November 2, 2021

HI Hub Incubator Program Finalist Daniel Liu Tells Us about His Startup, Kenta Ramen

Kenta Ramen is authentic, gourmet ramen dining with cutting-edge robotics, thoughtful design, and convenience.

Kenta Ramen is one of the finalists in the HI Hub Incubator Program. Daniel Liu, CEO tells us more about the business.

What product or service does Kenta Ramen offer?
Kenta Ramen offers autonomous micro-retail for ready-to-eat, authentic Japanese cuisine, (starting with ramen) all delivered within 45 seconds.

How did you come up with the idea for this business?
The chain restaurant ratio in U.S. ramen and ethnic Japanese food is extremely low compared to the overall 50% chain restaurant ratio in the U.S. quick-service-restaurant industry. However, the market size for U.S. ramen QSR is much larger, at approximately 8 billion USD in 2020, which ranks it the third largest market (right after burgers and fried chicken). Additionally, the labor shortage in restaurant and servicing has reached over 10 million. The automation in food industry is imminent.

Why did you decide to participate in the HI Hub Incubator program?
HI is deeply rooted in the hospitality industry with extensive access to industry experts and network. Additionally, the overall NYU community is strong and close.

What do you enjoy most about creating your own startup business?
Revolutionizing the food industry with amazing food, thoughtful design, and cutting-edge robotics. Working with a great team of experienced chefs and brilliant engineers aligned in achieving a mission of enabling more people to live fuller, healthier lives.

What advice would you give to someone contemplating founding a startup?
I would say plan everything out carefully, break down each step, budget resources, be patient, and keep a healthy balance between work and life.

What is something you learned through this process that you wish you’d known before you created your startup?
I wish I’d known how crucial it is to articulate your goal to your team and make sure to align expectations prior to each task. There’s limited resources, time, and energy at the beginning of a startup, so definitely spend them wisely and efficiently!

What does the future of your startup look like in an ideal world?
Ideally, Kenta Ramen will be like Sweetgreen or Shake Shack, (but for gourmet ramen and Japanese cuisine) all delivered with sustainability, automation, and convenience.

Have you worked with any alumni or mentors on this project? If so, who and what was that experience like?
Yes, I have worked with Asi Ginio, David Pavelko, and Flo Lugli. All these mentors are super experienced in hospitality industry, and generous with their time and network in helping Kenta launch and grow.

Related Articles