You might not think that an old family recipe could make you a millionaire, but that is exactly what happened to Hiroe Tanaka. When she was growing up she always loved her father’s Kushikatsu, a Japanese street food. It’s basically fried meat on a stick, but with the right recipe it can be absolute gold (literally, in this case).
Kushikatsu is just a combination of meat and vegetables deep-fried on a stick and then served with dipping sauces; ultimately a very simple meal, but a difficult one to perfect. After Tanaka’s father passed away, she thought her special family recipe was lost forever.
Tanaka never finished college and was making her way by working secretarial positions. In the 1990’s, she took a part-time job with Keiji Nuki, who was running a bar at the time. Tanaka was focused on recreating her father’s secret Kushikatsu recipe, but she was unable to replicate her father’s magic.
Years later, the two moved to Tokyo where Nuki opened a new restaurant and Tanaka continued her pursuit of her father’s dish. Eventually, Nuki and Tanaka fell on hard times and were making plans to close down the restaurant because they could not bring in enough business to support it.
The pair were preparing to shut down the restaurant and pack up all their things when Hiroe Tanaka made a discovery. As she was packing her things, she found a small memo among some things that belonged to her father. It was in this moment that she discovered her father’s secret Kushikatsu recipe (YASSSS), and it became the key to her success.
Tanaka became Nuki’s business partner, found a new place where the rent would be cheaper and restarted their restaurant business. Using her father’s recipe and the story behind it as a marketing tool, they steamrolled the market.
They exploded in popularity and haven’t looked back. Since then, they have franchised their business with 146 branches all across Japan and one in Hawaii. Hiroe Tanaka’s father’s secret recipe has made her a multimillionaire and changed her life forever.
If you have a secret family recipe… You might want to write it down.
Read the full article here on Bloomberg.