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Motto Motto creates Japanese ready-meal brand to boost revenue

Just late last year Motto Motto announced plans to franchise the brand with an ambitious national growth strategy. Now the restaurant has pivoted to introduce Australia’s first Japanese meal kit and ready-made meal brand Kyoto.

The brand launch is a response to the coronavirus crisis. While still trading, Motto Motto is adding to its revenue stream by tapping into its team and manufacturing capability.

The company will provide contactless home delivery of Kyoto meal kits and are seeking to bring Kyoto to independent supermarkets and grocers. Group managing director, William Liu said these customers “don’t just want convenience, but also restaurant quality food when dining from the safety and comfort of their own home”.

Motto Motto has a vertically integrated business where 60 per cent of purchases are supplied by its internal wholesale division.

“This is great when business is booming but is a threat during harder times. We have not just been challenged on the retail side, but the wholesale side of our group as well,” Liu told Inside FMCG.

“The immediate impact was revenue in our customer facing business. To solve this, we looked at our infrastructure and team to see what was possible. By way of utilising our marketing team for concept and sales, our executive chef for product development, our quality assurance manager for production and our HACCP certified facility [in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley] and distribution infrastructure we saw an obvious pivot where we could not only chase revenue but meet a gap in the market for quality at home ramen.”

Kyoto branded ramen dish from Motto Motto

Former head of Huxtaburger, Matt Fickling is the group’s head of brand and marketing.

“We know that this pivot in our business model is meeting a gap in the market – particularly for premium at home ramen,” he said.

Customers will be able to order Kyoto online for twice-weekly deliveries.

Liu said the most important learning from the business transition is that “anything is possible” and he is eager to expand beyond Brisbane if the demand is there.

“As a brand and team we saw a challenge, analysed our team and operations capability, saw a gap in the market, created a concept, developed a brand brand and took it to market with sales in a matter of weeks,” Liu said.

“Our first week sales have been very encouraging. We are already in talks with a distributor in NSW and a multisite retailer based in Melbourne.”

Motto Motto has secured wholesale customers for Kyoto and is seeking expressions of interest from other interested retailers and distributors around Australia.

All the recipes have been created by Motto Motto’s executive chef, Ryuji Tomihara. The Kyoto range includes three make at home ramen kits. Prices start from $8.99 per meal.

Additional reporting by Ruth Hogan.

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