Authentic Japanese cuisine has become increasingly popular in Canada in recent years, and Vancouver is no exception. One business that is leading the way in bringing traditional Japanese food to Vancouver is Takenaka, a Coho Commissary member based in East Georgia. Founded in 2020 as a food truck and delivery service, Takenaka has quickly become a popular choice for those seeking high-quality Japanese food in the city. For Asian Heritage Month, we sat down with the founders of Takenaka to learn about their inspiring success story, the challenges they've faced, and their advice for future food entrepreneurs.
What inspired you to build your business?
We wanted to share real Japanese food in Vancouver as a food truck. There are no sushi food trucks in Vancouver, so we wanted to be the first ones. We built up our food truck almost like a restaurant, because we would like to serve our food with restaurant quality at the food truck. Our truck has been working great and we are still able to serve great quality food to our customers. The same idea applied to our frozen items sold by local retailers. We are able to let customers enjoy restaurant quality food in their own home!
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced growing your business?
Covid-19. In March 2020, right when we were about to open up Takenaka, everything closed down. We were thinking whether to open or not but we decided to go for it. Our delivery and pick up service were going well, because many customers wanted to eat japanese food at home, and we got regular customers.
Why did you choose to work in a commissary kitchen?
For us, the biggest benefit of working at Coho Commissary is having access to the shared heavy equipment. If we were to open our own kitchen, we would need to buy a lot of equipment and would have high maintenance fees. Our main business style is the food truck and delivery service, so a shared commercial kitchen was the best model for us.
What are your long-term business growth plans?
We are opening our second location in North Vancouver this August. However, we are going to expand Takenaka beyond Vancouver. We would like to be a part of a movie crew and go everywhere. Our goal is for customers to see Takenaka’s logo all over the world!
How do you define success?
For us, success means that everyone related to Takenaka (our customers, our staff, suppliers, etc) is always happy and loves our food.
Takenaka has seen immense growth this year venturing into running a brick & mortar space, opening the first Onigiri Cafe in Vancouver, located at the front of the commissary kitchen where they operate from, Coho Commissary.
Takenaka's success story is a testament to their perseverance and innovation in the face of adversity. They have successfully brought authentic Japanese cuisine to Vancouver and are continuing to grow their business with their first dining location. Their commitment to providing high-quality food and excellent service has earned them a loyal customer base, and their future growth plans show their ambition to expand worldwide. With their inspiring story, Takenaka serves as a shining example for those looking to start a food business, showing that anything is possible with hard work and dedication.