Here
and
Now

kuchikomi

McDonald's Japan wonders where its customers went

103 Comments

It's no secret that McDonald's Japan's business was in the doldrums for most of 2015. Nikkan Gendai (April 2) reports that a number of unprofitable outlets were closed, and revenues nationwide were down to about 70% from their peak.

In Yokohama in January, the Canadian president of McDonald's Japan, Sarah Casanova, attended her first conference of store managers since assuming the company's reins three years ago.

"Like what happened previously to the Daiei supermarket chain, as the scale of McDonald's became bigger, its staffers became arrogant," remarked corporate consultant and author Masaru Komatsuda. "Eiko Harada, the former president, took up the principle of 'genba-shugi,' paying personal visits to outlets all around the country. Once he noticed a counter employee mix up an order, and he explored solutions and wound up changing the position of the shelf to fix it. But Ms Casanova does not appear to have heeded similar advice."

When several reports surfaced from July 2014 about use of expired chicken and foreign objects in the food, moreover, Casanova's efforts at damage control failed to stem customers' estrangement.

But it wasn't so much the revelations of rancid chicken, the writer opines, that spurred McDonald's Japan's decline, which had already begun half a year before the scandal.

Rather, it can be blamed on "structural problems."

"First of all, its meals provide excessive calories," Komatsuda points out. "If you look at a branch located in the suburbs, you can clearly see that as many as half the customers in the store are middle-aged persons. Any business executive seeing this would immediately feel a sense of alarm."

Take two of the most recent additions to its menu: a "Teri-tama Burger" (hamburger patty with teriyaki sauce topped with a fried egg) and the "Grand Big Mac" that super-sizes its predecessor. A set including the former, M-size fries and a café latte comes to 1,157 kilocalories -- considerably more than a "Nami-mori" beef bowl, miso soup and fresh veggies (712 kilocalories) served as a set at Yoshinoya outlets. Mac's offering would be a surefire formula for weight gain, especially for preteens who go there.

There's also the matter of value for money. The set menu items at McDonald's tend to range from 600 to 700 yen levels, with the Teri-tama set priced at 660 yen -- 150 yen higher than the aforementioned set served at Yoshinoya. And while there are three so-called "one coin" (i.e. 500 yen or less) sets on Mac's menu, such as the "Chicken Cheeseburger" set, now that more convenience stores are providing eat-in counters for their inexpensive boxed meals, it's not surprising that budget-conscious customers have been forsaking McDonald's in greater numbers.

Another factor that may have put a damper on the chain's popularity is the perception by customers of its outlets appearing dingy and untidy. Workers paid on an hourly basis are increasingly assigned more tasks, and with a labor shortage looming, they shun tasks such as policing up the restrooms. In the dining areas, discarded refuse is left unattended to.

"At present, we are right in the midst of efforts to boost our QSC (Quality, Service and Cleanliness)," a McDonald's Japan spokesperson told Nikkan Gendai, citing three of the four benchmarks of the company philosophy (the fourth being Value). "When individual customers leave the premises, we've been instructing shop staff to make the rounds and clean up."

The good news from the company is that from December of last year, business data indicates that Makudo appears to be recovering somewhat. While the number of customers visiting the golden arches last December showed a decline of 2.6 percentage points from Dec. 2014, sales revenues and expenditures per customer both posted gains, of 5.4 and 11.0 points respectively. And figures of all three benchmarks showed gains in January and February.

The ultimate question may be: will the latent brand marketing power that Makudo has built up in Japan over the past 45 years manage to effect a comeback? Whatever else one might think, the writer concedes that its new Teri-tama burger was actually pretty tasty.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

103 Comments
Login to comment

Or the head of Mac in Japan didn't bow when apologizing for the chicken nugget problem and the people didnt think she was sincere in her apology and started finding other reasons to complain about the business.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

In Yokohama in January, the Canadian president of McDonald’s Japan, Sarah Casanova, attended her first conference of store managers since her assuming the company’s reins three years ago.

Sales are down 70% from peak and she finally after 3 years decides to have a meeting with store managers. A real president at even 2-5% down would have been worried and tried solutions to fix. =Management meetings every month and serious ones every quarter. Your store in trouble = I am there.

Why not have noodles on the menu? Why the resistance to Japanese type foods? Better seasonal/regional food changes.

