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Kistaro Windrider, Reptillian Situation Assessor

Unfortunately, I Really Am That Nerdy

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Customise You NOODLE CUP!!!
dragon head
Something that I eat a potentially unhealthy quantity of: instant ramen noodles. Y'know, the really instant kind: boil water, pour into styrofoam cup of noodles, wait three minutes, stir, "enjoy". It's all that's really availible at 1:30 AM.

So at the grocery store today, I saw that Maruchan had created a new variety: +lime. That is to say, all their standard flavors, plus lime. They doubled their lineup. Admittedly, "Shirimp + Spicy! + Lime" doesn't sound that appealing to me, but it exists. Unfortunately, Smack is my preferred brand. (And it's sad that I even have a preference for $0.40 of noodles.) Maruchan tastes too much like the styrofoam it's packaged in. (Literally- it's the unmistakable flavor of dissolved styrofoam in it that I dislike; Smack doesn't have that problem.)

Unfortunately, Smack doesn't have +Lime, which is too bad because I was kind of curious. Of course, now I'm wonderinig what sweet&sour ramen noodles would be like, or perhaps with green pepper, or...

And then it hit me. It's a perfect business model. A company, selling online only except for their most popular offerings: "CustomRAMEN", or probably something several orders of magnitude better than that. (Then again, some marketing genius came up with "Smack", so maybe not.)

You would go to the web site, go to the shop page, and then "Customize You NOODLE CUP!!!". This would involve the clicking of check-boxes and selections from menus, checkboxes like "+Green Pepper- $0.03" or perhaps "Sweet And Sour Seasoning (free)" on the sauce menu. Then you order, and the minimum shipment would be 12, but you could order an arbitrary amount- with volume discounts past 24.

Once the company gets really big, they could have kiosks in grocery stores! Y'know, little mechanized things with blocks of noodles, styrofoam cups, a lid-putter-onner, a shrink-wrap thing, a label printer, and the assorted ingredients. Then, the minimum order would be "1". You'd use a touch screen or buttons like on those Coinstar machines- enter your money, and the machine leaps to life, filling and neatly packaging a Noodle Cup. Or at no extra charge, it'll forgo the lid for hot water (filtered, of course), and then it'll even stir it for you and spit out a little plastic fork. (Actually, "Ready Now" should probably cost a few cents for the fork.) It would be quite possible to ask for moderate orders from these machines, for those who want several to store. Perhaps the company should forgo the web site ordering, in fact, and only have a vendor site where it offers information for stores that would lease space for such a machine; the machines would be much more popular, due to the lower volume requirement.

These could be extremely profitable as vending machines on college campuses.

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Dude, don't knock Maruchan. I can get something like 30 of 'em for $5. Sure, it's just the block of noodles and not the cup, but, hey, I like adding my own seasoning. The cup just seems kinda meh, to me.

Plus, I think they already have those vending machines in Japan, except they dispense cooked noodles. If the Japanese can fit something into a vending machine, then it's somewhere in Japan being sold out of a vending machine. I mean, hell, they've made entire conveinence stores into giant vending machines.

'Customise You NOODLE CUP!!!' sounds like you're being lightly insulted, however, for not having customised before.

I've seen three flavors that are distinctly connected in Maruchan, yet not connected at all.

There is Chile, Lime Shrimp, and Lime Chile Shrimp.

Chile is delicious, if a bit bitter, and only slightly spicy.
Lime Shrimp is godly, dry or cooked.
Lime Chile Shrimp burns like acid, because instead of mixing the Chile and the Lime Shrimp flavors, Maruchan just took Lime Shrimp and added habanero powder.

Heed my warnings well.

What are the merits of Udon? My wannabe girlfriend loves it for some reason.

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