The Wendy’s Company today announced the grand opening of the first joint venture Wendy’s restaurant in Japan, located in Tokyo’s Omotesando area.
Starting with Tokyo, Wendy’s Japan LLC plans a national rollout of restaurants in the coming years. Wendy’s Japan plans to open approximately 100 Wendy’s restaurants within the next five years and estimates the long-term market potential to be about 700 restaurants.
Wendy’s Japan LLC was established earlier this year as a joint venture between Wendy’s and Higa Industries Co., Ltd.
Ernest Higa, founder of Higa Industries and chief executive officer of the joint venture, successfully owned and operated 180 Domino’s Pizza stores in Japan before selling this business in February 2010. A pioneer of the Japanese home delivery market, Higa’s stores became known for gourmet pizza products and the use of the Internet and wireless technology to promote menu items and enhance the customer ordering experience.
Darrell van Ligten, president, international, for The Wendy’s Company, says, “We are delighted to join with a highly capable partner, Ernie Higa, to bring Wendy’s brand to Japan and rapidly grow our presence in one of the largest quick-service restaurant markets in the world.
“The opening of our first joint venture restaurant in Japan is an important step in our international growth plans, and an expression of our confidence in the bright future of Japan.”
“We are reintroducing to Japan signature Wendy’s products, including made-to-order, premium hamburgers with square beef patties, chicken sandwiches, entrée salads, chili, and popular Frosty desserts,” Higa says.
“At the same time, we’ll further differentiate our restaurants by adding innovative new menu options created exclusively for the Japanese market, including the Avocado Wasabi hamburger and the Truffle and Porcini Grilled Chicken sandwich. Our food will be served in a contemporary, inviting atmosphere that we believe will exceed the discerning expectations of Japanese consumers.”