Wendy’s is beginning to execute on its plans to target international expansion and growth by re-entering Japan with an estimated $200 million investment — and the launch of a $16 foie gras and truffle burger. The burger will be served at Wendy’s in Omotesando, Tokyo’s luxury shopping district, and will be the first of a targeted 100 shops.
The launch is notable for what it indicates of Wendy’s business plans — seeking international growth and expansion to mitigate losses across 6 of its last 8 quarters — and to expand beyond its dependence on a mature US fast food market (the US account for 92% of Wendy’s business).
It’s also notable for reflecting a unique, localized approach to re-entering an international market with nuanced tastes, demographics and strong competition. According to one analyst, Japan is an aging market with more single people who want pre-prepared meals. Because restaurants are too expensive, fast food provides a viable solution. However, Wendy’s foie gras burger will enter a competitive ‘luxury fast food’ niche – there is also a $23 Matsuzaka burger from Lotteria to contend with.