Can Sushi make me become a Toyota?

Looking at the title of this blog entry, some of you would certainly think of Lukas’ excellent blog series referring to Toyota’s A3 model. If you presume that I am just copying his idea, just read this article until the end and you will find out that I am not. As I have already mentioned in my last bog entry, this article is going to be about the world-wides most popular Japanese dish: SUSHI.

Why have I chosen this title?

I got inspiration for this topic when sitting in the bus apps class listening to Toyota’s A3 report. Being profoundly impressed by Toyota’s A3 model and the way it managed to get to the top, I was wondering what else we could learn from these smart Japanese. Definitely, there must be much more behind this success. Besides their mentality and education, could maybe nutrition play a decisive factor for their intelligence? Talking about Japanese nutrition, Sushi immediately comes into my mind. Is this national dish the secret of the Japanese success? We’ll see…

Having worked for several Sushi Bars in Berlin, Sushi is something I know too well and I am sure, most of you are familiar with Sushi as well. However, just like Bubble Tea or other “odd stuff” coming from Asia, it took quite some time until being successfully introduced into the Western world and warmly welcomed and accepted by the Western palate.

Raw fish?! No thanks!

Whereas nowadays it is considered “normal” to eat raw fish, about 15 years ago, it would be natural to find it unbelievingly disgusting- what today many amongst us indeed still do.

Short Introduction

Sushi is a type of vinegar rice topped with fish and wrapped with seaweed.

Besides of pure fish, other toppings and fillings such as seafood, vegetables, tofu and eggs are used.
Sushi always comes along with ginger, wasabi and soya sauce as a side dish.
In general, there are 3 different kinds:
  • Nigiri- a rice ball with a slice of fish on top,
  • Maki- sushi rolls wrapped in seaweed
  • Temaki- sushi wrapped in a large cylindric form.


Origin

What I did not know prior to my researches is the fact that Sushi actually does not originate from Japan, but from ..guess what: China. (that’s what nobody would have expected as Chinese are normally famous for copying things 😉 Nevertheless, Sushi was introduced to Japan in the 17th century and in the course of time it had become the most well-known national dish. Above all, its highly valued nutritional nature has made this dish becoming so popular.

Nutritional Benefits

In general, the main ingredients of sushi -rice and fish- are naturally low in fat. More nutritional benefits are presented below:

  • Fats: Rich in Omega 3 or unsaturated fat. No fat was introduced in making the sushi as it is served raw.
  • Proteins: High levels of protein in tofu, seafood, omelet and above all in fish.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Ginger, seaweed and many other vegetables are rich in nutrients.
  • Carbohydrates: Found in vegetables and mainly in rice.

Evernote Food Icon- a piece of evidence for Sushi's popularity

What do we learn?

From the Marketing point of view:

As for launching a new product, respectively entering in a new market, we can see that it is essential to exermine the market very carefully, knowing the target group, its demand and preferences. By knowing exactly the great Western ambition of turning from an unhealthy nutrition to a well-balanced diet, a trend I have presented in my last post, the clever Japanese saw the gold opportunity to perfectly promote their traditional dish.

And from the consumer’s perspective?

If you assume that I will invite you to only eat sushi from now on as it contains so many nutritional benefits, you are completely… wrong! Through further researches, I have also found a rather shocking fact about this so highly valued dish.  Dailymail.co.uk revealed that fish, such as tuna and bluefin, have great levels of mercury which can be hazardous to one’s health when eaten it in large quantities. Eating uncooked fish furthermore can expose you to bacteria and viruses, raw seafood may also result to risks of anisakiasis, causing diarrhea, parasitic infection and poisoning, especially if not prepared properly. Blogger Bianca additionally reveals in her blog that surimi- the popular imitation crab meat- is over-processed and loaded with sodium. According to welt.de, Omega-3 fat which until now claims to be extremely healthy, is not much healthier than lard.


Confused? -You are not alone!

Huh.. all that information has made me really uncertain now. However, there is one thing I am completely certain about:

Sushi alone definitely does not make you become a Toyota! 

