067: Becoming an International Japanese Food & Beverage Consultant W/ David De La Torre

podcast Aug 30, 2020
 

On this episode of the Small Business Japan Podcast I talk with David De La Torre about becoming a Japanese food and beverage consultant who promotes quality Japanese ingredients, tableware, and culture throughout the world. Join us for an interesting talk about importing, exporting, exploring rural Japan and adding your identity to your business. 

 

After having studied business management, David took those skills to the hospitality sector in all its roots, the last ten years have been dedicated to Japanese projects and he has been on the hunt for the best brews and connecting with people who are into perfecting their craft.  When it became clear to him that the food and beverage industry was part of his destiny, where better to center himself than Japan and its craftmanship? 

Mori1984 is a craft beer that was born out all of David’s experiences within the food and beverage sector and as an experienced home-brewer being intrigued how water truly contributes to the flavor. He discovered a brewery in Niigata, a great place for soft water willing to take his recipes to the next level. Moromi Magazine exists as the future of boosting the Japanese beverage industry. 

 

As a Japanese restaurant consultant, he really tries to inspire his customers to embrace real Japanese food and culture.  

He set up a whole network of providing fresh vegetables and other ingredients directly from Japan. Importing catering equipment, he developed a distribution arm to his business.  

Having access to the Shinkansen bullet train pass allows him to explore the countryside on many small trips to Japan. He is able to explore the rural areas with sake breweries and unique regional ingredients.  

Word of mouth is extremely important in the food and beverage market in Japan.  

Quality over quantity. People enjoy their jobs much more. When you are only trading on volume there is no passion in that. Aim to export or provide quality things to people.  

Know your numbers. Whatever amount you think you need, double that. That goes for your network too. If you think you need 100 connections, double it.  

Japan needs to encourage the Japanese restaurants abroad to step up their game. The Japanese community abroad also needs to push to raise the local level of Japanese food and drinks outside of Japan.  

2 important ingredients to a successful Japanese restaurant abroad: 

1) Identity -  

There needs to be an “identity” on the menu.  

2) Consistency 
 

“There’s no identity on the menu. There’s no identity in the recipes...There needs to be identity on the plates and tableware and in the team behind making it as well.” 

Sometimes you have to educate the client on how to cook better and then you sometimes have to figure out a new marketing strategy to get the old customers back who may have been turned off in the past.  

 Resources

Moromi Magazine 

Mori1984 

8 MGT Limited
London, Madrid, Tokyo  www.i8mgt.com

 

 

Audio file 

David De La Torre-Transcribe_mixdown.wav 

 

Transcript 

Welcome to the show David. 

Thank you very much. 

What is your connection to Japan? 

Speaker 1 

Well, the connection started about 10 years ago when I studied business management and um I used to work in a hotel chain famous hotel chain up in Manchester in the United Kingdom and but for some reason you know I got connected to a French man married to a Japanese lady who owned lovely Japanese restaurant in in cities and in London, and he was looking into expanding. You know the name, the brand and then since I had previously been connected with a couple of travels to Japan, I said. 

Speaker 1 

You know why not? I mean, food is my life and I've loved Japanese food or what I thought it was Japanese food at the time and it was good enough. You know to you know to make that jump. You know, I didn't hesitate and it's been 10 years connected with mainly the Food and drink industry in Japan. 

Speaker 2 

OK, so you have a few different things going on. Um, I guess tell us a little bit about your business is an what are your revenue streams? 

Speaker 1 

So revenue streams you know is still consulting. I am GT, it's number one. It's is being consolidated already for almost five years. 

Speaker 1 

On um on it was, um. He was born literally just out of the disappointments when going into dining to known to Japanese restaurants outside of Japan on, um, one of the things that I promised myself. I wouldn't like to see Japanese food becoming what? 

Speaker 1 

All the food cuisines around the world where the menu will be the same. The recipes will be the same. The test will be the same, Anna and Japan is never done. Japan is all about the seasons. They taste the adapting recipes you know to local ingredients and now we start realizing that there was. 

A lack of communication or a barrier when it comes into traveling to Japan and exploring what outside of the big cities. So I was, um, I wasn't given the chance as a paid chance as a consultant, so we started doing some free jobs and approaching restaurants that we thought they had a good human. 

Power behind the menus, they just needed a little bit of knowledge when it comes into hard to adapt those recipes and give the customers exactly what they wanted, so a little bit more taken. The small little tiny restaurant professionalizing a little bit more and adapting it. You know to you know to the customer's needs. 

Keeping always a good Japanese feeling. 

Speaker 2 

OK, so in the beginning was this primarily working with restaurants located in London? 

Speaker 1 

Yes, that's correct. You know we started working with the small little tiny restaurants and then later by later we'll start. You know you know our name is start getting a spread out through, you know. 

Bigger chains or bigger restaurant groups an we had the chance to be connected to. A good investor who was actually looking into creating something that he was much bigger. An, uh, we did a whole project upside down. You know, sourcing a good chef, you know. Good menu setting up. 

