From today's Nihon Keizai Shimbun I learned that Krispy Kreme has finally found a Japan franchisee!
(Do not assume from this that I regularly read anything so highfalutin as the Nihon Keizai Shimbun. I make no such pretensions. I simply happened to glance over the shoulder of the guy sitting next to me on the train when I briefly woke from my doze this morning.)
Here's a translation of nearly the full article.
Lotte and turn-around specialists Revamp (Tokyo, Minato-ku) have reached an agreement with major U.S. doughnut vendor Krispy Kreme ("KKD," North Carolina) to enter into a franchise agreement and to open donut stores in Japan beginning this winter. Combining Lotte's food-production technology and Revamp's management know-how, they plan to open thirty to fifty stores within five years.
. . . .
KKD uses specialized machines in its stores to provide fresh, hot doughnuts which are so light that they give a feeling that they melt in your mouth and which are its "main seller." There are nearly thirty flavors and in the U.S. they sell for an average of eighty cents. The Japan price will be around 100 yen, about the same level as that of Mr. Donut, Japan's largest doughnut chain, operated by Duskin.
(Sidebar: Apart from the U.S., KKD has opened stores under franchise agreements with local businesses in Canada, the U.K., Australia, Mexico, and Korea. Japan will be the sixth country in which it has opened foreign stores. Its sales in the U.S. are 80 billion yen.)
Lotte and Revamp will obtain recipes and specialized machines from KKD, and will pay royalties to KKD. Cafe spaces will be established inside the stores where coffee and similar products will be sold.
Initially, one or two stores in the Tokyo area will be opened this year. Thereafter, there will be an expansion to train station buildings and shopping centers ("SCs") in major cities nationwide. It is planned that this will occur in conjunction with the Lotteria hamburger chain, which Lotte and Revamp are rebuilding together, and that some Lotteria stores may be set aside as KKDs, while the establishment of joint store with Lotteria in SCs is also being studied.
After Lotteria, this will be Lotte's second experience with a restaurant chain in Japan. Lotte has already launched KKD in Korea, but has decided to work together with Revamp, which has considerable knowledge of the consumer market in Japan.
You may have heard of Lotte because of their baseball team, the Chiba Lotte Marines, or because of their candy products, like Green Gum. Lotteria (whose name comes from combining the words "Lotte" and "cafeteria") serves some pretty lifeless hamburgers and stands out in my mind mostly for their endless attempts to make their soggy french fries more interesting. For years, they would try to sell you a "shaking bag" full of flavored powder. The idea was that you would put your fries in it and shake them around to add the flavor to them. I seem to remember that the flavors included things like wasabi, pickled plum, and curry. Now their new thing is "dip potato" flavored dips for your fries. The flavors include cream onion, honey mustard, and barbecue.