Western Stores in Tokyo

14 Feb

Many overseas companies want to open shops in Japan.
The Japanese market is very lucrative…for companies that prove to be popular here. But the Japanese consumer is very finicky. Companies that don’t meet Japanese expectations are doomed to fail.

For example, the American donut company, Dunkin’ Donuts, is popular in America. But when they opened stores in Japan, the Japanese people found their donuts too sweet…and Dunkin’ Donuts was  unable to stay in Japan.

dunkin-donuts1

On the other hand, the less-sweet American donut chain Mister Donuts is very popular in Japan. (Ironically, Mister Donuts isn’t very popular in America).

misdo

"Mister Donut" in Tokyo

Krispy Kreme Donuts set up shops in Tokyo recently, too.

krispy

Some American chains have been bought by a Japanese company and were brought here by their new Japanese owners. For example, the convenience store chain 7-Eleven was bought by the Japanese department store Ito-Yokado. (A couple years ago Ito-Yokado changed the signs on their department stores to reflect their connection with the popular convenience store they own…their signs now say “Seven & i Holdings” on the Ito-Yokado stores.)

7-Eleven (and other convenience stores) are very popular in Japan. Japan is a small country, but there are almost twice as many 7-Eleven stores here than in all of the U.S., Canada, and Mexico combined!

Convenience stores in Japan are very different from their counterparts in America. Japanese convenience stores are great!

7-11

7 & i Holdings, the Japanese company that owns 7-Eleven also owns the restaurant chain Denny’s. Denny’s in Japan have a different menu than Denny’s in America. I like Denny’s Japan better (but that may be because I’ve been in Japan for awhile now, and I’m more used to Japanese style food).

デニーズ・レストラン「セブン&アイ HLDGS」 (Denny's Restaurant (Seven & i Holdings)

デニーズ・レストラン「セブン&アイ HLDGS」 (Denny

The American bakery Vie de France is in Japan, too. But it’s not American anymore either…Yamazaki Bread owns this company. I like Vie de France. Their bread is excellent.

vie-de-france

Of course, American fast-food chains are here…

mac

ケンタッ�ー (KFC) in Japan.

ケンタッキー (KFC) in Japan.

wendys

pizza-hut

shakeys2

dominos

I have wrote a post about Domino’s Pizza in Japan. Click here to see it.

I like Subway sandwich shop, alot. The Japanese Subway sandwich shop. The menu is much better at Subway Japan than the U.S. branches.

subway

There are Japanese fast-food restaurants, too.  These include MOS Burger, First Kitchen, and Freshness Burger (which has beer on the menu! 🙂 ). Occasionally you can still find a  Dom-Dom Burger, and there used to be a chain called Love Hamburger. Love Hamburger went out-of -business about 12 years ago and the U.S. chain Burger King bought all of the Love Burger shops and opened Burger King in Japan in the late ’90s…but they made the ill-fated decision to offer only a limited menu to test the Japanese market. That didn’t go over well and soon they went out-of-business in Japan, too.

But recently, Burger King decided to re-try the Japanese market…and I guess they learned from their past mistakes—they seem to be doing well in Japan now.

burger-king

There are also branches of Sizzler, Outback, and Tony Romas in Japan.

sizzleroutback

romas

All of these foreign companies that have stores in Tokyo (How many of these have stores in your town? Do you shop at any of these?):

bubba

tgif

red_lobster

el-torito

hrc

"Shell" Gas
"Mobil" Gas harley-japan1

citibank

starbucks "HMV" CD / DVD store "Tower Records" in 渋谷 (Shibuya, Tokyo)
"Disney Store", Tokyo gap hilton

prada

chanel

vuitton

"The Body Shop" in Tokyo

"The Body Shop" in Tokyo

"Godiva Chocolate" in Tokyo

"Godiva Chocolate" in Tokyo

claires2

Toys "Я" Us

Toys "Я" Us

There are other foreign companies here, too…but you get the idea.

All of these foreign companies have to keep on their toes and provide the service and products that the Japanese expect…and for each of these foreign stores in Japan, there are Japanese companies that provide similar products that they have to compete with.  But if the effort is worth it…Japan is the most profitable market for most of these companies.

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Anyways, today is Valentine’s Day.
My wife and daughters made delicious chocolate for me.
(Click here to read a post I wrote about Valentines Day in Japan).

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24 Responses to “Western Stores in Tokyo”

  1. tokyo5 August 15, 2010 at 6:52 pm #

    Wendy’s Hamburger chain closed all of their stores in Japan on New Year’s Eve 2009.

    https://tokyo5.wordpress.com/2009/12/12/wendys-is-leaving-japan/

    I heard that Tower Records have closed down in the U.S…but they’re still in Japan (some of their branches have closed here though…but most are still open).

    Like

  2. tokyo5 March 2, 2009 at 11:45 pm #

    I just remembered something that happened when I visited America about ten years ago.

    I went to a Subway sandwich shop and ordered a sandwich.
    Then I showed my Subway stamp card so he could stamp it.

