business

Japanese curry chain Coco Ichibanya to open a branch in India next year

28 Comments
By Dale Roll, SoraNews24

As far as fast food goes, Japan certainly has a plethora of options. Whether you want beef bowls, chicken and egg rice bowls, tempura, hamburgers, tacos, or fried chicken, Japan has got it all, so you’ll never go hungry for cheap, fast, and tasty food. But when it comes to customizing your order exactly how you want it, there’s no better place than Curry House CoCo Ichibanya.

Coco Ichi, which offers take-out as well as dine-in options, has shops all over the country, and for good reason: their menu has something for everyone. CoCo’s specializes in curry, of course, but what kind of curry is up to you. When you order at CoCo’s you can choose what kind of curry base you want, how much rice you want, how spicy you want it, how sweet you want it, and what toppings you want to put on it. If you’re really hungry, you can choose to order every single topping on the menu, or if you’re going low carb you can even sub out the rice for cauliflower rice. They also have vegetarian options as well as Halal selections, which makes their menu especially flexible.

So that’s why it’s no surprise to see the curry shop opening up its doors in other countries…except we were pretty shocked to learn that Japan’s unique version of curry is planning to make its way to India.

The company that runs CoCo Ichi doesn’t seem concerned; they’re teaming up with Mitsui & Co in a joint venture to bring the first CoCo’s shop to New Delhi or the surrounding area as early as next February. They’re even considering making it a franchise opportunity in the country, with the hope that by 2030 there will be as many as 30 CoCo shops.

But that perhaps depends on how well the initial shop will do. The plan is to keep the chain’s original curry sauces, flavors, spice levels, and toppings, so it will stay true to the Japanese style of curry, but there will also reportedly be options to purchase naan instead of rice, and add other toppings that suit the tastes of locals, too.

The price of the curry dishes will start at about 780 yen (491 Indian rupees), which is reportedly a little high compared to other curry shops in Delhi, but officials in charge of the venture hope the addition of a new kind of food and a uniquely Japanese food culture will bring customers to the chain.

But will that be enough? Japanese net users don’t seem to think so:

“I have a feeling it’s going to fail.”

“India-England-Japan-India. The reverse importation is complete.”

“It’s not really a curry that will be accepted in the place where curry comes from…”

“That’s like American sushi restaurants opening up in Japan. Yeah, it’s gonna fail.”

“It’s not even delicious curry in Japan…well, they’re free to do what they want.”

“People of the Hindu religion can’t eat beef, Muslims don’t eat pork, and CoCo’s doesn’t carry mutton curry. Can their chicken curry alone be successful?”

Source: NHK News Web via My Game News Flash

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Japan’s biggest curry chain now offers a true vegetarian curry

-- Mr. Sato goes halal at new CoCo Ichibanya that caters to Muslim diners

-- No time to cook? No problem! Three easy ways to improve instant curry

© SoraNews24

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

28 Comments
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I can’t wait for coco curry to open in Delhi, I hope it’s in south Delhi where a lot of Japanese brands start from. Honestly, I can understand the concern regarding dietary restrictions but I think that if you offer vegetarian and mutton curry, it might be a hit. Indian market has been saturated by western food and we are starting to look east. Korean style barbeque has exploded here (as an example) and they offer pork options as well. Beef is a bit tricky because of political reasons but Buffalo is a common substitute at high end resteraunts. I think all in all if they research the market well and diversify their menu (and up the spice factor), there’s no reason for coco curry to fail in India.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Let’s hope Coco doesn’t put beef in their curries as they do here!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

mmwkdw: Thank you! What a perfect explanation. It will be passed on.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I’ll bet they’ll close with a year or two.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's fascinating how a British invention can transcend national and cultural borders.

Well the British stole everything from India, and yes the curry too..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Believe it or not many Indians prefer mild curry. 

???????

One of the best places for real Indian curry is Kobe with its large Indian community and you could try for an invite to the Indian Club. Run by Indians with 90% of their customers, Indian.

In Kyoto there are great Thai restaurants which also make great curries.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Ganbare Japan

Believe it or not many Indians prefer mild curry. An Indian chef friend of me in Japan usually serves mild vegetrian curry. Usually only his brave or drinking customers ask for hot spice! This should be a big success. Indians love Japan and Japanese culture. Well done CoCo Ichi, well done!

Your logic is failing you! Indian restaurants in Japan sell mild curry not because Indians like it the best but because their main customers are Japanese people whose palettes and digestive system is too weak to eat real Indian curry. It is similar to the fact that most Indian and Nepalese families don't eat a lot of na in their daily lives. They serve it a lot for the foreign (Japanese) customers.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I cannot say if it will fail or succeed, but I’m less pessimistic than many here. And of course, the price is way higher, but that goes for most foreign restaurants in any country. Even the poorest countries in Africa have high end successful French restaurants. Obviously, they’re not targeting your average blue collar to come in daily for his lunch break!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't thing Indians would treat CoCo curry as a rival to their curry. It is simply different and maybe some people will want to try it for a change?

