Kinton Ramen Targets National Expansion in Canada [Interview]

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Kinton Ramen, one of the first Japanese ramen restaurants in Toronto, is in expansion mode with the opening soon of its latest offering in Liberty Village as it looks to grow nationally and internationally.

The brand opened its first location in May 2012 in Toronto.

It is owned by the Kinka Family, which also operates Kinka Izakaya, JaBistro, Kintori Yakitori and NEO Coffee Bar. 

Sari Samarah, President & CEO, Broker of Record, of Value Insight Realty Inc., Brokerage, said the real estate company is seeking additional sites for the popular brand.

Image: Kinton Ramen

Samarah has worked with the CEO of Kinton Ramen from the first store that opened. 

Sari Samarah

“I am proud to be the exclusive broker for Kinton Ramen, the largest Japanese restaurant group in Canada, since its inception in 2009. I also did work as an executive for the company in 2020 for two years (as VP of Business Development) before going back into the brokerage business so I understand what’s drives the success of our restaurants. 

The Kinka Family has more than 40 locations with all its brands. 

Image: Kinton Ramen

Kinton Ramen will open its Liberty Village location this coming winter.

“It’s about 1,800 square feet and it’s an area with a lot of density, good evening traffic, lunch traffic. And we are not served in that area,” said Samarah. “We’re expanding all over Canada in Vancouver and Quebec, Montreal as well as Ontario. We’re opening stores this winter in Vancouver, Montreal and in Ontario, we’re opening stores in Newmarket, Kingston and Oakville. 

“Ramen is a very sought after item that has now become more of a staple similar to pizza, burgers and shawarma. Ramen has now entered that mix as a popular food item that is very widely recognized. College students grew up eating ramen from a bag and hot water, and Kinton Ramen is the authentic Japanese style ramen that everyone’s been yearning for. It’s a great experience for individuals, couples and families and enough flavours to satisfy any palate. It’s hot in the winter time and comforting when you’re sick.”

Image: Kinton Ramen
Image: Kinton Ramen

“We also have a few stores in the US. Two in Chicago in the West Loop and Wicker Park and one in New York at Woodbury Commons.”

He said the brand is looking for spaces between 1,500 to 2,500 square feet in areas of high density with good lunch and good dinner traffic. The brand is also looking for food court of quick service opportunties in 400-1200 square feet.

“We are continuing to expand in the downtown core for the right opportunities. On the whole west side of Toronto, the Liberty Village site is the only site we have west of Bathurst and other than Bloor West Village and Korea Town. We’re now also entering the suburban markets such as Scarborough, Markham and Mississauga where in the past we’ve been more focused on the urban street fronts. We’re going to other markets outside of such as Vaughan, Brampton, Richmond Hill, Burlington, Hamilton, London, Cambridge, Windsor, Kitchener, Whitby, Ajax, Markham. 

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Mario was named as a RETHINK Retail Top Retail Expert in 2024.

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