Not just relied on local Japanese ingredients, but to differentiate and to step up the level we will have to set up a whole network of vegetables, fresh vegetables, you know. Coming directly to what used to be the fish market in in Tokyo, Tsukiji, um and that was probably the most exciting project about it. 

He allowed us to set up a good distribution network. You know of Seafreight Airfreight an you know all that. Start taking a different path into our consultants. So we we start importing catering equipment. You know for restaurants when we realize everybody was doing the same menu. 

Same recipes and also they were actually using the same presentations and the same dishes you know out there. So who actually gave us the chance to do that? You know it straight away business wise. You know they could start seeing that on the starters they could charge 5% more. They start maximizing profits but not only that. 

You know most of the people thought, oh maybe I can make more profit. They didn't realize that improving the plates and the presentation they start becoming more Instagram friendly and all that. They didn't really need to adjust or increase pricing. You know, because volume was coming, you know things that. 

Speaker 2 

Right, right? OK, so I'm assuming then that you had to travel to Japan a little bit and sort of try to create relationships with places there. 

Speaker 1 

So I still count all my times. I've never personally lived. However, I will say four or five times a year. 

Next month will be my 39th time in Japan. 

I counted most of the times will be like minimum two weeks up to you know, six weeks, um, one of the very good things as as you know you know being known native Japanese, we are allowed to buy the rail pass. This is a huge help when it comes into discovery in the countryside. 

I think discovering the countryside allows you to find proper craftsmanship behind it. It allows you to discover many breweries, many distilleries, many farmers, and then you will come across. You know, ingredients that you've never seen, and then you will make you wonder. Why would I not be able to find this? You know, back home, you know. 

Oh, in Europe, you know we actually based on, uh, yeah, lots of countryside. 

Speaker 2 

So for your contact, your company that you built out the consulting and then did you add on importing licenses to bring those items to Europe? 

Speaker 1 

Yes, um one of the saddest things unlike America in America is a lot more freedom. In Europe we have lot of regulations. We will need the alcohol license if you import in food products, you know there is a chance that you will need to provide depending on the region in Japan. 

Radiation certificates under European law is very strict into that and also what kind of ingredients are forbidden for food consumption or not. So America and Europe? You know, they go into completely different ways where America is to my liking more flexible, so you're allowed to bring a lot more unique product from Japan. 

In Europe it gets a lot more restricted. One of the one of the downsides, but also is an upside. Normally Japanese companies they're flexible to innovate and to adapt recipes as long as they have the proper guidance to do that. So replacing one ingredient, let's say sugar for beam update. 

Content the fruits? Um we could give you an example we did for a source company ending into, you know UK and European supermarkets most of the Times. As you know, in Japan you will have your yakisoba sauce, your takoyaki sauce, your Tonkatsu Sauce, an it's. It's a very unique source for. 

So that's where I ask. For example, for the Europeans, nobody will be able to make a difference, so we spot a very good source company who had huge potential. However, you know we had to compromise a little bit on the name, so we came up with the idea. This is a Japanese barbecue sauce. Yeah, so we we picked up, you know, yakisoba sauce, I mean. 

Speaker 1 

So for okonomiyaki sauce and we just change one ingredient that ingredient allowed the supermarket chain to stamp in, you know, approve the product, you know, as you know there is no harmful ingredients or anything related into that. We got an oh did you know to the company? 

In Japan an we were good to go into the supermarket chains, OK? 

Speaker 2 

So at this point, are you white labeling and selling the product as your company, or are you? 

Sort of taking an affiliate fee anit's still relying on that sauce company. 

Speaker 1 

Well, how we work is we would never put our name in. We're still want, you know. Presently you know the brand name to be there as we actually believe. You know, they've been developing, you know their brand for years and years. What they just need is a bit more. 

Speaker 1 

Of an international approach when it comes into relying on the local market on the domestic market as as you know, a Japanese food brand will never have an issue landing into a Japanese restaurant or Japanese grocery store as the brand is consolidated. Anybody who's runs a brand or that environment will know. 

About it, whereas into the domestic market it will be completely starting from the scratch. 

Speaker 2 

So it's interesting and I'm just trying to wrap my head around the process of, you know, have you hopping on the, the shinkansen with the rail pass and you know getting out to the countryside? Um, some of these companies that you're working with. 

Are you fully fluent or do you have someone coming along with you to talk about like the details and the negotiations in Japanese and also are you helping them export or do they already have like export license? 

Speaker 1 

Normally, most of the cases I am not technically fluent in Japanese, I could probably, you know, defend myself in and izakaya a little bit of Saki, and that will make it a lot easier. I will always travel with an assistant you know, native Japanese. We haven't used services of translators. 

Speaker 1 

The past, uh, we're no poster is just, you know, we had the resources in house so we didn't need to. 