By all means, I do further researches in order to clarify this confusion. Furthermore, I am really keen to know what kind of food really influences our intelligence. Is it actually possible? If you are curious about the answer, just stay tuned to my coming blog entry!

In the meantime, check out the following links to learn more about sushi, from its history to recipes:
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Food Business Trends to watch for 2012

Before starting with my first blog entry of this year, I hope you all had a healthy start into the new year!
The reason for me to chose the following topic is due to the German Saying:
“Neues Jahr -Neues Glück” – As for 2012, first of all I wish you a lot of luck and success and may all your wishes and ambitions become true. If some of you intend to start a business in the food industry this year, don’t miss the following article!

 

No matter how tough the economy is, people still need to eat, right?

Recently, my colleague Martin published an excellent blogpost listing numerous crises that affect our world. Despite the fact that there are indeed lots of crises happening at the moment, my first blog entry this year however will be dedicated to Food Business Trends for 2012, a topic I have already mentioned in my introductory blog post.
It is completely justified to say that “the recession has sparked a renaissance of restaurant industry creativity”. As a matter of fact, foodservice entrepreneurs have shown a lot of creativity in the last few years.
Now, beyond food trucks, bubble tea, burgers and beer, what are some of the hot food trends for 2012?

Here are 4 of 10 most promising trends that were published on  ‘s food trends site, SmallBizTrendCast.

1. So cool it’s hot:

Ice cream shows no signs of slowing down. Next up, restaurant consulting firm Andrew Freeman & Co. predicts “snow ice”–a dessert with the flavor and creaminess of ice cream but that has a light, airy texture—will hit big in the U.S. for 2012.

For me this trend has a huge potential as people nowadays strive a health-conscious nutrition without waiving. Snow Ice is an outstanding alternative as it contains much less calories because cream was substituted by ice. Snow ice still is a very fresh and fruity dessert you can perfectly combine with chocolate sauce or enjoy with fresh fruits. Personally, I have already tried that kind of alternative to ice cream and I was totally impressed!

 

2. Let’s get Juicy

Even though juice bars are nothing new as you can find them in almost every shopping malls, it still has high potential. Starbucks entrepreneur Howard Schultz, for example, recently bought Evolution Fresh, a super-premium juice maker with a brand presence in grocery stores on the West Coast. His plan is to sell the juice to more retail outlets, put it on the menu at Starbucks and launch juice bars in 2012. If Schultz thinks this market has more room for growth, maybe you should, too—especially if you’re in an area where juice bars (or Starbucks) don’t have a strong presence. A vitamin injection never hurts 😉 

3. Appetite for appetizers:

Call them tapas, small plates or appetizers, smaller-sized portions are definitely going to keep growing strong for several reasons. They’re less expensive for cost-conscious diners, offer smaller portions for health-conscious diners, and are made for sharing, which appeals to people’s desire to make eating out a social experience. Chefs like them, too, because appetizers allow them to experiment with new recipes and ingredients without committing to a full-scale meal.

4. Familiar Favorites with a Twist: 

One overwhelming trend that will continue into 2012 is a yen for familiarity. Nowadays, consumers battered by the economy want comfort food. However, that doesn’t mean plain old mac-and-cheese. People are eager to try new tastes, as long as it’s couched in something they know. As a result, smart chefs are putting new twists on old formats, like pizzas, wraps and sandwiches, or using exotic ingredients in familiar foods, such as wasabi ice cream.

Interesting, isn’t it? – To give you some idea I would like to share my personal experience with that kind of trend which can be found at the sushi bar I am working.

“Pimp My Sushi”

My boss used to be a very inventive guy. To make his Sushi extravagant and different from others’, he tried out many new things- with success! For example, besides pure soya sauce which usually comes to sushi, he started offering sweet unagi sauce, mayonnaise and sesame as a side-dish which has become a great hit. Moreover, he implemented “Pimp my Sushi” where you can have Japanese Sushi with a Western flair by adding cream cheese or ruccola to it. Good idea, good strategy, my boss is absolutely in trend! 😉

Conclusion

In general, almost all food business trends for 2012 I have presented are following one common rule:

BACK TO BASICS!

