Interview with Tomoko Omori, GoGo Curry President

Article by: Gai DaGai
Photos by: David Qiu

GoGo Curry has over 50 locations worldwide and GoGo Curry just recently opened their fourth location in New York City on April 25, 2013. Tomoko Omori is the president of GoGo Curry USA Inc. and I had the pleasure to interview Tomoko Omori the day after the big grand opening of GoGo Curry Chelsea location.

A little background about Tomoko Omori:

Tomoko Omori was born and raised in Japan and in 1990 she came to the United States of America. She obtain a scholarship in acting school in New York City, but during her performance she lost nearly everything due to an apartment fire. Even though she lost nearly everything she found that moment as an opportunity to get into business. She started working for TV station – sport division, working in publishing company selling advertisements. She soon became top sales woman for three consecutive years in the company. Soon after she created a new magazine called “Chopsticks New York,” which is a magazine that introduces Japanese culture and cuisine to New Yorkers. Working on Chopsticks New York she was consulting with restaurant owners and then one day she was presented with the President of GoGo Curry USA. She started working more closely with GoGo Curry USA and three months she became president.

The Success of Chopsticks:

Being top sales woman in the publishing company for three consecutive years help gave her the skills she needed to start a successful magazine called “Chopsticks New York.” The magazine was created to bring the awareness of Japanese culture and food to the people of New York City. In the magazine they have a list of Japanese related events that is happening in the city, as well the magazine also contains a list of restaurants and locations where an individual can purchase Japanese food and items. At first Chopsticks New York was struggling, but after obtain more advertising clients for the magazine, Chopsticks New York began to pick up. Tomoko Omori created this magazine wanting to place it next to other top magazines and now that dream of her came true. Chopsticks New York is being distributed over 100 location in New York.

What is the meaning behind the 5 for GoGo Curry?

Well “Go!” in Japanese means 5, therefore “GoGo” means 55. The number 55 was the jersey number for Hideki Matsui. Hideki Matsui is a former New York Yankee who grew up in Ishikawa prefecture in Japan. Ishikawa famous type of curry is “Kanazawa curry,” which GoGo Curry restaurants specialize in. GoGo Curry founder HirokazuMiyamori was also from Ishikawa prefecture in Japan and he was inspired by Hideki Matsui entry in the Major League Baseball (MLB) in 2003 that he decided to open his first GoGo Curry restaurant in Tokyo. Matsui and baseball influenced many names of GoGo Curry. In each restaurant location “Stadium” is after it, such as Chelsea Stadium, Washington Square Park Stadium, etc. The curry comes in baseball inspired sizes such as “walk” (S), “single” (M), “double” (L), and “triple” (XL). Two dishes was also baseball inspired, the “Grand Slam” and the “Home Run.”

The Grand Slam is a power pack meal of both crispy pork and chicken katsu, white boiled egg, two crisp casing pork sausages, and savory shrimp tempura on top of their famous Kanazawa Curry over rice and sliced cabbage on the side. All that for a bargain of $12.50!

If that may be too much for you, the Home Run is the next biggest dish. It has everything that the Grand Slam has, but you only get either the crispy pork katsu or the chicken katsu, instead of both. Aslo it comes with less rice. And this dish goes for a great price of $9.50.

The misconception of Japanese food:

Many people believe the comfort food for Japanese is sushi, but in fact the actual comfort food is curry. Japanese families eat more curry at home than do they eating sushi. Even at school during lunch time is more curry than any other meals. Tomoko Omori said “Mom’s curry is the best curry.” A mother curry tastes better than other curry, that maybe because it was made with love.

Success of GoGo Curry:

“Line of the blue and red.” That is what Tomoko Omori called one of her strategies. The line of blue and red means the line of the blue trains (A,C,E) and red trains (1,2,3). Many of the GoGo Curry Stadium is located near one or more of the A,C,E,1,2,3 lines. Another reason of GoGo Curry success is due to their target market of business men and women and students. All four of the GoGo Curry Stadium is located in neighborhoods of working business men and women. Students are very active and great market to target, but during the summer and winter it may slow down because of vacation days that students get. While for business men and women they work nearly all year round. One motto that Tomoko Omori has is “Respect Employees.” A boss should treat his/her employee, like how an employee would treat their customers. That is also how GoGo Curry continue to have such loyal customers. When a customer walks into the store they are greet with ” irasshaimase,” which means welcome in Japanese. And after you purchase your meal you will receive ” arigato gozaimasu,” which means thank you very much in Japanese.

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