Speaker 1 

The How will we approach them? A lot of the times we do a lot of social networking in embassies or whenever we travel in. We are lucky. I must say the word of mouth within the Food and drink community is very important an the world is very small. 

Speaker 1 

So what will be connected from one to the other? 

Speaker 1 

Most of the Times the approach will be done by ourselves because we know the potential of those products into the domestic market. Since it's our expertise. The other example, I will tell you is Panko. Panko is an extremely you know product and an extreme product. It will be landing into anybody else's house within 10 years and the warping. 

Speaker 1 

So nobody will be using the word bread crumbs anymore, so people start using panko a lot more. We approach a burger chain in London. 

Speaker 1 

And they will. Actually they loved it. They will actually have instead of their bread crumbs that will add panko into it. There was an issue when it comes into that and it was there was a Japanese importer importing with exclusive rights means the margins that were very high so there were no sudden you know on into the food cost of their burger. 

Speaker 1 

Pain, the Japanese distributor, wouldn't be happy. You know dropping the margins so we have to act as an agent finding another food import with the Japanese company in order to meet those margins. While it won't be 4140 feet container. 

Speaker 1 

A year for the company, it turned out to be off at 2040 feet containers a year for the company. Wow, 20 times more than all that was out of the bloom. You know, we knew, you know, and we didn't expect anything, so we just approached the product to the burger chain and then we will actually, you know. 

Speaker 1 

If you're happy with, let's make it work. If we cannot make it work with an existing imported already, surely there must be a way as the company in Japan should miss the chance. 

Speaker 2 

OK, so you're you're trying to spread the you know native Japanese products beyond just the rest. The Japanese restaurants abroad. 

Speaker 2 

Yeah, 'cause That's that's always been a, you know a quite a limited market. 

Speaker 1 

I would, I would say our skills realize into since we know the food industry anasa Spanish itself, you know food is also good part of the culture. I always challenge myself to find something that can be linked into. 

Speaker 1 

You know, in in in turn, Japanese further linked into any other international cuisine. Anna, since Japanese food is so versatile and there is so much choice out there, there is always something that easily you can route into the domestic market. 

Speaker 2 

So your consulting company is highly developed and along the way you also fell into Mori1984, tell us a little bit about that. 

Speaker 1 

All happens I'm a true American craft beer lover. 

I think American craft beers at I think is is miles ahead. You know the UK is picking up a lot, you know with a lot of American influence you know and it's good to see different characters. These different personalities you know jumping into the market. Um, one of the very good things since being a foot consultant, a lot of sushi chains. 

Speaker 1 

With the market and most of the time it is cost absolutely you know, but also even a single beer importer wouldn't be able to get a whole container. 

Or take workshops will come to us to say David. How can we improve the shelf life of our sushi rice? And this is very transparent. I really we don't charge for those services anymore because I think it should be a standard you know, to make good sushi rice or otherwise you know you probably. 

Speaker 1 

Right, right? So we. 

Speaker 1 

We feel that we first we need to dominate, not dominate, but half an. That's one of very good thing that European Union does. You can. 

Speaker 1 

Import is called on the bond. That means you don't pay the V 80 on the alcohol tax. You keep it in a bonded warehouse and then you can export anywhere in Europe. 

Damaging, you know the reputation of the word sushi and reason number one is the quality of water. 

Speaker 1 

Oh, I see. OK, speed is... 

Speaker 1 

Is very quick, you know to do all those transactions so you can have your container coming here and then you can be. 

Speaker 1 

But if you actually take it into any other international dish, let's talk about Italian risotto, Spanish paella an if you pick some of those iconic dishes back in the past there were developed in regions where the water was very soft. Pallet I sit and ship pallets to anywhere. 

Speaker 2 

So one large you know shipment container coming in and then from there almost like dispersing it. 

Speaker 1 

That's right, the good advantage there are disadvantages and advantages. With that. The biggest disadvantage is of course you will be shipping many pallets. Let's say one pallet instead of container. 

Japan never had that issue because normally all around Japan the water will be very soft, so cooking rice with soft water is a standard they will never think you know. Is there anything such as a hard water like in overseas, so we start consulting and we we saw that the water source. 

So you're going to be increasing your logistic cost a little bit, but the biggest advantage will be that as a alcohol importer, you wouldn't have to bring the whole container yourself. 

So you could get one pallet and within Dampalit we can actually mix it with other kind of products. It could be in the future saga or guest beers you know from other microbreweries. In Japan this is the. This is the lead that we would like to take an that means access to small retail shops. 

Speaker 1 

A small beer shops, a small supermarket. It becomes more feasible so. 

Speaker 2 

Are you finding any difficulties or I guess how are you spreading the word or creating the buzz around your beer from Japan that people aren't able to actually taste yet? 

Speaker 1 

So we were talking Europe where we mainly focus at the moment. 

Speaker 1 

It is very hard to, let's say, to break the tradition where any branding is actually made in Japan and is imported by a Japanese food and drink importer. It will be under exclusive terms. This is something that we are. 