I heard from my Indian friends that sometimes there are even contests for people who want to prove they can eat food even more spicy than the others, but maybe there is a niche for less spicy food like Japanese curry?

All things considered, this is an interesting news.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Most foolish step. It will definitely fail in very short period.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I wouldn't liken Curry to Sushi as each has different complexities that only a connoisseur would pick up upon.

The Japanese do however produce good quality foods - they tailor things to suit their own tastes but the quality is generally consistent and good. That however, doesn't mean to say that a Japanese Chain in a different country is any better than a local chain.

So if Coco Ichi is aiming to become the Curry version of "Subway" in India, then good luck to them. I hope they pay their staff well and look after them... that may help to bring them more chance of success.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You mean like the TV,radio,Internet,Penicillin,Soccer,tennis,democracy,telephone,train,ad nauseum.

As we are on the subject of food, don’t forget sandwiches.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Spitfire, spot on but I am waiting for the down votes to mount up!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

JeffLee,

You mean like the TV,radio,Internet,Penicillin,Soccer,tennis,democracy,telephone,train,ad nauseum.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Thai curry is already popular in India and Japanese food restaurants have been expanding. Indians aren't averse to other forms of curry. We have diverse types as it is in our country.

The issue is also not taste, Indians will love Japanese curry as it tastes similar to Maggi chicken noodles—instant noodles that are very popular here.

But here's the thing: Rs 490 is way too high for a dish in India. Especially when a packet of Maggi noodles is Rs 15 a packet.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@garypen

Indians laugh at what the Japanese call "curry". If Coco serves their standard Japanese curry, they'll be out of business fairly quickly.

I think it would be marketed as Japanese style of Indian food. Because it is different, it will probably become popular.

The same way, when I lived in New York, many of friends from France came and visited me. They were interested in trying out Bouchon Bakery and Per Se. Its sometimes nice to see a different culture's spin on your home country's food.

I don't think Indian people will be eating there expecting it to taste like home. I think they will eat it expecting it to bring new life or new flavors to India.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It's fascinating how a British invention can transcend national and cultural borders.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Indians laugh at what the Japanese call "curry". 

Believe it or not many Indians prefer mild curry. An Indian chef friend of me in Japan usually serves mild vegetrian curry. Usually only his brave or drinking customers ask for hot spice! This should be a big success. Indians love Japan and Japanese culture. Well done CoCo Ichi, well done!

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

A bit like opening a Pizza Hut in Italy, innit?

Oh well, India no doubt has Japanophiles who will seek it out!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I absolutely love CoCoIchiban.

If I had to marry one restaurant chain, it would be it.

Japanese curry is a bit different from Indian but that might be its selling point.

They're going to have restaurant in India but not in my city. Life seems a bit unfair.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

In English we would say "like taking coals to newcastle" (Newcastle being a previous coal mining place).

We don't like Japanese curry much, too oily, mostly and prefer Indian curry or Caribbean curry with goat or mutton. I make both.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

COCO will become GOGO from India......

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

“People of the Hindu religion can’t eat beef, Muslims don’t eat pork, and CoCo’s doesn’t carry mutton curry. Can their chicken curry alone be successful?”

In Japan you can choose spice levels from 1 - 10. In India it'll have to be 1 - 50.

I think any company worth its salt understands when they have to adapt to the new market that they're entering. McDonald's, Dominos Pizza, and others certainly have many Japan-specific menu items. Taco Bell's spiciness levels were lowered to meet Japanese tastes. Big steaks at TGI Fridays in Japan are served already cut into small pieces for sharing, in the Japanese custom. Most foreign-based chain restaurants adjusted the volume of their dishes to suit Japanese standards.

In conclusion, I'm not worried about CoCo's ability to fit into the Indian market. I'm sure they'll do their homework, as any big, successful company would, and make adjustments.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

In Japan you can choose spice levels from 1 - 10. In India it'll have to be 1 - 50.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Japanese curry isn’t that bad. It hasn’t got enough character to like or dislike. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Not sure how the Indians are going to react to it.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

They are going to have many 'First Time Customers', only!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Indians laugh at what the Japanese call "curry".

Sure, it's quite different from Indian curries. As are curries from Thailand and other countries. There is no standard 'curry'. There are just different variations of curry.

If Coco serves their standard Japanese curry, they'll be out of business fairly quickly.

Maybe maybe not. While I prefer Indian curries, I enjoy Japanese curry. It may be that many Indians like the difference. I wonder how Thai restaurants do in India.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Indians laugh at what the Japanese call "curry". If Coco serves their standard Japanese curry, they'll be out of business fairly quickly.

Personally, I love it, and prefer it to Indian curry. Especially the "mild" type. (I'm a wuss when it comes to spicy food.)

4 ( +7 / -3 )

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