U.S.-based food tech startup Yo-Kai Express launches autonomous restaurant platform in Japan
Yo-Kai Express, a Silicon Valley-based food tech startup announced the official debut of the Yo-Kai Express autonomous restaurant platform in J.R. East Tokyo, making the machine available in three transportation locations including Japan's Haneda Airport Terminal 2, J.R. East Tokyo Station, and Shibaura Parking Area.
Founded in 2016, Yo-Kai Express is an innovative autonomous restaurant platform that serves contactless, freshly prepared meals with over 30 menu varieties 24 hours a day. The machine's unique cooking technology creates hot ramen noodles on-demand, just like those served at street-side restaurants. Yo-Kai Express has installed these machines in approximately 50 locations throughout the United States, including airports, hotels, hospitals, corporations, universities, and conference centers, serving over 200,000 meals to date.
Today, Yo-Kai Express announced the official launch of its full-scale activities in Japan. In addition to J.R. East Tokyo station, the company's machines serve up freshly prepared noodles in six varieties in 90 seconds at Haneda Airport Terminal 2 and Shibaura Parking Area. Along with the four original flavors (Chicken Yuzu Shio, Tokyo Shoyu, Sapporo Spicy Miso, and Kyushu Tonkotsu), Ippudo Hakata Tonkotsu Ramen and Ippudo Plant-Based (Tonkotsu-style) Ramen will be offered soon.
Akiho Shibata, CTO and General Manager, Technology Division, SoftBank Robotics Corp: "We have supported this project as a technology partner for the past three years. We look forward to continuing to work together to promote the development of food tech solutions, provide services that impress our customers and work together to solve social problems such as food scarcity through technology."
Shigemi Kawahara, President and Representative Director (Founder of Ippudo), Chikaranomoto Holdings Co: "I would like to extend my congratulations on this occasion. Ippudo has been expanding overseas with the goal of making 'ramen' a universal word, starting with our entry into the New York market in 2008. A new piece of technology originating from the U.S. has opened up new possibilities for customers to enjoy ramen in a new form. It is a homecoming for ramen in Japan and the birth of a new culture. I am glad that we are taking part in this together. Since its establishment, Ippudo has always been committed to 'creating new value through food' and 'keep changing to remain unchanged. We appreciate that this collaboration is a big step forward in realizing our philosophy in a new way. A vending machine cooks hot ramen on the spot. It's exciting, isn't it? We hope you all enjoy our delicious ramen. Thank you!"
The following three locations are currently selling the product.
- Haneda Airport Terminal 2, 1st floor, in the vending machine restaurant
- Shibaura Parking Area on the Metropolitan Expressway Expressway No. 11 Daiba Route
- J.R. East Tokyo Station, Grandsta Tokyo, B1F "Square Zero
Andy Lin, Founder and CEO, Yo-Kai Express: "We are very excited to bring Yo-Kai-Express to Japan, the birthplace of ramen. Our vision has always been to come to Japan and we are incredibly pleased with the positive reception Yo-Kai is getting from consumers and organizations. In addition, we are very pleased to have the cooperation of Ippudo, one of Japan's leading ramen brands, in product development, and to have the technical and operational support of SoftBank Robotics. We are grateful for our partners who provide us access to airports, train stations, highway rest stops, and more. We will continue to build on our success by extending our platform to bring other types of food innovation to Japan's food ecosystem."