Speaker 1 

We are open, we are transparent and we will never recommend to any brand for one reason. The exclusive importer will put an exclusive markup means the product will never move. 

Speaker 1 

What we do instead we actually appoint what we call a distributor of distributors. 

Speaker 1 

Under contract, there is no exclusivity, but the margin will be a lot lower than an exclusive importer will be. That is actually for us the biggest incentive to God, LinkedIn to research the net. We will pick a European country and we will say OK let's buy a database of alcohol importers less. Contact them. 

Speaker 1 

Let's ask them sorry if you are not interested, please do let us know who will be suitable for us. Give us the guidance, help developping a small brand. This is the biggest incentive because we know we we start becoming price competitive. We can invest more money into buying leads you know to get that we can invest more money into Instagram. 

Speaker 1 

At but that's because we have the assurance when somebody contact us, we can already give them the price directly which we have agreed with the distributor of distributors. 

Speaker 1 

And this is something that I highly encourage all the time. It's very difficult to change. 

Speaker 1 

Bot is very doable OK? 

Speaker 2 

I'm wondering when when you got started, um, for you bootstrapping, or you mentioned money. So I'm wondering, are there are there are a number of other investors in the company? 

Speaker 1 

No, at the moment sole proprietor of the holding the the group an I've been lucky I'm I'm not a true, true minimalist but. 

Speaker 1 

I can live with very little so savings. You know, throughout my professional career has been easy. I'm the type of person that it will take me a little bit of time to make my mind, but when I make it, I'm all in Nice, OK and I'm I'm I'm not I'm I'm not opposing for the future. I think for the future we will need different investors. 

Speaker 1 

Us, we're not looking for the cash. We looking for skills that we don't have, right? Because we think this is how business is going to do in the future. You know, with different personalities, somebody who is specialized in marketing, let's say or somebody who specialize on sales or logistics. You know? So those are the you know the profiles that we could be looking into it. 

Speaker 2 

What's something that you've changed your mind about regarding Japan. 

Speaker 1 

I think I haven't changed my mind yet. OK, I think I've never been until comics or an email or all type of things, but we could call me a food article, drinks or that girl, you know, nuts. 

Speaker 1 

One thing that I've if I haven't changed, I have adapted. 

Speaker 1 

To approach companies that they could be exporting a lot more, I have experience in to where before I wouldn't understand why don't you want to do it? You know, because you can take the benefits out of that where now instead I know how to work different way around to convince them. 

Speaker 1 

On most of the Times, you know the good thing going back to the rail bars if I am traveling to from Tokyo to Hiroshima, I will actually stop in Nagoya for one night, and I will actually say to the person, hey, I'm in Nagoya for that night because of business. How about having dinner? I will actually do it on purpose. 

Speaker 1 

Just to keep that connection. 

Speaker 2 

So OK, yeah, that's great. So you found ways to kind of continually, you know, build that you know. Very popular. 

Speaker 1 

Maintain a forcing. Who's going to have a dream forced to keep connected visually face to face? 

Speaker 2 

And you've worked with a number of different companies now, so I'm I'm assuming you. 

Speaker 2 

Get used to hearing or understanding what their common complaint or reasoning about, how they you know. Oh, we could never expand. You know, we could, you know, we're just a small Japanese place, so do you find it difficult sometimes to? 

Speaker 2 

Show them opportunities to sell abroad. 

Speaker 1 

It's, as you say, it's the hardest part you know too and I don't like using the word change, but adapting, you know, to new at times, you know, modifying your routine attempts and can actually open you an additional 10 doors. We live into the 21st century. 

Speaker 1 

We can automatize our work. Zapier is one of the best tools that you could probably do an you could be taking all these globally and you could be invoicing without you being present. You know on your computer, convincing them to do that. It's it takes time unfortunately, you know that's. 

Speaker 1 

Part of change. It's called time. You cannot change that, so you have to understand that at some point. Also, you need to realize when to stop insisting as the other person won't be interesting to take that risk. However, the very good thing to overcome that is finding no direct competitor for them. 

Speaker 1 

But somebody who shares, potentially, you know the same kind of industry or the same kind of product and help them how you've done it? OK, highlighting those steps one at a time and insisting them that perhaps the next person that employee is shouldn't have so much. 

Speaker 1 

Experience into the field, but more English speaking skills. Just having a much more Fast forward communication and that person speaking English. It will perhaps have a completely different view on how to take the product you know globally or understanding the people that is known Japanese. 

Speaker 1 

You know dealing with them. 

Speaker 2 

I'm wondering how your business and an brands are standing out from the crowd and getting attention. I know either traveling in Japan or you know expanding in in Europe there there are already large companies like JFC or something like that that have like. 

Speaker 2 

Established, um, you know, networks. How are you I? If you consider yourself a competitor to them or someone like that, how are you standing out? 

Speaker 1 

I'm very glad that you actually mentioned JFC. Jeff Safe also is A is a is a reliable partner that we use in in Europe. Our beer. 