15 ( +17 / -2 )

McDonald's Japan wonders where its customers went

To the hospital to have bypasses, to the pharmacy to have their statin prescriptions refilled, to the gym to work off those excessive calories...

17 ( +19 / -2 )

Its just processed rubbish anyway! Heavy in calories & sat fats and low in nutritional value..

10 ( +13 / -3 )

Word, Badsey. From what I have seen on TV here. Casanova has been more worried about innovation than with the supply chain. ie she likes making new products, but doesn't follow through when it comes to making sure the logistics of her business are sound. McD's appeal has been consistent, if not low quality. They over the years, always maintained a certain level and always made sure all their restaurants lived up to those expectations. She had other priorities, and now the company and franchisees are paying for it.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

badsey3APR. 06, 2016 - 07:40AM JST Why not have noodles on the menu? Why the resistance to Japanese type foods? Better seasonal/regional food changes.

At a guess, I'd guess it either relates to supply chain issues (Mac needs everything to be uniform in such massive quantities that it's hard to introduce radically different menu items) or something similar related to infrastructure (like that most Macs might not actually have facilities in-store for boiling, for example). MacDonald's is like a factory.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Why would anyone want to go to the Japanese Miki D's? Quality is poor, the Japanese versions usually don't use beef, but a miserably sad slab of breakfast pork patty. A hamburger isn't a hamburger if it doesn't have a meat patty. Another problem with them is that, they fry their burgers and grilling always makes a better burger. As long as the Japanese Miki D's uses inferior quality products and sadly poor menus and adding more varieties to their menus, the company will eventually start to go the way of the dinosaurs.

http://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en/food/full_menu/full_menu_explorer.html

Not saying that the US is a great, but they do offer some other alternatives like their chicken sandwiches or their salads and baked apple pies and yogurt and a tastier menu generally speaking.

-3 ( +10 / -13 )

McDonald's Japan wonders where its customers went

. . . . like I said the other day

Isn't everyone tired of McD's? I'm all for a good burger, dnt get me wrong, just not frm McD.

. . . . Where the FUN is:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boZm9Q2U9S4

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Haven't been to a mac in a long long time but I have to admit I do miss their french fries.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I live in Japan and love my local McDonald's, which I visit several mornings a week. I am not a fan of the food and never eat anything (If it's a burger I need, I go down the street to Burger King). My McDonald's is also a McCafe, and that's the attraction for me. I am a coffee addict. McCafe has yummy coffee more reasonably priced than Starbucks. It's my coffee hangout. The staff know me and treat me very well. They've spoiled me rotten. Love Mc D.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

My McDonald's is also a McCafe, and that's the attraction for me. I am a coffee addict. McCafe has yummy coffee more reasonably priced than Starbucks. It's my coffee hangout.

Mac coffee is cheap, but "yummy"? You should check out the amazing coffee scene this country has to offer! And I am not talking about smoky kissaten with bad coffee.

Here, for starters:http://lifeandthyme.com/coffee/art-coffee-culture-tokyo/

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Its just processed rubbish anyway! Heavy in calories & sat fats and low in nutritional value.." I agree 100%, so who really cares?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

McD's stock price is artificially inflated... their quality, the stuff of fairy tale legend, smoke and mirrors successful applique on the weak minded. The problem has always been, and always will be; quality. I sold away shares in the company and have no remorse. In Amerika, McD's workers will soon be making $15 an hour... prices will rise. Rest assured this will, in NO WAY, improve quality of service in ANY such industry, and serve workers to feel privileged. The company is in denial... The people have woken from their slumber.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

If you're eating McDonald's in Japan on a regular basis then you are seriously missing out on all the great food that Japan has to offer. I ate McDonald a total of three times in Japan and that was for breakfast. In comparison with the typically restaurants and fast food in America, the most unhealthiest food you could get Japan is probably eating at family restaurants. Damn I wish they had those kinds of restaurants in US with all the amenities and everything.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

after surfing at shonan recently had a nice egg mcmuffin breakfast with coffee for about 400 yen. that is a good deal. however, i don't eat the other stuff as even at my age I will get a pimple outbreak from the additives and sodium. go at most 2-3 times per year.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

