Japan's Marugame Seimen chain opens 4 delivery outlets in Indonesia

01, Jul. 2020

A Marugame Seimen outlet in Jakarta (NNA)
A Marugame Seimen outlet in Jakarta (NNA)

By Masayuki Tada

JAKARTA, NNA - The Indonesian operator of Japanese noodle restaurant chain Marugame Seimen has launched four delivery outlets in the Southeast Asian country in its struggle to tide over the economic fallout from the COVID-19 outbreak.

PT. Sriboga Marugame Indonesia has opened the delivery shops in and around Jakarta amid restrictions on economic activities, aiming to mitigate the impact of a fall in sales, Hajime Kondo, the company's director, told NNA.

The local company, which is endorsed to operate in Indonesia under the Marugame Seimen brand by Japanese dining service group Toridoll Holdings Corp., initially planned to open only one delivery shop but has increased the number.

As a result of the virus outbreak, the proportion of delivery sales has soared to as high as 86 percent of total revenue, Kondo said in an interview with NNA on June 20.

Starting this month, the local firm plans to sell home-cooking items such as frozen hotpot noodle packages online to diversify its sales channels, Kondo said.

"It is a high risk that we solely rely on our existing operation amid uncertainties over the novel coronavirus (outbreak)," he said.

The Indonesian unit also intends to open small restaurants with lower priced menu items, eyeing store openings in such locations as inside railway stations and service areas on toll roads, Kondo said.

With about 70 restaurants currently in operation in Indonesia, the company pays close attention to social distancing to ensure a safe hygiene environment.

It is also considering raising the price of some items on the menu.

Because of the pandemic, "wealthy classes spend more on the health aspects of food while low-income classes seek more reasonable meals to satisfy their need in the face of unstable jobs and income," Kondo said.

Meanwhile, Sriboga Marugame Indonesia has closed the Marugame Seimen restaurant at Terminal II of Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in the suburbs of Jakarta, despite it boasting one of the highest revenues among all outlets.

This came after passengers almost vanished due to travel restrictions, though it has kept another restaurant at Terminal III. The company is also considering shutting about five outlets in Jakarta and other cities as they may be deemed unprofitable, according to Kondo.

The Indonesian firm slashed over 1,000 part-time jobs by the end of March. The number of staffers -- regular, contract and part-time workers -- stands at about 1,110, and it has suspended the renewal of contract workers to reduce costs, Kondo said. (NNA/Kyodo)