Japanese Yaro Ramen to begin subscription service via apps, become the Netflix of noodles

Yaro Ramen is a restaurant enjoyed by thousands in and around Tokyo for its hearty portions of toppings and generous customer service.

But now the business is branching out to the digital world with a new app to be released on 1 November for both iOS and Android devices. Like many restaurant apps, it will provide regulars with up-to-the-minute info on new menu items and promotional campaigns.

However, the Yaro Ramen app will also have a monthly subscription feature that allows customers to enjoy up to a bowl of ramen a day for a flat rate of 8,600 yen (US$75) a month. Subscribers will be able to choose from a Tonkotsu Yaro (780 yen [$6.80]) with a pork broth, Jiru Nashi Yaro (830 yen [$7.30]) which has no broth at all, or Miso Yaro (880 yen [$7.70]) with a fermented soy bean broth, at any of the 15 Yaro Ramen locations each day.

Crunching the numbers, that means if you ate a bowl of the cheapest Tonkotsu Yaro for 12 days out of the month you would have broken even and saved a few yen in the process. On the other hand, if you were to have a bowl of it for 31 days of the month you would save a whopping 15,580 yen ($136).

Another cool feature is that this subscription works with Yaro Ramen’s other coupons and promotions. For example, if you were one of the lucky 25,000 to have gotten a Butakku Card, you could also enjoy a free mini-beer, extra rice, noodles, and/or vegetables, along with your pre-paid bowl of ramen.

There is one catch, however. Due to the large potential savings of the subscription model, Yaro Ramen is limiting it to people between the ages of 18 and 38 to focus on students and single working stiffs. That being said, I truly wonder how strictly they plan to enforce that age limit.

Subscription payment models are an ever increasing trend in all sorts of businesses but it remains to be seen if it’s a winner in the ramen game.

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