KFC in Japan

Study of KFC in Japan
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  KFC in Japan Japan is the third-largest market for KFC after China and the United States with 1,181 outlets as of December 2013.[2] In Japan, 70 percent of sales are takeout, with customers tending to buy fried chicken for parties and other special occasions and eating it as a side dish. chicken is now an important part of our diet. While there was once a time when many people in Japan were not very familiar with fried chicken, Kentucky Fried Chicken Japan (KFCJ) has helped to enrich Japan's food culture by establishing fried chicken as a part of the nation's diet. The company has continued to grow while building a broad base of fans that extends across generations, and today, KFCJ operates 1,131stores* nationwide. Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) and Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) first crossed paths back in the 1960s. A test store was opened at the Osaka World Expo in March 1970, marking KFC's debut in Japan. The store offered a 350-yen combo meal, consisting of fried chicken, french fries and a roll. It was an instant success, with the store selling some 4,600 meals a day and posting average daily sales of 1.6 million yen. One day, the store even recorded sales of 2.8 million yen. After this successful debut, KFCJ was established in July 1970. However, a difference of opinion on store locations began to surface. Based on KFC's experience in the U.S., the American headquarters proposed opening stores near suburban shopping centers. However, as the use of family cars had not yet become widespread in Japan, MC argued against that approach, saying it would be best to begin by establishing stores in downtown locations. In the end, the American headquarters was not swayed by these arguments and the suburban strategy was adopted. The first store opened in Nagoya at 10 AM on November 21, 1970 with great fanfare, including fireworks and giant advertising balloons. Two others stores were soon opened in Osaka. All the stores had been built in the parking lots of shopping malls and were complete with play areas for children. However, the stores struggled, just as people at MC had feared. Before a year had passed, KFCJ was deeply in the red, with a capital deficit reaching 100 million yen. Inside MC, investigations into possibly withdrawing from the venture had begun. What they learned from initial failures was that choosing proper location would be critical. Staff at MC laid out their strategy: Let's enhance the visibility of our stores by developing smaller outlets inside buildings in downtown districts and upscale residential areas. We'll give it one more shot — this time with locations that we believe will work. Everything hinged on the success of this new strategy. The location chosen for this last stand was Tor Road in Kobe, a district with many foreign residents, bordered by upscale residential developments. The Tor Road Store, which opened in April 1972, carried the company's hopes for survival. We've got to find a way to succeed. The staff gave it their all, selflessly working late into the night, with some even sleeping on beds fashioned from large bags of flour. All of this passion and hard work produced results. After four months, the store reached monthly sales of 3.6 million yen. The confidence of those involved  in the business grew. We are finally on the right track, they told each other. Next, they set their sights on opening the first store in Tokyo and the Aoyama Store opened later that year. The store was a great success, partly thanks to its great location, and it wasn't long before KFC became a household name. In December 1973, KFCJ opened its 100th store. Around this time, stores were reliably posting monthly sales of 3 million yen and the company's performance stabilized. In December 1974, KFCJ began to extensively promote its Christmas campaign. Then in 1985, KFCJ introduced the Party Barrel, consisting of chicken, salad and ice cream. After this, the idea of having chicken on Christmas continued to spread and it is now an annual tradition for many people across Japan. In August 1990, 20 years after the company was established, KFCJ was listed on the second section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange. In the following year, KFCJ expanded into the pizza delivery business with its Pizza Hut operations, thereby further solidifying the company's foundations for the future. Then in May 2009, KFCJ launched a new buffet-style restaurant called Pizza Hut Natural and is currently operating four outlets. KFCJ has a long tradition of taking on new challenges and this spirit is reflected in its menu. Even as KFCJ faithfully carries on the tradition of Colonel Sanders' secret recipe with 11 herbs and spices , it has also pioneered various new menu items, such as Red Hot Chicken and Paripari Umami Chicken (Crispy Delicious Chicken). With new flavors such as these becoming big hits, KFCJ has succeeded in winning many new fans. KFCJ marks its 40th anniversary this year. Under the slogan of Endless quest for great taste and innovation , KFCJ continues to make dedicated efforts to provide its customers with great-tasting food. “The tradition of eating KFC at Christmas *began+ when an expat customer at the chain’s Aoyama store observed that, in a land bereft of Yuletide turkey, fried chicken was the next best thing,” wrote Japan Today . “The store’s canny manager was paying a ttention and passed word on to the higher-ups, leading the company to launch its ludicrously successful ‘Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii!’ (Kentucky for Christmas!) campaign in 1974.”  Regardless of what sparked the fried chicken for Christmas craze, KFC Japan has capitalized on it. The odd tradition has led to such high demand for the Colonel’s fare that pre -orders for Christmas begin in early December. One outlet in Tokyo’s bustling Shinjuku district expected to fry 7,000 pieces of chicken on December 24, with patrons being forced to wait for up to two hours to pick up an order. Not only is KFC a popular holiday treat  –   it’s a relatively expensive one, as well. An eight piece Christmas - themed “Party Barrel ” (Japan’s answer to the “Bucket”) with a salad, a sm all chocolate cake and a commemorative Christmas plate costs a whopping 3,980 yen ($39). In the U.S., KFC’s “Festive Feast ” offers eight pieces of chicken, two large side dishes, four biscuits, and a dozen cookies for just $19.99.  this was a dedicated marketing scheme by KFC in Japan to associate KFC with Christmas. Christmas was never really popularly celebrated until the '90s, and even now it's considered a holiday mostly for couples or families with small children. When people started hearing about Christmas, KFC took advantage of the fact that people associate KFC with America and undertook a massive, multi-year marketing campaign. Clearly, it worked, and KFC has exerted market dominance ever since. In fact, they've even gone as far as introducing a special set for Christmas - Japanese people associate cake with Christmas as well, so KFC came up with a fried chicken bucket that has a cardboard bottom with a Christmas cake underneath. TL;DR - Some Japanese people might think Americans eat fried chicken on Christmas, but it's mostly just the result of a massive ad campaign by KFC. According to company lore, it started with ex-pats, then took off through a wildly successful marketing campaign. As KFC tells it, a foreign family visited one of its Tokyo restaurants shortly after the company opened its first location in Nagoya in 1970. The family told the staff they decided on fried chicken because turkey wasn’t available —  that most-iconic of American holiday dishes is exceedingly rare in Japan, and most homes don’t have a large Western -style oven capable of cooking a whole bird. Savvy marketing staff at KFC saw the family’s story as an opportunity to firm up its position in Japan, and a now- famous “Christmas with Kentucky” ad campaign was launched in 1974.  KFC has expanded to 1,182 restaurants in Japan, and sales at all its locations are usually five to 10 times higher in December, spokeswoman Tomoko Moro said. Popular does not mean cheap. The basic KFC Christmas family meal, which includes a Japanese-style cake, costs the equivalent of about $48, a strikingly high price for foreigners accustomed to dollar menus and other cheap U.S. fast food. KFC is offering a holiday meal in the U.S. —  eight pieces of chicken and dozen cookies —  for $19.99. Still, a week before Christmas, a KFC near Kadena Air Base on Okinawa had already nearly sold out its dinner-time slots from Dec. 23 through the holiday, though the restaurant said a few were still available.  “We know people from foreign countries are amazed to see a c rowded KFC restaurant during Christmas time or a long line at the drive- through,” Moro said.  About two decades ago, the company also started selling commemorative plates showing nostalgic holiday scenes with Santa Claus as part of its Christmas campaign. Now, it also offers a full roasted chicken similar to a traditional American holiday meal. “It is interesting when there’s nostalgia for other people’s food,” said Kyle Cleveland, an associate professor of sociology at Temple University’s Japan campus, who teaches Japanese pop culture. “What you’re dealing with is a manufactured tradition.”  Cleveland said KFC has likely just found a comfortable niche within Japanese customs that already existed, such as the country’s love of fried chicken and its heavy re liance on take-out food. Fried chicken called karaage is sold in most Japanese restaurants and convenience stores, which provide a huge percentage of meals in the notoriously overworked country, he said. So, a take-out bucket of chicken would be a natural fit for a celebration like Christmas, which is widely popular but does not merit a day off for Japanese workers. Whatever the reason for its popularity, the KFC Christmas is likely to stick around in ritual- and brand-obsessed Japan now that Colonel Sanders —  and his Santa hat —  have become synonymous with the holiday. “Once the tradition has been established, the people are almost ritualistic in following it,” Cleveland said.
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