Speaker 1 

Is partly distributed in, JFC in a in UK last week, despite coronavirus in Italy we shipped a pallet of our beer and there's going to be further developments on the 10 countries they operate. At. Some point we've made him understand we cannot give an exclusivity. 

Speaker 1 

But if they're willing to become distributor of this three with those compromised margin a little bit and help us, you know exposing our brand even more, they've understood it. 

Speaker 1 

That also, since I've been working in the hospitality industry in the UK for so long, I've been very connected to JFC UK, so that has helped me. You know to develop those relationships. OK, so as as of right. 

Speaker 2 

Now you're still, you're almost here, is partnering with them in a way. 

Speaker 2 

So when you're in Japan promoting your service, do some of those you know. Smaller Japanese companies say, well, why wouldn't I go with, you know, a whiz medic? Or JFC one of the larger groups? How do you? 

Speaker 1 

But in our case, we wouldn't actually carry that product the physical products, but we can help them find in those distributors know what's more important. We help them understanding they shouldn't be given exclusivity to a single distributor. 

Speaker 1 

The product will never be developed. It will never go outside of the Japanese community bubble. 

Speaker 1 

So they need to have if it's a drinks brand, we will highly recommend having at least a Japanese an unknown Japanese distributor. If he's a T company, they should be able to have a list through distributors that allows them to pump that product into so many many shops. 

Speaker 1 

We will go to FedEx in Tokyo and then if we feel the product has great potential we will approach them an we will do some trials. We will import a small quantities. We will. 

Speaker 1 

Also help them understanding their routes to logistics in Europe and how efficiently, if they're willing to work, that extra paperwork. 

Speaker 1 

You know how they can maximize and reach the domestic market? 

Speaker 2 

OK, and I'm assuming some of those your food conventions, like you mentioned are are the you know the perfect grounds because those are the brands or or small mom and pop shops that are looking to expand. It's a great meeting ground. 

Speaker 1 

Potentially the best trade show there is in Japan to my liking will be food X, however FedEx will be very reliable on just the domestic market, but on the last three years you will find Japan food export an you starting to see a lot more drinks. You know that they're actually available to be export. 

You're starting to see how those small companies they're willing to say. If I have to change 1% of that ingredient, I compromise maybe a little bit on the taste, but we can actually reach the export market. They will into there, or at least what I say they're willing to start listening to you, whereas five years ago. 

Most attorneys will be a big no and then you have to work towards that. 

Speaker 2 

Yeah yeah. Are those companies comfortable with keeping their same name even though they've had to adjust the recipes slightly? Or are you encouraging launching under a a new name for the international market? 

Speaker 1 

We would probably say like 70% of the branch should remain the same. 

Speaker 1 

But we need to find a way around and hunt incorporate more alphabet. One of the disadvantages that we will have is in Japan they will drive vertical and a lot of the you know the packaging will be written in vertical. So at that in a horizontal way to build your message in is in most of the occasion. 

Surface it will be enough, you know to do that. How do we do that? We need to incorporate graphic designer Japanese graphic designers that they based overseas and they can and actually understand their local market. 

Speaker 2 

Interesting OK yeah, so so yeah. So you have to work with, you know Japanese. 

Speaker 2 

Graphic designer in London, for example, who can understand both sides of the communication. That's right, great, great, OK. Well this is a good spot. We're going to sort of switch it up and jump to the shinkansens speed round. 

Speaker 2 

I just wanted to let everyone know that we're revamping the small business Japan website and are getting ready to launch a membership filled with courses, resources and a like minded community of aspiring and successful Japan related small business owners. An entrepreneurs. If you're thinking of starting your business or growing your business. 

Speaker 2 

And network then this is the place for you to stay up to date with the community news an receive early bird discounts head on over to the website and subscribe to get you started. I also have a free mini ebook with podcast links for you called 18 small business startup tips from some of today's top Japan Preneurs. 

Speaker 2 

Now back to the show. 

Speaker 2 

David, where were you born? Madrid, Madrid? Where do you currently reside London? How old are you now? 36 what do you do for stress relief? 

Speaker 1 

Eat good food. 

Speaker 2 

What is a Japanese food or drink? You're sort of hooked on right now. 

Speaker 1 

Drink Japanese sake forever and ever OK. 

Speaker 2 

What's the last place that you vacationed and for how long? 

Speaker 1 

Japan for weeks. 

Speaker 2 

Nice, what book would you recommend for our small business Japan listeners? 

Speaker 1 

I would probably say the Sake On Air. 

Speaker 1 

That's our guy on air at the moment. 

Speaker 1 

Where a break this guy called Chris hooks has been living in Tokyo for a long while an they trying to voice the word of saga out there in a very casual way. Highly recommended. 

Speaker 2 

OK yeah, that's a great podcast. Yeah, is there a book you recommend? 

Speaker 1 

Not that not that I can probably say I'm not very familiar yet, OK. 