McD's in Japan is stuck in the 80s. The interiors look so disheveled and tired and the selection on the menu is pretty limited. I stopped off at my local McD's in my hometown a few years ago and immediately saw why it's failing in Japan. The interior was very different. It resembled an inner city cafe more than a standard McD's. The menu had changed a lot too. For better or worse McD's overseas have tried to add more "quality" options with the Angus burger and the like. I remember McD's were having a bit of an identity crisis in the early 2000s before I came to Japan and it looks as if they've tried hard to address that overseas, whereas McD's Japan clearly hasn't. Also, drop the ridiculous gimmick burgers McD's Japan! They look and sound foul most of the time.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Outdated - from the decor to the menu. No healthier options (back home you can get salads, wraps - you name it). Relatively expensive price. Quality not great - they don't even use real bacon on the McMuffin!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Personally, I have fond memories of McDonald's from my 1970s childhood and still eat there occasionally, but these days I often hear people comment on how they loathe McDonald's not just because of its unhealthy food, but more because of what it has come to symbolize. This is happening in developed countries worldwide, not only in Japan.

There has been a growing backlash among citizens of all developed nations against greed and exploitation among corporations and the 1%, and people are focusing much of their rage on McDonald's. In the U.S., tactics it uses to avoid paying livable wages and benefits have made it one of the most conspicuous symbols of that greed and exploitation, and as a result its reputation has taken a big hit.

Here is one striking example in my life of this grass-roots backlash against McDonald's in Japan. One of my child's social studies teachers in a Japanese school regularly devotes class time what he sees as the evils of McDonald's. He even showed the class at least one video on how McNuggets are made, and as a result my child now refuses to eat them.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Also, drop the ridiculous gimmick burgers McD's Japan!

Ohhh- tell me about it ! A BBQ Brazil Burger? That hideous black-bun Halloween burger? ....wtf-

2 ( +3 / -1 )

McDonald's Japan wonders where its customers went

Well, if McDonalds actually served food it might help. I often see families eating McRubbish and the parents should be charged with child abuse for poisoning their kids. It's not food!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

McD should stop the gimmick products and work on the taste and quality of its main food product line, all those burger lovers probably went to other places to eat their favorite food. Also there is no point to compare burgers with beef bowl to explain why McD has less customers, if you want to eat a beef bowl of something you sure are not going to MacD anyway.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This article is confusing because it suggests there has been a mass exodus of customers and tries to back it up by saying revenues are down 70%. That's revenues down 70%, not sales. Revenues is dependent on costs, not least for a company selling imported food in a country with a falling currency. I read in one of the Japanese weeklies that revenues are also majorly down at 100 yen sushi, but the main factor there is the cost of fish. They have been trying to counter this by getting people to eat mini bowls of noodles, french fries, and introducing more and more premium sushi where one piece costs close to 200 yen. Competition between the different sushi chains and with other family restaurants is also fierce.

fwiw, a standard McDonalds burger is only about 42g of beef (see the Serious Eats blog). So a Big Mac with two of them has much less beef than a quarter pounder at a proper burger place or 120g hamburg steak, a staple dish at a Japanese family restaurant. McDonalds beef is not juicy and tasteless, so it is probably pretty low on the calories side. There are plenty of fattening foods at other eateries in Japan. The Coco Ichiban katsu curry at 1,500 calories for starters.

I quite like a sausage egg muffin now and then but the rest of their food is mostly tasteless and probably overpriced. For guilty pleasures, the chocolate fudge shake at Mr Donuts absolutely destroys the ones at McDonalds.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

There's nothing worth eating at Macd. And there's hair, teeth, and nails in the food. As well as plastic. I haven't been there in three years and not often before that. Just thinking of that place turns my stomach.

Now Mos Burger is nice. All the food is made right there in the shop. 1 person prepares the sandwich. Not a hundred people over a few months time. And no yoga mat chemical in the bread to make it rise faster so they can save money on baking.

Macd is just disgusting.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The last few times I went there I got a big mac tanpin de. Well, they were never hot enough, so brought one back to the counter with one bite from it and asked why. They bowed and took it to the back and said wait at your table. They brought it back after they microwaved the crap out of it and it was so freekin hot it was ridiculous. I brought it back to the manager and told him to touch it. I was not going to eat it. I took a picture of it on their counter and forwarded it the head office. No response. Sucks.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Now Mos Burger is nice

gross! McD's is not better than MosB, but both are disgusting.