Whether Snow Ice, Fresh Juice or Appetizers- they all aim to represent simple food or beverages which should be healthy and contain as less preservatives and chemicals as possible. “Pimped up ordinary food”, however, is an exception here. How can baked sushi for example be healthier than original sushi? Shouldn’t pure rice with raw fish contain more vitamins and nutritional substances then sushi which was fried in fat at extremely high temperatures? To be honest, I cannot give you the proper answer yet…

These questions have made me very curious and lead me to the decision of writing my next blog entry about, guess what- Sushi! Is sushi as healthy as it claims to be? How has Sushi managed to become so popular in the recent years? Which Marketing strategies were used to launch this new kind of dish? How does the Sushi you get today differ from original sushi?  As it comes from Japan, what can we learn from the Japanese concerning their Business mentality in this respect? You will find all the answers to these questions in my coming blog posts, so please stay tuned!

Links

http://www.acanadianfoodie.com/2011/12/31/food-trends-2012

http://nutritionunplugged.com/2012/01/2012-food-trends-whats-hot-whats-not/

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/food-for-men/top-food-trends-2012-6626424

Facebook page for a restaurant.

In this blog I’ve promised you to report about  hi-tech innovations in restaurant business and tell what profit you can get by implementing them. But this post I’d like to devote the most interesting theme –marketing thus the last one is impossible to imagine without information technologies and business applications at all. Such kinds of advertising (let’s call it ads for short) like TV and radio is expensive for start-ups or small businesses and spreading the flyers is not enough to make your business really well-known, as well as it doesn’t give credibility to people at all.
So the best way is to promote your business according to Marc Brandau is social media strategies. This kind of strategies is going to be a trend in 2012. Millions of people are having their pages on facebook and chatting on twitter, spending a lot of time on the internet – so it makes more sense for the restaurant, café and franchise owners to attract these potential customers without investing a lot in promotion. Thus, Peter Riggs, vice president of brand development, Pita Pit considers that the best way of promotion is to talk with your customers in the most friendly way making them real friends of your own brand. Twitter and even better facebook give such an enormous opportunity. Just have a look on this very page, and you will get an idea what I’m talking about. ttps://www.facebook.com/ROCPitaPit
Such a page is very easy to control and to get in touch with potential clients, establishing new menus or presenting the customers some giftcurds or selling the invitation per facebook to some events or parties. You’ll get the casual and friendly contact with customers and will receive a lot of feedback to improve your own business strategy. On livebooking the author provides six pieces of advice to benefit from facebook. On the one hand they are really simple, but on the other one really important. So just in short some of them. First of all you have to set your goals, like in every business, and then according to it, come into action. For example, increasing a traffic or inviting more people to an event are completely different goals and requre different types of messages. Or when your ad is already created with a like button it is very easy to analyse whether it is appriciated or not. Such a button have a lot of websites that make a connection with socialmedia.

But the other question in this case arises:
Why is facebook and twitter and not websites? Gary Occhiogrosso, chief development officer, Trufoods LLC, has observed that the customers looked more on these pages then on the websites. The only reason that I see is that we all have on this page our relatives and friends to talk to and of course the best credibility for us is their opinion.
Even if we are out we chatting on facebook and twitter using our smartphones, iPhones or iPads. So that is a good reason for even a small eatery to have an account on these social pages, don’t you think so?

My dream in Bubbles …

How I got Inspiration
Yesterday evening, when I was trying out a new Bubble Tea shop in Prenzlauer Berg with a few friends, enjoying a super delicious Bubble soya milk Tea with passion fruit flavour and yoghurt bubbles and tapioka pearls, I got the great inspiration for this blog entry.
In the following, I am going to introduce you to an extraordinary drink which has become a popular beverage in the recent years: Bubble Tea!


Bubble Tea?! 

