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Meet Sam Morikizono

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sam Morikizono.

Sam, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I always wanted to open my own restaurant. I took over Tajima in 2001 when it was just a small Japanese restaurant from a different owner. I spent five years creating a successful menu and then decided to open up a 2nd location in 2006 at the Kearny Mesa area on Mercury Street. When I opened the 2nd location, I focused on having more sushi options so that the Convoy location would have more focus on ramen and other entree items. After a successful nine years of the 2nd location, I decided to open up a 3rd location in Hillcrest in 2014. Because our ramen became well known, Hillcrest was successful and we were able to open up multiple locations years after; we were able to open locations in Downtown, North Park, College Area, and in Tijuana.

I wanted to try a new concept for a restaurant and became fascinated with Nashville Style hot deep-fried chicken. So my newest venture is my restaurant called Corner Chicken which is located in Downtown.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
One of the struggles is dealing with the problems that come from expanding to many locations. You learn it becomes harder managing many restaurants compared to only managing one. Also, you learn it’s important to be creative with new ideas and to keep up with new trends.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Tajima is a local neighborhood ramen place with many locations in San Diego. We specialize in ramen and it is what we’re known for. We are the first one to make ramen popular in San Diego and we do our best to evolve with San Diego’s taste. I’m proud that the business has been around for over 20 years, which is long enough to become well known. I want the readers to know that because we’ve been around for so long and have been able to expand to other areas throughout San Diego, Tajima is a ramen restaurant to try because of it’s long history and delicious food that continues to bring people back.

Networking and finding a mentor can have such a positive impact on one’s life and career. Any advice?
Having a mentor with experience and you can trust is something I definitely recommend. You can find them in different ways. You can ask friends who might know people or research business professionals. I started with a group of people I met that were already restaurant owners and learned a lot from them. They were able to give me some good advice.

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