Nice post kohakuebisu, but hamburger steaks are mixed with pork, right? I'm glad to hear revenues are down. Not even the McD's in the States gets it right. A blob of crap in the center. This is what happens when food is reduced to sustenance and not taste. Good riddance.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Japan's McDonald's customers wonder where the real food went.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

McDonald's Japan wonders where its customers went

Hmmm let me see.... I would hazard a guess that they went to places that serve better food. Genius I know.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Oh man do I want to comment on the demographic attributes of this new president, but....

Such a drop is grounds for immediate replacement, especially given she has show such a small amount of cultural understanding.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Bring in all day breakfast - problem solved!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I stopped eating McDonalds for the most part because it's not good for your health, but as far as taste goes, McDonald's fries are my favorite, and I truly love a big mac. Double cheeseburgers are pretty good too.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Fizzbit: Some places do a 100% beef hamburg steak, the one at Cocos with the little hot stone to cook it on is, but yeah, there is a weird belief among some people that pork/beef mixed mince is best. I can't buy 100% beef mince in most local supermarkets. I have to get it at Costco. I live in Nagano, and all the ex Kansai Japanese round here moan about the lack of beef in the supermarket. Kansai people generally call those Chinese buns butaman, not nikuman. For them, "niku" defaults to "beef".

They were queuing out the door of Japanese McDonalds not so long ago when they did that Yokkai Watch tie up, which suggests a lot of parents are prepared to forego any concern about the scandals or the nutrition in the food so long as Hinata kun gets his calendar or toy or whatever it was. Happy kids make happy parents.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I think blaming the decline solely on unhealthy food is somewhat unconvincing since there's no evidence that people have made a dramatic shift to healthier food over the past 6 years. Don't forget that McDonalds Japan record breaking sales in 2010. What happened in those 5-6 years? It seems like people are still buying unhealthy food but they're just going elsewhere.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2010/04/10/business/record-sales-at-mcdonalds/

From a business perspective, I wonder if part of the problem might be the restaurants themselves. Traditionally I think McDonalds has always been a place that appealed to families and particularly children. I think most of us have nostalgic childhood memories of McDonalds even if our palates are now more sophisticated. However, if you look at the restaurants today, most of them have been renovated into sleek, modern, very adult looking 'cafes'. Ronald McDonald, the Hamburglar, Grimace are nowhere to be found. I think the mistake McDonalds has made is trying (and failing) to attract more sophisticated Starbucks customers but at the same time alienating their traditional customers and squandering alot of the goodwill and nostalgia that still exists for their brand.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

McDonald's Japan wonders where its customers went

Doesn't matter. They originated in San Bernardino, CA. (a real hell-hole) Who'd a thought they'd get this far? Over 40 billion served daily, Go figure-

2 ( +4 / -2 )

food that leads to death should be avoided.... thats what most products at mc do are!!! chemicals that hook you on the stuff plus a perfect brain manipulation on kids by giving cute toys... hope they will be heading to the courts in the future...

1 ( +4 / -3 )

hope they will be heading to the courts in the future...

For what? Nobody is being forced to eat Mc Donald's Japan.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Sarah Casanova- serve salads and wraps. Healthier choices like grilled chicken like in the US.

Your just catering to young people. Japan Mac downfall. It's called demographics.

My favorite is the grilled chicken wrap.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

died of heart attack or unable to get out of house because of obesity ?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

They just need to look at what is being sold by McD in Australia, Thailand, Netherlands, etc. Really tasty, really nice food.

My partner (Japanese) never ever eats McD's; but I took her there is Australia and she said she would go back again...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Who can blame for former customers? McD's is disgusting in taste. It was far superior in taste back in like the 1990's but since then the taste of its food has become awkward. I do not eat there any more and have not ate from their for at least 7 years.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

My biggest complaint about McDonalds is that when you buy a McFlurry, they only fill it up 2/3 of the way, and the middle is hollow. So you end up getting about 1/2 the icecream that could actually fit in the cup. It's essentially bait and switch. Although I stopped taking the bait long ago.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I am a guy with a big appetite,who loves fast food which should make me a good customer for McDs. But, it takes me 800 to 900 yen to feel full. I can do much better at other restaurants. I hardly ever eat there anymore.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

