DANX wants to roll out ‘pop-up’ and on-demand diners across Japan using food trucks

From left: Kazuhiro Aoyagi (Managing Director, DANX), Satoshi Ota (CEO, Danx)

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Ignition Point announced earlier this month that it has founded a subsidiary called DANX providing an on-demand eating and drinking service using food trucks. Satoshi Ota who had been managing Food-tech Business at Ignition Point is appointed to CEO of DANX while Ignition Point CEO Kazuhiro Aoyagi is appointed to Director of DANX.

Ignition Point sets a target to create two internet services every year. Their achievement includes Secual (home security with IoT), an e-commerce service between Japan and other Asian countries based on the meGrid photobook service, Point Edge (community-based creator studio) and LEARNie (online English conversation learning for schoolchildren). Ignition Point has recently founded Pontely dealing with a pets’ lifecycle business using DNA information and DANX is the sixth case in independent company form.

Image credit: DANX

DANX is acronym for ‘Day and Night Box’ and aims to make an innovation in the eating and drinking industry corresponding to the change of lifestyle such as diversification of work environment, increase in singles-led households or need for regional revitalization. Conventionally, eating and drinking establishments had expanded its business based on restaurant having fixed geographic locations. For restaurants that serve unique menu, their geographical locations can become established but will not grow further without a key potential customer layer. It is said that 90% of the key to success in the eating and drinking business is influenced by location, but the rent of properties in conventional urban locations remains at a  high level due to supply shortage.

Ignition Point developed and organized several dozens of food trucks / kitchen cars. Each truck is dispatched to event sites or dead spaces in town as a pop-up restaurant serving a variety of  menus. It can meet demands for lunch in office areas with few restaurants or can hold events like pop-up gourmet festivals by gathering multiple food trucks. DANX aims for a stable supply of high-quality food regardless of the cooks’ skill by utilizing a central kitchen function and efficient channels for procurement of foodstuff.

Siam ERAWAN exhibits at Thai Festival
Image credit: DANX

While Ignition Point has been taking on consulting business as its core business, the firm purchased a Thai restaurant Siam ERAWAN in Shimokitazawa, Tokyo or a casual French restaurant Bistro Epices in Kichijoji, Tokyo, preparing to enter into the food-tech industry steadily as led by Ota. Chefs of these restaurants are expected to cooperate with DANX projects in recipe development.

DANX had exhibited its food truck restaurant at Thai Festival held in Yoyogi Park or a beach house at Katase-nishihama beach in the Shonan area before the full-scale operation. The beach house was not exhibited as food truck style due to the geographical restriction of beach, but it provided the firm’s future eating and drinking service virtually. Leveraging the experience obtained from beach house management, DANX focuses on establishment of operation model of the food truck business. Soon we may see food trucks with DANX logo throughout Japan.

Beach house in Katasenishihama beach, opened by Ignition Point
Image credit: DANX

No competitor providing very similar service to DANX exist in Japan as far as the author knows, but DANX might be inspired from some conventional services. TLUNCH, provided by Tokyo-based Mellow, achieved success as a matching platform between 370 food truck owners and real estate owners with 70 vacant spaces.

DANX plans to launch an advance order / payment app resembling O:der to solve alleviate queuing in front of food trucks when busy. Additionally, one of the app’s function notifies users when favorite food trucks open nearby. Based on users’ GPS information of smartphones, it is similar to the freelance support platform Summon.

Translated by Taijiro Takeda
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy