Jeremy Julian

208. Restaurant Technology Guys Podcast Ep. 208 – High Growth restaurant group Pepper Lunch shares the keys to growth with CEO Troy Hooper

November 20, 2023

Join Jeremy and CEO Troy Hooper where they talk about how Pepper Lunch came to be in Japan and its amazing growth in North America.  Be the first to hear about their goals and growth plans for the US market. 

Expanding the Culinary Scene with Pepper Lunch: A Journey of Authenticity and Innovation

Every so often, a brand comes along that is so unique and fascinating that it quickly becomes a tantalizing topic of conversation. One such brand is Pepper Lunch, a DIY teppanyaki-style fast-casual restaurant, that is rapidly gaining momentum in the United States. In this blog, we’ll get an insider’s perspective on the history, mission, and future plans of this beloved Tokyo-originated brand through a conversation with its CEO, Troy Hooper.

Journey of Pepper Lunch

From its humble beginnings in 1994, founded by a master chef in Tokyo, Pepper Lunch has always been about celebrating authentic Japanese cuisine and bringing a unique dining experience to the masses. The brand was originally created around the singular concept of serving affordable high-quality beef dishes, traditionally viewed as a celebratory and luxury food in Japan, to everyday customers.

The signature dish that epitomizes this vision and has become a cornerstone of Pepper Lunch’s menu is the Beef Pepper Rice. This dish was inspired by the idea of shrinking the traditional Japanese family meal that consists of a large, community-sized iron skillet of rice, vegetables, and beef into more individualized portions.

An Experiential Approach to Fast-Casual Dining

Pepper Lunch’s dining experience is all about catering to the senses. The experience begins even before you see your food. The audible sizzle of the food, the stimulating aromas, and the visual appeal of the bubbling ingredients together create a symphony for the senses. Importantly, this experiential model allows customers to have a hand in the final preparation of their meals, adding to the uniqueness of the dining experience.

Pepper Lunch’s Expansion Plans

After initially establishing outlets in Guam, Las Vegas, Houston, and Southern California, Pepper Lunch has an ambitious goal of 600 new locations over the next ten years. Their plan is to work with established multi-unit franchise operators who have profound knowledge and experience in the restaurant sector. Pepper Lunch is ready to start expanding rapidly with sizable commitments from franchise operators already planned in places like Arizona, Texas, and Central Florida.

Protecting the Brand and the Customer

In an industry where customization is often seen as a key selling point, Pepper Lunch stands out. By allowing customers to create their meals exactly the way they want, there are no “off-limits” ingredient combinations when it comes to their offerings. Drawing from a simple ingredient palette of protein, rice, and vegetables, Pepper Lunch enables customers to get creative within the framework of authentic Japanese cuisine.

Moreover, since meals are served on sizzling hot metal plates which customers are supposed to stir and cook further, Pepper Lunch places a high emphasis on customer safety. This is accomplished by using a paper ring around the sizzling plate that acts as a visual and physical barrier cautioning customers of the high temperature.

The Future of Pepper Lunch

Pepper Lunch is an exciting brand that is definitely worth watching. With 30 years of experience and a robust infrastructure already in place, they are poised for massive growth. For these reasons, Pepper Lunch is set to be a hot new contender in the fast-casual dining scene, revolutionizing the way we experience food and dine out.

Check them out at Pepper Lunch – Sizzling Hot Plate Dining Experience (

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