    The clerk looked at the card with all the writing in Japanese and asked where I got it.
    I told me I got it from Subway Japan and he was excited and said he’d give me a free sandwich if I let him keep the card.

    So, of course I gave it to him…and my sandwich was free, even though my stamp card had only one stamp.

    Another difference between Subway Japan and Subway USA‘s stamp cards is that in America they use paper sticker-type stamps…but in Japan they stamp the cards with an ink-stamp.

    Like

  3. tokyo5 February 18, 2009 at 2:13 am #

    Tim…

    Thanks for visiting my site and commenting.

    Yes, Mister Donuts is an American chain.
    But they’re more popular in Japan than in the U.S.

    >My wife and I went to Tokyo last April

    How did you like it here? Was it your first time in Japan? How long was your visit?
    Where did you go?

    >Most of the time, though, we didn’t go to American restaurants or stores while we were there (Japan)

    That’s good. You should try local food when you visit somewhere (I believe).
    My family and I patronize very few U.S. chain restaurants here, either. We prefer Japanese food.

    >fewer overseas chains in other cities in Japan compared to Tokyo.

    Yes, most companies set up their business in the big city (where most of the customers are).

    Like

  4. Tim February 17, 2009 at 9:52 am #

    I had no idea Mister Donut was an American chain. My wife and I went to Tokyo last April and ate at a Mister Donut in Asakusa, but that was the first time I had even been to one (and I live in the U.S.).

    We had dinner once at a Shakey’s in Ikebukuro just to see what it was like. It was definitely nicer than Shakey’s I’ve been to here. We also stopped in the Starbucks by Shibuya Crossing the morning we left, and it was just like most Starbucks locations here.

    Most of the time, though, we didn’t go to American restaurants or stores while we were there, because we wanted to try different things. We also noticed that there were fewer overseas chains in other cities in Japan compared to Tokyo.

    Like

  5. tokyo5 February 17, 2009 at 12:14 am #

    Tom Arrison….

    I know that the New Otani has a nice Japanese garden…but I didn’t know about the Trader Vic restaurant.

    That’s right…I had forgotten about Toys “Я” Us‘s struggle to set up here.

    Like

  6. Tom Arrison February 16, 2009 at 3:44 am #

    I love MOS Burger.

    Yeah, Trader Vic’s is a Polynesian-theme restaurant/bar. You can get mai-tais, etc. Don’t have to stay at the New Otani to eat there. The New Otani also has a great Japanese garden. I don’t think you have to be a guest to see that either.

    I remember when Toys R Us was trying to expand in Japan back in the early and mid 90s and it was there was a big trade with the U.S. dispute because of the Japanese law restricting large stores.

    Like

  7. tokyo5 February 16, 2009 at 1:05 am #

    naoko….

    Yes, Toys “Я” Us is an American company! Thanks! 🙂

    I just added their logo, too.

    Like

  8. naoko February 15, 2009 at 11:39 pm #

    トイザらスってアメリカでしたか?

    Like

  9. tokyo5 February 15, 2009 at 11:12 pm #

    Tom Arrison…

    Do you like MOS Burger?
    They have some excellent burgers (and chili dogs)!

    >Shakey’s and Mr. Donut are good examples of chains that aren’t very successful in the US but succeed in Japan.

    Yes…as I said above Mister Donuts is the most popular donut store in Japan.
    I say, though, that Shakey’s is “fairly” successful here.

    I’ve never stayed at the New Otani…and I don’t know about “Trader Vic’s“.

    Like

  10. Tom Arrison February 15, 2009 at 11:05 pm #

    I’m missing me some MOS Burger. I hear they have some in Hawaii.

    Shakey’s and Mr. Donut are good examples of chains that aren’t very successful in the US but succeed in Japan.

    Trader Vic’s is a global chain that has a restaurant at the Tokyo New Otani. Wish we still had one in DC (http://www.tradervics.com/).

    Like

  11. tokyo5 February 15, 2009 at 10:28 pm #

    Sir Pent…

    >I’d love to make it to Japan for a visit someday.

    Yeah, save your pennies and come see Tokyo. 🙂

    >Starbucks is quite popular for coffee

    It’s popular here, too (the busiest Starbucks in the world is in Tokyo)…but I don’t get it.
    It doesn’t taste like coffee to me. Too sweet…like hot chocolate (and too expensive). I don’t like it.

    Do you like Starbucks?

    >Dunkin Donuts…

    That’s kinda funny that both Dunkin’ Donts and Mister Donuts are from Boston…and one is popular in America but not the other—and it’s the other-way-around here.

    Like

  12. tokyo5 February 15, 2009 at 10:23 pm #

    bartman905….

    While you’re in Tokyo, do you eat mostly Japanese food or Western?

    I’m American…but I’m not so used to American food anymore. We eat Japanese food almost every day.

    When we visited America about four years ago, after a few days we were all craving Japanese food (including me 😉 ).

    Like

  13. tokyo5 February 15, 2009 at 10:17 pm #

    Eric…

    >I wish Subway was in the Tohoku area.

    I grew up in a small town. But since I moved to a big city eighteen years ago, I’d never leave the convenience of the city for small town living again.

