opened the Cambridge, MA location. The store is under our direct management, but it was our first remotely-operated store, and the first one housed in a food court. Delays and unexpected troubles happened—I could list the multitudes of problems we encountered—but my point here is that we made it through and solved our issues. Those experiences, and the resulting knowledge, are our assets. We want to maximize on them to be one of the best franchises to purchase in the USA. As of now, we have 9 directly-operated locations, 1 franchise, and more are in preparations to open. If you are interested in a restaurant franchise, we are happy to help and team up with you.
In the next issue, I’d like to switch topics from our story to Japan’s food culture. Until then, stay genki!
About The Author:
Tomoko Omori was born and raised in Japan. She came to the USA alone to become an actress, where she received an AA degree from college majoring in Drama. She received a scholarship to study music at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in NYC.
After working for TV broadcasting and a publishing company, today, Tomoko is the CEO of Go! Go! Curry! America, a grab-and-go Japanese comfort food restaurant franchise. There are over 75 locations in Japan, and 11 in the USA. She says, “Our mission is to serve our tasty curry nationwide in the USA and Canada to enrich the lives of our customers, employees, franchise owners and the communities we serve. Our vision is to create millions of satisfied customers, contented tummies and miles and miles of smiles for everyone!” Tomoko received the Nikkei BP Woman of the year award in 2015.