Speaker 2 

Alrighty so Dave, what advice would you give to someone who's wanting to start their own small business? 

Speaker 1 

Know your numbers. 

What ever you forecast, multiply by two as a cost in. 

Speaker 1 

You will be short of cash an that also applies to your networking Contacts. If you relied on 100, Make sure that you have 200 connections. 

Speaker 2 

Nice. 

Speaker 2 

What's something you're excited about right now? 

Speaker 2 

Next month going to Japan. OK, going back alright we we developin a Pilsner recipe so I'm excited about that. OK, so you're going there and you're gonna sort of oversee the process. Work with them a little bit, you know create a new product, yes, so I'm excited to do that. We've. 

Speaker 1 

This is our third recipe trial. We go into the direction where I want to take and yeah, I can't wait. 

Speaker 2 

So you mentioned that you've already had some sent to Italy an. 

Speaker 2 

Are are you? 

Speaker 2 

Looking at the Japanese market or your that's later on. 

Speaker 1 

I think probably by 2021 that's we're gonna start putting our eyes into the domestic market. I think the Columbia business at the moment in Japan. It's got to a point where is not saturated, but it needs a little bit more development into that, so we wouldn't be able to survive just with the Japanese sales. 

Speaker 2 

I think yeah, yeah. 

Speaker 2 

With everything that's going on around the world recently, um, and especially because you're in the Food and beverage business, has your business model changed? Or has your, um, your volume that you've done? 

Speaker 1 

They will come out with that passion that will buy fermenters that will buy tongues. They will buy candles and they will forget later. They have to sell it, yeah, but they wouldn't have the time to sell it so it's almost like a we're working on opposite we're working on. So was the marketing. The branding we didn't invest into the facilities we had invested. 

Speaker 2 

Dramatically been affected lately. 

Speaker 1 

We've in Europe. Unfortunately, we become stagnated. You know we relied 100% on food, bars, hotels, catering industries. So when it comes into Revenue Service in at the moment is zero. However, we've realized. 

Speaker 1 

Into their supply chain, the logistic chain. You know the brand in the marketing and who knows in the future will be able to build our own brew in Japan. That's yet to be decided. 

Speaker 2 

Nice nice OK, so you're using there and Japanese. 

Speaker 1 

That perhaps you know we needed an experience like this to think more. Fast forward on what we want to do. And how many Laws there are. 

Speaker 2 

Looser than they are in in the states in the US and and well, New York in particular, with, um, you know, being able to bottle at the facility, and then you can distribute online are they. Are you starting to promote that brand within Japan? 

Speaker 1 

I think it's a. It's a great opportunity that you have time to think we've come out with ideas more. Omni magazine. It's something that has been pushed to the limit that we didn't expect, at least until the end of the year an this has been a great timing for that. 

Speaker 1 

No, yet we have set up ourselves. 

Speaker 1 

As you know, if your Japanese product becomes very popular overseas then they will they will say why can we not get it here? However? You know Maury has a huge part behind out of all the Japanese restaurants with dine, you know worldwide and being able to not find. 

Speaker 1 

Anna, I really urge people if they still have the time they're working from home. If they have the time invested into your own business plan. Drafted right, it greeted keep in your drawer and see how you have it both next year. 

Speaker 1 

Any crappy is out there for whatever reason is costing or logistics you know, and so there will be always 34 dominant companies. As you know that it will be taken more. 

Speaker 2 

That's great. 

Speaker 2 

So what is next for your industry? Do you see any changes or disruptions coming? 

Speaker 1 

I think when it comes into Japanese restaurants, they gonna keep growing. However, we don't want to rely so much on those jobs anymore. We would like to get detached from that and focus more into mori1994. 

Speaker 1 

On the magazine that we’re developing, I think we've come across with Moromi Magazine has what those small brands that industry needs to. Once there are some trade so Jetro will say the Japanese government jetro will be going overseas promoting psyche. 

Speaker 1 

But that will stay there, it wouldn't develop anymore. 'cause it is all done to knowledge at the end of the day. So we need to become that external arm that he actually maximized the reach of that message an I think we we gonna start working towards that way. It's something that. 

Speaker 1 

Also, is going to have developing morian rich different markets. 

Speaker 1 

Anna I think is something that is very excited for us to get connected with more people from the industry. 

Speaker 2 

That's great, that's great. Is there something you feel the Japan preneur community should know about that? Maybe I didn't cover. 

Speaker 1 

I think that's a very good question. 

seen how Japanese itself, especially overseas, should encourage Japanese, let's say Let's talk about the Japanese restaurants. Hard to encourage them to increase their level. 

Speaker 1 

I think that's something that yes, I I think the industry is going to need 'cause there's gonna be so many more Japanese restaurants opening up and the moment that somebody's a takeaway received at home by over it's a Japanese ROM. And if the Roman is not good. 

Speaker 1 

People will associate there or I don't like Japanese rum, and so the Japanese community out there. They they have to be, you know, the ones pushing the limit pushing the level you know to those operating. 