McDonald's Japan wonders where its customers went

Have you checked Shake Shack?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

like most kuchikomi articles, they throw around a bunch of figures , add in a few non sequitors, and mix it with some nameless sources and bada-bing you got yourself clickbait. anyone who has lived in japan for the past year know that the only reason for the steep drop off was the food contamination scare. but prior to that, sales and customers had been on a steady decline. hence the addition of casonova three years ago. just now mc'ds is recovering, but they will never have the customer numbers that they had prior to the food scare because the FF industry is stuck in a rut here and in many other countries.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Agree with Leig and Brad, McDonalds Japan needs to emulate what eg. Australia is providing. New store designs and interiors, new menus with healthier options, burger customization, reasonably funky looking new style McCafes ....what they are doing with their little tweaks to the menu in Japan is not enough.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I have also stopped eating there. So has many others in my country. The problem in my eyes is that the food is just uninteresting. There has been no good changes in the menu for many many years. Just about everything tastes exactly the same. I think people jus got tired of it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

After discussing this story with a friend it became clear to me that McDonald's gradual decline here is somewhat representative of Japan's entire post-bubble era economy. McDonald's promise to boost quality, service and cleanliness isn't necessarily a bad idea, it's just not the root of the problem. Essentially they're saying they're going to work harder. I'm no economist, but if my time in this country has taught me anything, it's that when faced with a problem the promise to work harder and throw more man-hours at it is the most popular response from Japanese companies and organisations. If working hard was the legitimate answer to all economic problems, Japan ( and McDonald's here ) wouldn't continue to see their economy slip in world rankings. It's going to take a new approach and innovation for McD's to get out of their funk, but that's not something I've seen a lot of from businesses in my 13 years here.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Ohh McD's Japan was run by a Canadian! If you're a Canadian like me and understand what customer service is like in Canada, this is no surprise.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

like most kuchikomi articles, they throw around a bunch of figures... and mix it with some nameless sources

Nakanoguy@ Which "nameless source" are you referring to? "Author Maseru Komatsuda" or "the McDonald's corporate spokesperson"?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

" “Like what happened previously to the Daiei supermarket chain, as the scale of McDonald’s became bigger, its staffers became arrogant,” remarked corporate consultant and author Masaru Komatsuda. "

So that is supposed to be it? Arrogant staffers? I think they should hire another corporate consultant.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't know about other countries, but in Australia, about half the litter you see on the sides of the highways is McD wrapers and drink containers. I'm thinking that this says more about the demographic that uses McD than the product it's self. Crap food is crap food...just saying.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Infrequent visitor to McDonalds in Japan and I don't go much here either. Can take or leave it to be honest but breakfast is reasonably priced in Japan anyway.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I bet Sarah Casanova don't eat cheeseburgers.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Everyone believes McDonalds and other fast food chains have the worst calories and amount of sodium, but if you believe the ruse that all Japanese food is "healthy" you are bling. A bento easily hits 800 calories for a normal sized on and tenpura don can be just as much if not more than a full mean at mickey Ds...and again, salt in everything.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Billions Served

4 Digested

0 ( +1 / -1 )

so apparently this article is a sort of hidden ad because i got comment about mcd obesity immediately removed...either that or a mod here is one of em mcd a day people.... go eat a cucumber son!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Well one big problem is the langrage eer language barrier and the taste of Japanese mixing just doesn't make good business. McDonalds should stay true to the US concept and keep pushing forward.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Gone eating better food? Business how does it work

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Why, why, why, do I love Filet-O-Fish so much? I eat at least one of those a week. I've tried the fish burgers at all the other places (Burger King, Mosburger, Freshness Burger) but nothing holds a candle to the McD version. What's their secret?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

MacDonalds is baby food for adults, only good to eat after a hard night out on the scag and only if an English breakfast or a curry cannot be found. The anti-emetics they add also stop you throwing it right back up. A win-win.

Other than that, it's foul....

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Good on Japan for resisting to the 'family birthdays at macca' trend. How depressing!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Can't wait 'till Burger King returns to Hiroshima...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I don't know how they do it, but every new item at McDonald's tastes just like everything else they serve - that indefinable Mac taste. They could introduce a Brazilian quinoa and chorizo wrap with Cambodian fermented fish sauce, fresh cilantro and Singapore hot sauce. It would look great.

