Japanese Chain Marugame Udon Names CEO for U.S.

Gregg Imamoto Previously Served as the CEO for Pieology.

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Gregg Imamoto was named the CEO of U.S. operations for the Tokyo-based chain. Courtesy of Marugame Udon.

The Japanese fast-casual chain Marugame Udon is looking to expand its footprint stateside with the hiring of Gregg Imamoto as the CEO for U.S. operations.

The Tokyo-based company currently operates U.S. restaurants in Hawaii, California and Texas. With Imamoto at the helm, he’ll be tasked with leading the brand’s expansion and developing a franchise business model.

Marugame Udon is the flagship concept for the publicly traded Toridoll, a restaurant conglomerate with over $1.4 billion in sales across more than 1,000 restaurants worldwide. In partnership with Toridoll, the U.S.-based private equity firm Hargett Hunter will continue to lead the growth of the Japanese chain in the U.S.

“Our partnership with Hargett Hunter enables Toridoll to share authentic Japanese food and culture in the U.S., which is our most important market for growth,” says Toridoll Founder and President Takaya Awata in a press release. “We are confident Mr. Imamoto is the right leader at the right time to propel our expansion, and I have high expectations for his success.”

Imamoto previously served as CEO of the fast-casual pizza brand Pieology where he helped create record financial performance while growing the brand between 2018 and 2021.

Founded in 2000, Marugame Udon has more than 1,000 locations in 10 countries and regions and specializes in handmade Japanese Sanuki udon noodles and tempura. The chain entered the U.S. more than 10 years ago with its flagship store in Waikiki and expanded to California in 2017. The first Texas location opened last year.

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