    Tokyo has everything. 😉

    >Even one from Subway.

    If you try Subway in Japan, you won’t say “even…“. Subway Japan is much better than in America (and probably Canada).

    Speaking of Canada and of fastfood…we went to Niagara Falls in Canada when we took a trip to New York about 13 years ago.
    I saw a “Wendy’s” burger place…and noticed the sign had a maple leaf in place of the apostrophe.

    Are they all like that in Canada? Or was that just because we were in a touristy area?

    Like

  14. tokyo5 February 15, 2009 at 9:55 pm #

    Tom…

    >You’ve got a good list there, but you forgot Shakey’s Pizza.

    Thanks.I did forget about Shakey’s Pizza.
    I just added their logo.

    I also forgot about Hilton Hotels, Godiva Chocolate, The Body Shop, and Claire’s.

    I remembered them because when we went out today, I saw all of those places.

    I took a photo of Godiva Chocolate, Mister Donuts, and The Body Shop and added them to the post as well.
    And I added Hilton and Claire’s logos too.

    Actually, I wrote this post about Western businesses in Tokyo…but I patronize only McDonalds, Subway, Vie de France, and Mister Donuts.

    We almost always eat Japanese food…not American chain restaurants. And I don’t shop at luxery brands either.

    Like

  15. tokyo5 February 15, 2009 at 9:47 pm #

    Umepontarou…

    >I didn’t know there is Sizzler in Japan!

    Yes, there are Sizzler restaurants (at least in Tokyo).

    Like

  16. Sir Pent February 15, 2009 at 1:23 pm #

    I’d love to make it to Japan for a visit someday.

    Starbucks is quite popular for coffee, but popularity has waned. McDonalds has really been pushing their premium coffees.
    Dunkin Donuts is probably known just as much for it’s coffee as it is for it’s donuts lately.

    Like

  17. bartman905 February 15, 2009 at 12:22 pm #

    Looks like an extensive list of Western stores in Japan, especially restaurants or food related ones.

    If you are into shopping, the Gotemba Premium Outlet (see my blog post http://bartman905.wordpress.com/2008/07/27/gotemba-premium-outlet/) is a mecca of Western designer and clothing stores including Gucci, Bally, Banana Republic, Addidas, Nike, Jimmy Choo (whose son, Danny Choo, the Tokyo Dancing Stormtrooper, is making a name for himself in Japan with the otaku community, see http://bartman905.wordpress.com/2008/12/15/danny-choo-tokyo-dancing-stormtrooper/).

    Like

  18. Eric February 15, 2009 at 11:21 am #

    I wish Subway was in the Tohoku area. I’d kill for a sub right now! Even one from Subway.

    Like

  19. Tom February 15, 2009 at 7:54 am #

    You’ve got a good list there, but you forgot Shakey’s Pizza.

    Like

  20. umepontarou February 15, 2009 at 6:55 am #

    I didn’t know there is Sizzler in Japan!

    Like

  21. tokyo5 February 15, 2009 at 2:07 am #

    gigihawaii…

    >In Hawaii, TGIFridays shut down as did Tower Records.

    Really? I heard that Tower Records were closing in America…but is TGIFridays too?

    Tower Records still has many branches in Japan…and they seem to be doing fine.

    I don’t care for TGIFridays, Hard Rock Cafe and those types of places…but they seem popular here. Especially with overseas tourists.

    >Funny, when I was in Tokyo last June, I did not see any American stores or restaurants. Correction: there was a McDonald’s near the Hotel Pacific in Shinagawa

    There’s also a TGIFridays and an Outback near there.

    Like

  22. tokyo5 February 15, 2009 at 2:02 am #

    Sir Pent…

    >I’ve never been to Japan

    You should come visit!

    >the doughnut vendors competition in America has much less to do with doughnuts right now than it does with coffee!!

    Really? So which is the most popular?
    Coffee is popular in Japan, too.

    Besides popular coffee shops like Doutor and Starbucks, many people like McDonalds coffee and Mister Donuts coffee.

    Mister Donuts is Japan’s most popular donuts shop. And both McDonalds and Mister Donuts have good coffee that is inexpensive and free refills.

    >Lizards From Afar have uploaded a brand new song.

    I’m gonna check it out.

    Like

  23. gigihawaii February 15, 2009 at 12:29 am #

    In Hawaii, TGIFridays shut down as did Tower Records.

    Funny, when I was in Tokyo last June, I did not see any American stores or restaurants. Correction: there was a McDonald’s near the Hotel Pacific in Shinagawa where we stayed. But other than that, no other stores.

    Like

  24. Sir Pent February 15, 2009 at 12:13 am #

    I’ve never been to Japan, so I cannot comment on how much better the Japanese versions are.
    I can tell you this…the doughnut vendors competition in America has much less to do with doughnuts right now than it does with coffee!!
    Americans LOVE their coffee and ALL the restaurants have been pushing their gourmet and “best tasting” coffee.

    BTW-Lizards From Afar have uploaded a brand new song. It’s called POSTER CHILD.
    Download it FREE:
    http://reverbnation.com/lizardsfromafar

    Like

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