Speaker 2 

Yeah yeah, you mentioned that earlier and it really does strike a chord with us because you know, for my wife and I that that was the main reason that we started up in, you know, restaurants and an brewing. Here was, like you mentioned is you can talk with, uh, a large distributor and they will basically hand you everything you need to start. Here's your concentrate. Add water to it. You've got Rahman, you know here here's your sushi. Use our sushi rice. Use our vinegar, bam, you're done and not that those flavors are bad, but. 

Speaker 2 

My biggest issue has always been they're all exactly the same, so when you're just multiplying that same flavor, you're not creating anything new or original. And yeah in a way, it becomes sort of commercialized and ends up feeling. 

Speaker 1 

We call that there is no identity on the menu. There is no identity on the recipe is an and as you know, operating restaurants. If your head chef. 

Speaker 1 

Leaves tomorrow is gonna go to the next place and he's gonna take your recipes into the recipe book. That means the next place is going to have the same taste, the same flavor, same presentation. They only thing they won't have is if you as an owner invested into good tableware from Japan. Those dishes that we were talking. 

Speaker 1 

You know before because they wouldn't know how to get them. 

Speaker 2 

Right, right? Yeah, that's that's great that you know you are promoting the craft and the identity an helping you know restaurant tours and and bars and different places create their own identity and relationship with Japan. 

Speaker 2 

That becomes their unique selling proposition. 

Speaker 1 

Now that they added value the identity it needs to be on your dishes an not only on your dishes, then you need to work on the hardest part, which is your human power. Your team behind that. Then they need to buy into that. 

Speaker 1 

They need to buy into that. They need to understand it because if they don't understand it, they don't buy into that. You will be able to do it for just a month after a month. Again, it will get diluted. We call that consistency. 

Speaker 2 

That's great. 

Speaker 1 

I can clearly see from your background where we are. Yeah, yeah you. You're challenging your heart, you know at them now as a as a you know as a brewery on about restaurant owner, you know you nailed it like you contact your Japanese distributor. You know I wanna make them and they send you concentrated. 

Speaker 1 

But one liter of their seven liter of that, you know. But this then the the people you're going to employ. They're never going to be proud of that, right, right? Yeah, yeah, it's how you build it. How do you put them? You know that, Agnes, you know the you know the those butterflies into that when you they plating up. You know really nice Roman. 

Speaker 1 

With a homemade chatu Danny tomorrow that is being made with Grey soy sauce into that and they think, wow. And that's why you know, that's what? 

Speaker 2 

In a restaurants can hope is that the customers do realize a difference and they can't always pinpoint why. But you know, overall accumulative Lee. Hopefully they you know they they learn to appreciate that. 

Speaker 1 

So that's why there has to be more than that, an. Unfortunately, as our westerners we. 

Speaker 1 

It despite the experience that we have, nobody can see that behind either overseas and also in Japan, so the Japanese experts living overseas. They're the ones that they have to be honest. Sorry this is. This is not good. I mean you have to level up, you know. 

Speaker 2 

Right, that's one of the. 

Speaker 2 

Difficulties I think we found with particularly like you just mentioned the expats. You know. I think Japanese people in general don't complain, you know there they're not out there calling people on their crap, basically. 

Speaker 2 

You know it's it's very rare that you know our customer or Japanese customers come to us and they love it and you know they'll they'll tell all their friends as much as possible, but. 

You 

Speaker 2 

They would never go so far as to call a place in authentic or fake, which. 

Speaker 2 

I'm comfortable doing that. I mean if it you know as a Westerner, it's like if if this is fake and I can tell what's fake. They don't. You know I'll say it, yeah, but you know you're not having you know the push from the community. 

As much as you know, I would like them to. 

Speaker 1 

One of one of the examples that that goes into drink. You know more Moromi Magazine. It was appropriate for years ago. That and I started seeing those Japanese whiskies, but they know Japanese whiskies, they Canadian and Scotch being diluted with Japanese water. 

Speaker 1 

Right? 

Speaker 1 

And that's you know, you know, that's something that on Marami Magazine we say we will never talk about those. We will never promote them an if we promote them we're gonna call them or world whisky. But we will never call them Japanese whisky an we've already been approached by a Japanese whisky brand an we've said. 

Speaker 1 

As long as we can call it world whisky, know Japanese whisky, but they actually refuse. 

Speaker 2 

Right, right, that's the main selling point. 

Speaker 1 

Correct, you know on that something that we will never refuse, you know, just you know, changing the mentality and that goes to food. I mean, gram in, you know it's a big thing that is going to grow in there. 

Speaker 1 

In like I say Rahman, it's here to stay. Rahman is not gonna be one of those dishes or cuisines. Now it's a boom and three years later this big Nono Rahman is going to stay. Roman has that DNA. When somebody tries a good ram in that said they hooked like the soy sauce. Once you try again. 

