In 2017 founders Miki and Jared opened their first Crafty Ramen in Guelph and from day one their Japanese inspired, locally influenced and house made dishes were a hit.
Their success grew and in a few short years a second location was needed and opened up in Kitchener.
But like many businesses, as news broke in mid March about the spread of COVID-19 and the necessary steps required to flatten the curve, Crafty Ramen made the difficult choice and shut their doors on March 17th.
“for the greater safety of Canadians we had to close our dining rooms”
Their sales dropped about 50% overnight and they had to lay off about 20 associates. With their landlords not willing to give a break on rent it was clear Crafty Ramen had to move very quickly to implement new processes to stay afloat.
“Trying to figure out how we are going to make it. We now have a new normal and we need to re-invent and quick.”
Pivot #1 – Take out/ Delivery
Before the dining room closure, take out/ delivery only accounted for about 10-15% of their business. This meant the challenge was figuring out how to grow take out and delivery sales and how to execute with these two as their only channels.
We have to move very quickly to implement new processes and procedures to keep our guests and associates safe. We need clear and concise communication on this to both parties. This is continuously changing daily.
Adding an e-commerce page to their website was crucial to ensure the orders could come in and the limited staff they had could fulfill those orders. Pivot one accomplished.
Pivot #2 – The Experience
Part of what makes Crafty Ramen, and other great restaurants, awesome is the experience and atmosphere they are able to create. Crafty believes their open kitchens, the sounds and smells all play a role in their success.
“Everyone is missing seeing their friends, family and most of all missing getting out and experiencing things, anything!”
With Canadians eating at home more than we can ever recall in our lifetimes, we want to give our guests even more to play with at home. By launching DIY Ramen Kits, Crafty Ramen can give you that restaurant experience safely from the comfort and safety of your own kitchen.
Guests can choose from 3 of Crafty Ramen’s most popular bowls as well as a vegan and a kids option. Pivot two accomplished.
It’s so great to see organizations not let obstacles get in their way and find unique and creative ways to solve problems. Word on the street is Crafty Ramen isn’t done there yet either so stay tuned for Pivot #3 with some more product releases in the coming weeks!
Visit Crafty Ramen to learn more or to get something to eat!