Business is a competitive endeavor. If you and a another company are offering similar products or services, every sale they make is one you don’t.
But that doesn’t mean there’s never room for respect between rivals. Case in point: On Friday, the McDonald’s Showa-dori branch in Tokyo’s Akihabara neighborhood permanently closed down, and it broke the news to passersby by putting up a sign that read:
“Thank you for your 22 years of patronage.
The Akihabara Showadori branch McDonald’s will be permanently closing at 6 p.m. on January 31. Thank you for the past 22 years. We deeply appreciate the customers who supported this branch, and hope you will continue to dine at other McDonald’s locations.”
▼ The goodbye sign
That sort of gesture is pretty common in Japan. But what’s unusual is the sign that went up just a few doors down on the same block…
…where there’s a Burger King.
Burger King’s message reads:
Thank you for 22 happy years.
Our neighbor two buildings over, McDonald’s, will be closing today.
Esteemed rival, and fellow friend who loved Akihabara,
because you were close by, we also could do our best.
Without you here, McDonald’s, thinking of the future fills us with sadness.
Selfish though it is for us to say this, everyone, please go to McDonald’s today.
Challenging ourselves to be as good as McDonald’s has been our goal, so with a smile, we say thank you.
That’s really sweet of Burger King, isn’t it? Sure, the phrasing might be a little stiff, but the sentiment is pure, right?
Not so fast. As pointed out in a reply to a tweet by @sato322, if you take another look at Burger King’s poster, there’s what seems to be a hidden message.
Let’s examine look at the start of each line:
● Our: 私たち
● Esteemed: たかいに良き
● because you were close by: ちかくにいたから
● Without: のいない
● Selfish: 勝手な
● Challenging ourselves:チャレンジャーの私たち
Take the first character of each of those, and you get:
Watashitachi no kachi, which means:
“Victory is ours.”
Granted, it’s possible that Burger King isn’t intentionally trying to rub salt in the McDonald’s branches fatal wounds with a salty sendoff, but if this is all just a coincidence, it’s a massive one.
At the very least, the Burger King poster’s offer to give anyone with a McDonald’s Akihabara Showadori customer receipt a free cup of coffee between not and Feb 6 seems to be OK to take at face value. And while a bit of patting themselves on the back is understandable, McDonald’s would probably like Burger King, and burger fans, to remember that there are still three other McDonald’s branches in the Akihabara vicinity.
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Much prefer BK but usually they are the ones taking an L. Looks like Mickey D's isn't number one everywhere.
Lol as expected. Nothing weird because that is how the culture of Japan works.
My Japanese neighbor says @sato322 is reading too much into that sign, though he did laugh.
In more progressive countries, BK now has the Rebel Whopper. Just saying.
To the person who wrote this article: Why engage in this kind of speculation, when there's nothing to keep you from walking into the Burger King and asking the manager if it's coincidental or not? Or do I have to do it for you the next time I'm in Akihabara?
Dear McDonalds, when you blob your ingredients in a small circle, can’t see yourself to add another pickle for a double burger, basically being chintzy as heck, sayonara.
Does McD's actually have anything good to eat?
The Arches still have the best fries on the planet.
McD’s in Japan is horrible and that goes sadly for their fries most of the time, soggy, too brown, too, too salty, it’s always a hit or miss. As far as Japan is concerned, their burgers are mediocre at best. It may appeal to some people, but if I have to eat at the Golden Arches then I prefer it in the States or Germany where I can get a beer there as well. BK overall has far better quality ingredients not to mention I can make it the way I like it.