Speaker 1 

So you can go back, right? Yeah, that's great. Good socket once you try to good soccer, you can go back to those mainstream brands into that. It's called education, so those Japanese, they played a key fundamental part you know into bringing the level up. Last year alone there were 17,000 restaurants, Japanese restaurants. 

Speaker 1 

Open all over the world. Be here before. There were ten 12,000. 

Speaker 2 

They're growing, yeah. 

Speaker 1 

So how can we do, you know, just to you know, just in a becoming another restaurant, this is the hardest thing. 

Speaker 2 

Yeah, do you find yourself sometimes having to almost teach Japanese culture to some of the Pseudo Japanese restaurants that open up? 

Speaker 1 

We do an uh. Luckily now we refuse a lot of the works. I would probably say like 8 out of 10 jobs we will refuse them and that will be 'cause they at most cases that would like a consultant to say yes. You are doing great, you know part into the shoulders. You know how come people doesn't understand your philosophy, your food? 

Speaker 1 

I'm sorry we're not that type of consultant that will be here. Take your money and for that is better. You find a psychologist or somebody you know who is going to do that an. 

Speaker 1 

And that's partly that we want to detach ourselves from those jobs. Yeah, 'cause it's it's like compromising on their philosophy of the client and your philosophy. And you know, even though at some point you have to say, OK, you know, but you know, that's something that we're not. 

Speaker 1 

Comfortable these days. 

Speaker 2 

Yeah yeah, and I'm just on a personal note, are you? So you're in Madrid now? Are you having to fly to London I mean Germany or Amsterdam or you know, are you consulting like like all over the place? That seems like a lot of travel. 

Speaker 1 

We we have clients Indiana. 

Speaker 1 

Toronto, Miami, uh, we open in two places in Moscow and Abu Dhabi of the same of the same group, same chamsin brand. We got customers in Germany, France, Denmark, Spain, Italy. 

Speaker 1 

Romania, you know? Romania recently. It's unbelievable. It's a hot market. I don't know why they truly appreciate you know Japanese food. You would have never thought about it. They do. Poland is a great market. We haven't done much about that. 

Speaker 2 

Are you looking to expand in the US? Some of your consulting services or I know importing is is could be difficult, but yeah. 

Speaker 1 

I don't think as a consultant if we do is because we want to participate, um. 

Speaker 1 

On the shares of that company, because in most of the case you know, we actually believe that we give a lot more than we, we actually get an. That's that's something that potentially that we could be looking into doing. We have some food brands that we've done, some tradeshows or you know Japanese events. You know, people liked it. 

Speaker 1 

Uh, no, I don't think we're gonna be taking new clients as I client consultant as we know it. I I don't think there will be any knew customers like that. Yeah OK alright. 

Speaker 1 

This one is more only magazine is going to have fully focus in the next 18 months. As we we like to take it eventually in 18 months to have how we call subscription subscription. Package of trains flying directly from Japan, but for that we need a good network specially in the state. Shipping alcohol is very. 

Speaker 1 

Is very complicated right? So for that we would need to have like or selling points. Or you know distribution points right? There would be very easy 'cause we have already the network setup. We have the license already covered and set up. That's very easy. Yeah, we would like to do a Japanese Crappier subscription. So to subscription's sake subscription. 

Speaker 1 

A mix you know, so those kind of things. But we know we have to build the database brand people in the industry. 

Speaker 2 

Very cool, very cool. Well I love I love hearing about you know all of the you know different avenues and angles that you know you're expanding too. Yeah, very inspiring. 

Speaker 1 

Most of the Times he's been as you know, like you start touching one thing, but you don't put that fully focus into that 'cause you don't know he or you don't feel confident. It could be a revenue stream you know to support your. 

Speaker 1 

Your lifestyle. Luckily we becoming a lot more confident. You know when it comes into the where we want to take how long it's gonna take until we can leave out of that as well, we wanted escalate some part of the business side. The consulting is mainly goes. It's really time consuming and. 

Speaker 1 

You have to compromise a lot for the client. 

Speaker 2 

Right, right, yeah? Like you said, like sometimes they you know they really want a Pat on the back to without wanting to compromise too much. 

Speaker 1 

Yeah, and you can imagine on this the amount of Recents. 

Speaker 1 

We've done consulting that the owners, even the head chef. They've never been in Japan. 

Speaker 2 

Yeah, it's that's why I was wondering about like having to start from, you know, OK, I understand this is a good idea, but this would never work in Japan. Like you you kind of have to cultural teach them why this is wrong. 

Speaker 1 

Some people you succeed or they. 

Speaker 1 

Are willing to listen to you as long as you probably do like a some free jobs you know you do a little bit of free consulting, then you get them to hook into it, but later they just find out, hey, you know what I'm making good on numbers here. I don't care about, you know whether you call it Japanese or no people thinks is Japanese. 

Speaker 1 

Right, right? That's why you end up working for people who really appreciate that you know. I mean people. The word of mouth takes in one another...

 

 

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