In Focus
FRANCHISING | Staff Reporter, Japan
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Which brand will fare in Japan's burger battle?

Fast food chains in Japan are launching the biggest expansion wave in decades. According to Nikkei Asian Review, McDonald's Holdings (Japan) is emerging from a slump and has announced its first net store increase in a decade this year. McDonald's aims to open 150 to 200 new locations in the next three years. Factoring in closings, it expects a net increase of around 100.

Following this, Burger King announced it aims to triple its Japanese locations to 300 by 2022, spending 5 billion yen ($45.5 million) in the process. Target locations include shopping center food courts and suburban spots with room for drive-thrus. Burger King also intends to offer a home delivery service, countering McDonald's Japan's move to expand deliveries in partnership with Uber Eats last year.

To prepare for the expansion drive, Burger King is revamping its product lineup, starting with the BBQ Smoky Bacon Whopper introduced this month. The burger is priced at 690 yen - about 200 yen more than the core products on the menu.

Also according to the article, domestic player First Kitchen has been establishing "double brand" outlets with US-brand Wendy's. Sales are up 30%, compared with the levels before the introduction of the new outlets, a spokesperson said. Freshness Burger, run by Colowide, is also set to expand in 400 locations by 2020.

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