Yet it would somehow taste like everything else we have ever eaten at McDonald's.

I don't know how they do it.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Get a new CEO would be a start..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

McDonald's was the first burger I ever tasted, it was so delicious. Then I went to the US and was mind blown after realizing that that there are other restaurants that can make burgers (burger isn't some patented food by McDonald's), real juicy meat, not the dry flatten poop patty they serve. I have never been back to McDonald's ever since.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

McDonald's Japan wonders where its customers went

They McDidn't McWant to McEat McRubbish any McMore.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

For me as a kid I wanted to go everyday, when I got older I would go for fast food a couple times a week, sometimes a bit more, by the time I hit 30ish I had come to the conclusion Mcds & others were what I have termed SLOW POISON.

Since I was in Japan by then I ate other stuff & pretty much never went to McDs except for the odd Big Mac attack. And around mid 30s I stopped drinking soda of any kind, now I cant stomach a coke even if laced with about 60% rum, still too nasty.

And when I found out McDs here was serving garbage from China(even though I never ate nuggets)..... man that just made me wanna ralph as I make it a point to avoid any food from China if I can.

McDs the poison is not so slow, its flat out BAD for you, there are now & have been for ages MUCH better fast food options if you need a fix, best to try to wean yourself off it though!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I prefer Moss Burger anyway.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

i like traditional japanese food, more healthy

0 ( +2 / -2 )

why don't they stop the gimmicks, like the Kita No Iitoko Gyutto Burger - which only really has the potatoes and maybe the cheese from Hokkaido. If they are going downhill despite these gimmicks, why do they keep doing them?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I confess I like the breakfasts. But only once a month or so because they're unhealthy and make me feel slightly bad. I also confess I'll have a BK hamburger once every two or three months. Never at the arches. Freshness burger is best, I've found. But burgers seem immoral to me so I try to avoid them more and more. Okonomiyaki is not exactly a low-calorie choice either. Better stick with tofu!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

burgers seem immoral to me

You mean on a vegetarian level? Or on an unhealthy level?

If you mean on an unhealthy level, actually, burgers can be quite good for you. Meat, breads, vegetables, dairy (cheese). When a burger is made with quality ingredients, it's a good round meal. The key words being 'quality ingredients' of course.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I prefer Moss Burger anyway

Me too. Except the burger is not 100% beef,

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Why not have noodles on the menu? Why the resistance to Japanese type foods?

On Japanese specialties, they'd appear completely ridiculous in comparison to competitors.

the sides of the highways is McD wrapers and drink containers. I'm thinking that this says more about the demographic that uses McD than the product it's self.

Not really, it is the concept. They have invented it. You buy 30 to 40 % of food, the rest of wrapping that you immediately throw away. I have always been disgusted by their waste of packaging, even if you put it in a bin and it's recycled. It's unnecessary.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Where they went is not as important as why they went and the "why" is lack of quality.

From service to food, lack of quality has been hurting McDonald's worldwide.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

And this is why Japan is so much smarter than the USA! :)

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Once he noticed a counter employee mix up an order, and he explored solutions and wound up changing the position of the shelf to fix it. But Ms Casanova does not appear to have heeded similar advice

ah yes, blame the foriegner. Ok, there is some cultural disconnect, but how much is Japan to blame here? I mean the menu hasnt changed in like decades, there is the occasional weird made in japan crap option that comes up like the texas burger etc. The fries suck also. What japan does is change up the original and make it japanese, somewhere in that mix the taste etc gets lost. MCD or any other foreign chain taste different abroad, from what Ive seen in Japan they just wave the frozen patties and your served by robotic staff.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I think the best thing McDonalds can do is install Lipitor vending machines at the door

0 ( +0 / -0 )

To answer you Bass.. I am an American living in Japan and I do occasionally go to McDonald's.. I think it is 100% better here in Japan then the U.S. And if you actually check.. The salads in the states are less healthy then some of the burgers! But anyhow.. I live in Nagoya and I have never had any issues with cleanliness or customer service there.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I like their fries the best! Even a Japanese McD's fries are just as good as the ones in USA.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Bring in all day breakfast - problem solved!

