After leaving the country in 2009, Wendy's returns to Japan with a $200-million (¥15.5-billion) investment featuring it's new signature premium burger, the $16 (¥1,250) Foie Gras Rossini.
Featuring its traditional square burger patty, it is topped with foie gras and truffle butter. The Rossini refers to the French dish the Tournedos Rossini that consists of filet mignon and foie gras created for Italian composer Gioachino Rossini, who loved his food!
The Premium Burger (its official title) and other new upscale meals will be sold initially in Tokyo’s Omotesando luxury shopping district, the first of 100 targeted stores that opened on December 27, 2011.
"We think the fast food market here is ready for something different," says chief executive officer of Wendy's Japan Ernest Higa at the opening on Tuesday.
Why does Japan get foie gras and not say Canada or the U.S.? The guessing is that Wendy's may be afraid of upsetting animal rights groups there, as more than a few States have banned the sale of foie gras. I guess the slaughter of cows is still okay - and I am not on a soapbox here, I'm just confused by the double standard.
|Opening day for Wendy's in Japan 2011 - with mascots.|
Wendy's says it will eventually expand to about 700 restaurants in Japan, compared with about 3,300 for McDonald's.
Wendy's ended a 30-year run in Japan in 2009 after its partner Zensho Holdings declined to renew the agreement, saying it would focus on building its main Sukiya chain of beef-bowl restaurants.
"Our partner had a pretty significant business, which was their primary focus," Darrell Van Ligten, international division president of Wendy's says. "Given the size of the different businesses, Wendy's wasn't as much of a focus area as we would have liked it to be."
Notes Shiemura Kyoichiro (surname first), a senior analyst at Nomura Holdings Inc.: "This (Japan) is an aging society, which has more single people who just want a meal fast, but restaurants are too expensive, so fast food is the correct sector to be in."
Wendy's menu pits it against Japanese rivals including Mos Food Services' Mos Burger, in terms of taste, and Lotteria, which has a $22.50 (¥1,750) Matsuzaka beef burger, for premium items.
Shigemura says: "The competition is really stiff."
Not mention Japan's crappy economy... so we won't.
Wendy's Japan is a joint venture between Wendy's Co., which owns 49 per cent, and closely held Higa Industries Co., with 51 per cent.
While Wendy's does have a ways to go before reaching the same success level as the golden arches, this upscale Foie Gras Rossini burger does sound delicious - despite the hefty price tag.
Anyone tries one and feels like filing a report - let Japan - It's A Wonderful Rife know about it!