Ramen Isshin was founded by three friends who wanted to bring the authentic taste of Japanese miso ramen to Toronto.
Owner Jason Matsubara recounts the origins of the popular Japanese noodle soup joint, “It started with a group of three friends back in Vancouver thinking about doing a restaurant together. We found this location on College Street in October and opened on December 28, 2013.”
The original College Street location was so popular that three more followed, including a new location in Quebec.
Executive Chef Koji Zenimaru has over 25 years of experience cooking Japanese and also Chinese cuisines. He has a deep understanding of the culture and history of the much-loved cooking traditions of Japan. This authenticity is central to the brand’s success.
Chihiro Shitomi, Manager, says that it’s the way the ramen is prepared that makes it unique: “Ramen Isshin is an authentic Japanese restaurant. We are the only place in the city to use a wok frypan to make delicious miso ramen.”
Frying the ingredients in the wok over a fierce flame helps to add another dimension to the bowl and meld the complementary flavors together. In addition to the signature red miso ramen, the menu boasts a wide range of styles including vegetarian ramen and flavor-packed side dishes like chicken karaage and deep-fried pork gyoza.
Before the pandemic, the brand was laser-focused on the quality of the food and giving guests the best experience possible in the restaurants.
“We were never really into delivery.” Jason explains, “But we always focused on in-house service, our food quality. We were always wondering if we ever should do delivery.”
But it turned out to be a very unexpected year. With dining rooms closed, and restrictions in place, the brand was forced to offer delivery. With Deliverect’s help, the team managed to turn this crisis into an opportunity.
“Delivery actually saved us. If it wasn’t for delivery, I don’t think we could be in the position where we are today,” Jason reveals.
“Now when I add a new item, I don’t have to go over all the tablets, only one place, the Deliverect app. And that change goes all over. That saves us a lot of time and there's less chance of making a mistake.” - Mami Orihara, Restaurant Manager at Ramen Isshin
Mami Orihara, Restaurant Manager, explains how they got going with delivery: “After Covid started we had to adjust the operation for the delivery side. We started with Uber Eats to see how it goes, then we added Doordash and SkipTheDishes.”
But adding new delivery partners so quickly led to problems that the team had not anticipated. There was an increased workload and too many errors when manually inputting orders.
“Before using the Deliverect app, we had to type in every single order by hand,” Mami recalls, “We had at least 10 errors today from punching in orders by hand. When I added new menus or changed the price, I had to go over all the tablets individually. As a manager, it was kind of a pain.”
Deliverect immediately solved the biggest problems the team was facing. Orders would go directly into the POS, saving time for staff, and eliminating human error.
“Deliverect works well with TouchBistro, so we didn’t have to buy new hardware.” Mami Orihara adds, “We don’t need to punch in the orders anymore. So I just have to accept – that’s it!”
“Thanks to Deliverect managing our delivery platforms, we’re able to be in business and focus on getting our food to our customers at home.” - Jason Matsubara, Owner at Ramen Isshin
Using a number of different delivery partners led to other unforeseen problems for the team. When they needed to make a change to a menu item or add an item, they would have to manually contact each delivery partner to make even the smallest of changes.
Deliverect took the hassle out of menu changes, making the process far more efficient and even reducing mistakes.
“Now when I add a new item, I don’t have to go over all the tablets, only one place, the Deliverect app.” Mami reveals. “And that change goes all over. That saves us a lot of time and there's less chance of making a mistake.”
Overall, Deliverect’s labor-saving features and integrations with existing tech made adding multiple delivery channels a smooth and painless experience for the team.
Not only did it survive, Ramen Isshin reached new customers while reducing mistakes, and saving on labor costs, all while ensuring there was no compromise on the quality of the food.
Jason explains how pivotal Deliverect was to the success of the brand as it navigated the tough circumstances of this year: “Thanks to Deliverect managing our delivery platforms, we’re able to be in business and focus on getting our food to our customers at home.”
"By taking out the person punching in orders, we are saving a lot of time and manpower, and limiting errors.”
"Deliverect has increased our efficiency and the integration makes it so we’re able to take probably 10 times the orders we’d be able to without it."