Creating culture with Blink

Founded in 2012, Tonkotsu is a modern Japanese ramen bar serving homemade noodles alongside a selection of gyoza, sides, and drinks. The group now comprises 16 restaurants across London, Brighton and Birmingham.
Blink on Laptop and Mobile Phone

Restaurant managers were able to build stronger connections

99%

active users

245

employees

16

restaurants

The Challenge: engaging and communicating at scale

Tonkotsu’s workforce is spread across the UK, which makes it difficult to both communicate important information at scale and to maintain a company culture. Emma Reynolds, co-founder of Tonkotsu, was looking for ways to connect her organization in order to overcome these challenges. 

Before onboarding Blink, the solutions available to her were falling short, meaning that only 10% of her staff had access to all the information they needed. The team attempted to use Microsoft Sharepoint to distribute important documents about menu changes, but scaling it fully would have meant buying over 100 licenses - Emma needed something more scalable. 

In attempting to communicate with its teams, Tonkotsu was also using WhatsApp. However, this created a privacy problem: the team found it irritating to receive messages about work on their days off, creating the need to constantly mute and unmute groups. 

"We now have the peace of mind where we don’t need to worry about the teams receiving work notifications during holidays."

Emma Reynolds, Co-Founder · Tonkotsu

The Solution: creating an engaging environment using Blink 

In 2018, Tonkotsu brought Blink onboard. 

Removing the need for Sharepoint documents, The Hub within Blink offered Tonkotsu staff members quick access to relevant documents such as food regulations and updates.

In addition, Blink Chats solved the practical problem of communication at restaurant level, helping managers coordinate teams and shifts without the need to resort to WhatsApp: “we now have the peace of mind where we don’t need to worry about the teams receiving work notifications during holidays,” says Emma. 

All this resulted in Blink becoming a critical part of daily life for Tonkotsu team members, with 99% active users. With this level of engagement, Emma and her team now had the means to create a unified culture. They used the Blink Feed to keep every staff member up-to-date with everything from new menu launches and recipes, to celebrating achievements like the restaurant’s “Omotenashi (Best Japanese Service)” award. This visibility also allows restaurant managers to get inspiration from other restaurants, driving culture and performance. 

"We see Blink as a driver of learning and culture, which is very valuable. "

Emma Reynolds, Co-Founder · Tonkotsu

The Impact: driving culture at scale

The true impact of Blink on how Tonkotsu was able to forge a unified, connected organization was particularly clear during the COVID-19 pandemic, when Tonkotsu - like other UK restaurants - was forced to close for several months. Throughout this period, restaurant managers and leadership alike continued to use Blink to keep staff informed and engaged during a difficult and unsettling time, resulting in teams that transitioned back into work quickly and seamlessly. 

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