It gummed up the kitchen and slowed things down. The franchises don't really want to actually have to cook.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

McD could adopt Mos's approach in treating eat-in customers an extra touch like serving the set in a basket and putting the burgers in a pouch instead of wrappers. It's those little things that gives people that they are eating a meal instead of being fed like an animal. Mos provides drinks in actual glasses and cups, McD and other US based fast food franchises went too far in efficiency and forgot they are serving warm blooded people and not faceless consumers.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I am an American living in Japan and I do occasionally go to McDonald's.. I think it is 100% better here in Japan then the U.S.

one hundred percent disagree. The food is shipped in and not always fresh and prepared differently. KFC also taste crap to me in Japan, and so many new entries into Japan, I believe, fail for these reasons.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Western diets = Western diseases....diabetes, hypertension, cancer and weight gain is on the increase. No different from the US or other Western countries. Eat traditional Japanese food (less the sodium), you'll live a lot longer.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

KFC also taste crap to me in Japan, and so many new entries into Japan, I believe, fail for these reasons.

I think KFC in Japan is much better than KFC in Guam. Mickey D's in Japan is a bit better than in Guam, but I will admit Guam's food portions are a bit larger.

All Mickey D's Japan needs to do is get some popular "talento" to eat there and say that they love the place, and it will be back in the black again.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

*Western diets = Western diseases....diabetes, hypertension, cancer and weight gain is on the increase***

another generalization. Most Japanese exposure to western diet is through very limited imported fast food. Nobody eats that crap daily in the U.S. unless they are in impoverished areas and got hooked on it, which is wrong and criminal. Its just more propaganda about the West. True, the portions there are bigger, more sugar etc, and that should be criminal. The school lunches are unhealthy as well. but ask anyone who was raised on a farm if they eat that crap daily and they will tell you no. The variety of food, as just about anything else, in the U.S. is so vast that its hard to make a generalization like you did thats truth. The healthy aspect of Japanese food, for me, is highly overrated. Rice is all carbo, as is most bento ingredients. All the Japanese fast food chains serve unhealthy food as well. Your just comparing two of the same thing, but one is cheaper with bigger proportions, with the exceptions of beverages, but Japanese consume enough alcohol and smoke to make up for any deficit in that catagory as well.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I like their new vegetarian Mogumogu Mac and their coffee.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I used to love the free coffee refills; I'd buy one cup of coffee on a Monday, and carry the cup around all week, popping in to the Golden Arches any time I was passing, for a free coffee. 100 yen a week for unlimited coffee! Tight? Moi?

All good things come to an end though; had to flee the country when I was rumbled.

And now I feel so guilty that they're going bust because of me (not).

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

McDonalds Japan has a stinginess problem. This results in host of sins: certainly there is a cleanliness problem, especially in older restaurants, and even in newer ones they lack the required number of staff to keep up. I feel the staff are over worked and under paid as well, generally there isn't a problem with the attitude of staff (like there often is in other countries). The food is not high quality enough or healthy enough, it is still full of trans fats for example which have been eliminated from McDonalds in many other countries (what does that say about their attitude to their Japanese customers). When they do get a winning item on the menu they usually soon retire it (I guess because it had ingredients that cost too much). They also have a problem with their prices which are pretty outrageous, especially on drinks and fries. Their social media and IT strategy is also patchy and stingy, they don't have apps for all devices (not even a windows one) and they changed the apps so that the coupons only work for 40 minutes or so, that's not respecting customers. Finally in some new restaurants they have opened a premium counter for premium items, but service there is extremely slow and takes staff away from their duties in the rest of the restaurant which is just silly. Bottom line is that McDonalds Japan overtly cares only about making every last yen it can from customers, there is no long term strategy or respect for customers. BUT if they really had a change of heart they could turn it around, but that probably won't happen until they get into desperate financial trouble and saving the business in the long term becomes more important than making a few extra yen in the current quarter. McDonalds in the US needs to step in and demand McDonalds Japan sort themselves out before they damage the global brand.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yes, the McD car parks are empty. The "customers" are largely high school and junior high school kids doing their homework in an air conditioned environment.

As to where their paying customers went, I would hope they have gone somewhere where they can eat more sensibly.

I can get a bowl of soba and juushi (Okinawan fried rice) for 500 yen.

