BCB MayJune 2022_LR

With a mission to inform, empower, celebrate and advocate for British Columbia's current and aspiring business leaders, BCBusiness go behind the headlines and bring readers face to face with the key issues and people driving business in B.C.

Issue link: http://digital.canadawide.com/i/1468031

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Page 8 of 83

SOURCES: GOVERNMENT OF B.C., STATISTICS CANADA, BC INJURY RESEARCH AND PREVENTION UNIT, PROVINCIAL HEALTH SERVICES AUTHORITY, BC CONCUSSION AWARENESS WEEK TOOLKIT, HEADCHECK HEALTH, HEALTHTECH CONNEX, REPORTLINKER, SPORTSTECHX, XCO TECH, PLANTIGA, STOKO, UBC G O F I G U R E The global sports technology market is expected to reach US$45.8 billion within 5 years • US$563.2 million invested in Vancouver firms in 2021 • No. 4 city in the world by funding Year-over-year rise in ranking: 20 100x per second Sprinting movement capture rate for the Dash wearable motion tracking system, in development by Penticton-based XCO Tech for use in performance improvement and injury prevention Accuracy level: 2 centimetres During an analysis of the jumping patterns of a volleyball player suffering from left-side overuse injuries, the Vancouver-developed Plantiga sensor insoles recorded a 132-millisecond gap between her left and right landing strikes The K1 Tempo knee- supporting athletic tights designed by Vancouver-based Stoko feature 90 feet of ultra-high- molecular-weight polyethylene cable support UHMwPE vs. steel 15x stronger by weight 8x stronger by size A new mouthguard developed by UBC and Stanford researchers uses infrared proximity sensing to monitor head impacts and detect serious brain injury with 99% accuracy The devices are now used by UBC Thunderbirds hockey teams TOP AND BOTTOM: RICH WON; STOKO; ISTOCK MAY/JUNE 2022 BCBUSINESS 9 Soft Power As the recent B.C. debuts of two international chains show, there's more than one way to open a restaurant by Steve Burgess F O OD A N D DR I N K T he night before Jollibee opened its first Vancou- ver location in Febru- ary, a line had already formed on Granville Street. On opening day, an estimated 5,000 customers filed in to order the emblematic fast food of the Philippines. That's about 4,940 more than the lucky few served sev- eral weeks later at the opening of Menya Itto. But the ramen restaurant at 1479 Robson Street has also become some- thing of a sensation back home in Japan. Imagine if doughnuts were something that you could only get at Tim Hortons, and you have some sense of the im- portance of Jollibee to Filipino expats. The fast-food chain serves fast food with a local twist that has made it a culinary symbol of its homeland. Menya Itto doesn't carry that sort of patriotic burden. But it, too, has been a hit back home, regularly placing at or near the top of the ramen rat- ings at Tabelog.com. And like Jollibee, it offers a particular national variation on some well-known comfort food. In addition to the traditional ramen familiar to local diners, Menya Itto specializes in tsuke- men, a dish where the broth and ingredients are served in separate bowls for dipping. According to founder and chef Yukihiko Sakamoto, that's the primary reason for the res- taurant's unusual soft launch, when only 30 bowls of ramen were prom- ised to early birds (although even- tually about 60 were served). "Our staff here are mostly Canadian," Saka- moto says through a translator. "For both customers and staff, tsukemen takes some time to learn." The soft opening was a bit like baseball's spring training, Sakamoto says—a way to work out the bugs and make sure everyone was ready for the regular season. This is Menya Itto's first North American location, joining shops in locations in Taiwan, Vietnam and Bang- kok, in addition to the original poll-topping restaurant in To- kyo's Katsushika district. The 54-year-old Sakamoto, who originally trained in French cuisine, arrived in Vancouver two months before the opening to supervise. Although possible expansion to Toronto and Mon- treal has been discussed, Saka- moto is leery of overextending the operation and sacrificing quality control. "Companies that go up fast often go down fast," he says. Sakamoto is also not fond of another recent industry trend— delivery services like DoorDash and Uber Eats. "It doesn't work well for tsukemen," he main- tains. "Broth gets cold; noodles get cold." As an alternative, Sakamoto is developing a different mar- keting strategy: frozen ramen, with broth and noodles pack- aged separately for home use. For now, that's a Japan-only project—perhaps another learn- ing curve for BCers to tackle down the road. In the meantime, the new local comfort food options might save Manila and Tokyo expats some airfare. £ LET'S GO BOWLING Yukihiko Sakamoto is founder and chef of Menya Itto, a Tokyo- based ramen specialist. For launches like the group's North Ameri- can debut in Vancouver, he believes in quality over quantity

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