Some might find it strange, ones love it, others detest it, a few even become addicted to it. Browsing through different blogs, I could see how fashionable this drink from Asia has become, especially among the younger generations. Above all, I have noticed that Bubble Tea was completely adopted into the American Society.

Daniella Mohazab, a student from Piedmont High School in California, for example, has recently revealed her big love for Bubble Tea and notes that even her school is offering this drink:

Bubble Tea comes from Taiwan and has become a cult drink world wide

“Sitting in class, listening to the morning announcements, I hear that they will be serving bubble tea at lunch (…) I love that tea with its tapioca pearls more than anything sold at Piedmont High School’s Piper Café.“

Bubble Tea (also known as Boba or Pearl Tea), originally from Taiwan, is a warm or cold drink of tea infused with fruit flavouring, shaken to produce bubbles, and served over tapioca pearls in a clear cup. It is usually drunk through a very wide straw.



Bubble Tea & me
During a trip to Vietnam in year 2001, I got to know Bubble Tea for the first time and right away, I could see the potential of this drink. Believe it or not- being a girl at the age of 11, I already tinkered with the idea to bring this extraordinary drink to Germany one day.

 

Splashing Dream
A dream disploding like a Bubble
About two years ago, I regretfully infered that the first bubble tea shop was going to open in Berlin. Then, I realized how my dream of being the first all of a sudden was disploding, just like the bubbles of the Bubble Tea…

Bubble Tea becomes a new Cult Drink

Even though I have disbanded the intention of starting a Bubble Tea business, I still considered it as MY initial business idea and therefore kept following its development. Just within 1-2 years, I could observe how more and more Bubble Tea shops suddenly popped up in this city. Bubble Tea has finally become a real cult drink and you can meanwhile afford it almost everywhere.

Bubble Tea creates new Business Opportunities

Whereas in year 2010 there was only 1 single Bubble Tea Shop in Berlin, today, 2 years later, approximately 30 Bubble Tea shops have come into existence.In Berlin, the first and most popular Bubble Tea shop is BoboQ in Charlottenburg. Meanwhile, BoboQ has estalished a well-known brand among the Bubble Tea fans and has started to expand its brand by franchising.Today, besides many franchised BoboQ branches, which by the way are mostly run by Vietnamese people, you can find many Bubble Tea shops with all kinds of different names, among others Babbel Tea, Pearl Tea, Mister Bubble, Dr. Bubble, Buddha Bubble, etc.

 

Bubble Tea- Toxic?
However, when I went to Vietnam last year and was longing to get some Bubble Tea, to my surprise my aunt was strictly against it. As far as I am concerned, there has been some scandalous occasions with this drink as supposedly toxic ingredients were found in Bubble Tea.Despite the awareness of the possible dangers, I still was not reluctant to it and kept drinking this delicious drink, of course with more caution and not as much as I would have drunk before. Finally, since I notice how profitable this business seems to be as so many friends of my parents suddenly want to open a Bubble Tea shop, I am getting more and more sceptical about this Asian cult drink.Now, this Blog entry has risen many open questions and opened up several topics I would like to explore further.

 

  • For the first time, I was trying a fresh bubble-banana-yoghurt -lassi with lychee juice and strawberry pearls, made out of fair trade products... absolutely yummy!What are the ingredients of Bubble Tea?
  • What exactly is Fair Trade and how is it possible to link Fair Trade with Bubble Tea if it indeed contains toxic ingredients?
  • How was the price for Bubble Tea set in Berlin? Is it sold at a fair price?
  • Since Bubble Tea could be dangerous for our health, what about the morality of this business?
  • How are the risks of launching a completely new product into the market?
  • Which Marketing Strategies were used to make the product becoming so popular during that short period of time?
  • In which sense did or does Social Media contribute to this success?

 

In my coming blog entries, I am going to approach these questions more profoundly, taking into consideration other actual blogs which are discussing these topics. If you are as curious as I am and want to know the answers to the questions above, just subscribe and stay tuned!