Delicious, filling and lasts until dinner time.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The fries suck also. What japan does is change up the original and make it japanese, somewhere in that mix the taste etc gets lost

Original McDonald's French fries were fried in lard (Omega 3, beef fat). They changed to soybean/cottonseed (inflammatory Omega 6) oil I think in the 80's for "health reasons." Before you buy French fries now I would ask when was the last time the frying oil was changed (Omega 6 oxidizes with heat vs lard that does not). Eating old, high heat, highly oxidized, inflammatory Omega 6 oil is dangerous in my opinion = people should not be eating food with these dangerous fats.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

McDonalds and Coca Cola appear to be two of the absolute worst foods bestowed on the world by the US. We need to shut these down like cigarette smoking.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

itsmeagainAPR. 08, 2016 - 07:00AM JST McDonalds and Coca Cola appear to be two of the absolute worst foods bestowed on the world by the US. We need to shut these down like cigarette smoking.

I wish people would stop with make the food "healthier". McDonald's is not known for healthy food. It never has been nor will it ever be known for that. I have never met anyone who has said to me, I'm going to McDonald's for a salad. Their "healthier" menu only makes up around 2% of their sales (you can find that statistic online). They need to drop that part of their menu altogether and just stick with their original, core menu. Make it tastier and a little less salty. Customer Service is key to their success. I only go to McDonald's few times a year but when I do go, I want their Big Mac and Fries. I want to make sure I have all that unhealthy food in me.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Their executives should go eat at Wendy's or Burger King. Much better.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

McDonald's Japan wonders where its customers went

Went through the drive-thru yesterday. Was about 13:15 and had to wait about 6 cars. Seemed to me like the customers were there.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Not happy to hear blaming the workers! The Maccas in Minoh is straight out of the 1970's.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There's plenty of alternatives to Mickey Dees: Shake Shack, Burger King, Mos Burger, Freshness Burger, and others. Not the healthiest food out there for sure, but the occasional diversion from the usual ramen, sushi, gyudon, etc. doesn't hurt. Now if only In-n-Out and Five Guys would open here.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Since late February, I've been following (generally) a paleo diet and attending a P90X-based gym five times a week.. For lunch I have a double quarter pounder with cheese (for the protein) and a diet soda. After the initial water loss drop and then plateau, I've lost an additional 4 pounds in just over a month. I miss the fries, but sacrifices MUST be made in the name of progress.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Fadamor As coprolites show, contra inuit and tribal cultures that remain today (which are only seemingly paelo) real paelo peoples for tens of thousands of years prior to the recent agricultural revolution were poor at catching game other than shellfish, probably scavenged fast predictor kills in groups, most of the time ate the occasional frog, mouse ot beetle but in the main vast quantities of vegetable matter (when in season fruits). They were so hungry they ate bark and grasses too. Vegetable matter fills you up and has few calories. But you won't get a real paleo diet at MacDonald's. The vegetarian Mogumogu Mac has been discontinued! It is a real shame. Japanese love vegetables and that may be why they are giving MacDonald's a miss.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Mos Burger chips (French Fries) are much better. Expensive but quality and easier to get than traveling to Belgium or Northern France.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

the same thing is happening to Costco japan except worse. costco has a canadian manager, raised their prices in some cases 400% from 4 years ago. japan stores have lowered their prices. management is stale and has no idea what is going on.

the same thing also is happening to uniglo japan.

mcdonalds better get it together before its too late. they also need to close a lot more stores. some stores only a few hundred meters away from each other. they dont have the drive throughs where needed. they need some new mgmt.

who will go out of business first, costco, uniglo, or the big mac?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Good. McDonald's is one of America's worst exports and the Japanese will only benefit from its collapse in their country.

Keep up the good work.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Where did the customers go? The answer is simple. You cannot buy a simple cheeseburger or hamburger unless you order a kids meal. You have to buy a burger that must have 10,0000 calories instead. Stopped going the day that happened.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Where did the customers go? The answer is simple. You cannot buy a simple cheeseburger or hamburger unless you order a kids meal.

Sure you can. When I go to McDs, while rare, more often than not the only thing I order is a cheeseburger.

You have to buy a burger that must have 10,0000 calories instead.

I don't think any McDs burgers have that many calories.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites