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BRINGING RAMEN TO THE PEOPLE

By: Rita Skeeter Being a college student is not easy and finding time to just eat is just as hard. Time is not a disposable commodity especially is the university runs on a quarter system. Students will work through the night and not eat because of the inconvenience off leaving their work and food places on campus being closed. A student from Rochester Institute of Technology came up with just the solution and is changing the way students feed themselves during the long working hours. Lawrence Jung is a Game Design and Development Student attending Rochester Institute of Technology was challenged by Professor Smith in his Entrepreneurship class to create a business with a start-up cost of only $10.

The business created can be for profit or not for profit. He was challenged to make the most of the $10. Before he dived to start a random business, Lawrence went around the RIT campus surveying students and friends on what sort of business they would like to see on campus. The most common idea was a food service that was available during the night when all the eating places on campus are closed. Lawrences friends really enjoy ramen so he combined the two ideas and created his business known as Ramen Man. Ramen was an easy choice as the product to sell as it is affordable for many students and ramen is not as perishable as other types of food. Another aspect of the business is service where Lawrence will go the desire location of the student to fulfill the customers order. Combining a product and a service was an interesting combination as there are other things to take into

consideration for the business besides just selling the product. For the first two weeks of Winter Quarter Lawrence conducted his market research then for the third week he began to spread the word of his business. He used the power of social media to get the word out. Ramen Man can be followed on twitter @RamenMan_RIT or Liked on Facebook at Ramen Man RIT.

Another form of advertising Lawrence used was word of mouth and it became a powerful tool that help rocket Ramen Man into success. His close friends used Ramen Man and return feedback which helped to improve the company. Then those friends told their friends about Ramen Man and Lawrence began to have a steady flow of customers throughout the week. However Lawrence just confined Ramen Man

to just his friends in order to understand how the service portion of the business would be run. This included learning efficient pathways to various parts of campus, ways to cook the ramen and how to provide the customers ramen in a quick manner. The solution he came up with was a bag to hold the inventory and a thermos to hold steaming hot water. Having hot water instantly available enabled Lawrence to cook the ramen quicker than waiting a couple of minutes for the hot water to boil. The speed of the service is important to keep the customer happy. There is one thing that Lawrence understood about his product was that it is unhealthy for his customers. He really wanted to make the ramen bowls he sold to be more delicious and more nutritious. Unfortunately his $10 was spent purchasing 7 bowls of ramen and his thermos. His initial price for the ramen was at $1.50 and by

Thursday of the first week he sold out. Bringing in enough profit from those sales, Ramen Man began to offer eggs either raw or hard boiled. His friends enjoyed this business so much that they suggested that Ramen Man should charge $2.00 a bowl instead of $1.50 due to the value it provided. Lawrence was hesitant at first however he made the move to hike the price and see what affect it would have. With the help of his friends, Ramen Man began to increase his exposure on campus by selling ramen at the Rochester Wargamers Association and Guild Sunday board game days and Electronic Gaming Society major events. Students participating in those events where ecstatic to see this sort of business existing as these events were taken place at times when other eating places on campus were closed. The $2.00 had little to no impact on sales. It only impacted the amount of

tip that Lawrence received. Lawrence also noticed he was getting orders from the same customers so he launched the Ramen Rewards Program.

Ramen Rewards card allows the customer to receive a free bowl of ramen. With every purchase, a customer will receive a punch on their card and when 8 punches have been accumulated, they will receive a free ramen. This program was to reward loyal customers who have been supporting Ramen Man. Throughout the quarter, sales of ramen have been going at a steady paced that Lawrence was able to expand the products that Ramen Man provided with a new product every week. By the end of the quarter Ramen Man had a condiments section containing Soy Sauce, Chili Oil and Sesame Oil and an upgrade menu composed

of eggs, mushrooms, seaweed and miso soup and seasonings. With just a few more weeks before the quarter is over I asked Lawrence if Ramen Man will be continued during spring quarter. His response was a resounding yes. His current customer base would like to see him continue the business into springs as they found great value from it. When Lawrence was assigned this project by Professor Smith, he did not believe he had it in him to run a business however this experience not only proved that he has the ability to start a business but create a successful one. He believes that it was attributed to the market research he had done ahead of time that help make Ramen Man successful. In the future Lawrence would like to expand Ramen Man further by providing more variety of ramen and eventually begin to sell a

premium line of ramen where it wont be instant noodles but higher quality noodles with fresh produce in it. Even though Ramen Man was created out of a class assignment, it is a business than can be continued on other campuses and expands. At the end of the quarter the total revenue that Ramen Man has acquired is $160.50. The total profit that Ramen Man has made so far is $78.72.

Weekly Sales Week Ramen Bowl 4 5 6 7 8 13 14 18 7 12 Egg(s) Mushrooms Seaweed 2 4 9 1 8 2 5 1 6 1 1 Miso Combo 2 Tips ($) 5.50 4.75 6.52 1.08 5.90

Total

64

24ss

14

23.75

Ramen Reward Card

Photographs The Equipment and Products

Customers

Receipts Documentation