Oh, Ronald! Where did it all go so wrong!?
McDonald’s Japan, a frequent guest on our pages thanks to its exciting promotional campaigns and stories about kids trying to eat almost their bodyweight in fries, yesterday announced that it is to close 100 stores across the country.
The move comes as a surprise to many since the fast food champion reported strong sales figures last year despite most businesses feeling the effects of the 11 March earthquake and resulting nuclear crisis.
The company is, however, hoping that the expansion of its home delivery service will fill the gaps left by their closed stores, and plans to more than quadruple the number of stores that will deliver delicious, greasy treats to your door.
“Despite the launch of new and better value menus, we have seen a decrease in sales as, in the current financial climate, dine out less frequently in an effort to economize,” the company said in a statement yesterday.
“For this reason, we have decided to close the 110 least well performing restaurants as of the beginning of 2013. However, due to increasing demand for the service, we aim to increase the number of restaurants offering home delivery service from 17 to 250, which we are confident will revive sales.”
McDonald’s Japan posted figures showing that, from January to September, sales in some stores had fallen by as much as 2.9% compared to the same period last year, with a loss of 17.8% in total operating profits.
Home delivery of McDonald’s fast food remains in its relative infancy in Japan, with few of the people we spoke with having ever ordered hamburgers from their homes. While KFC, Domino’s Pizza and Japan’s own Pizza LA (pronounced piza raa, not piza L.A., as I mistakenly once called it, much to the amusement of my Japanese friends…) delivery bikes have become a common sight on inner-city roads, McDonald’s own scooters remain something of a novelty.
But what did Japan think of the news that they could soon be chomping on a Big Mac without having to set foot outdoors?
“No thank you.”
“Are you stupid? If I want delivery I’ll get pizza!”
“Shut-in life just got that little bit easier…”
“Never mind that! Bring back the McPork!”
“I don’t eat that stuff anyway- the oil they use is apparently carcinogenic”
…So, um, not so well then?
For many, though, the news of home delivery means nothing; they still haven’t gotten over McDonald’s recent decision to remove menus from the counters of its restaurants…
“Home delivery? Pffft. First bring the menus back.”
“First they remove the menus, now they’re closing stores. Kaboom. Mickey D’s is dead.”
“If I’m gonna order over the phone, I’m going to need a- yup- menu!”
Come on, guys, let it go; the menus are gone…
McDonald’s aims to have 250 stores McLivering food by the end of the year, with the possibility of making the service available in every one of its 1500 branches in the near future. Delivery costs 300 yen, available on orders over 1,500 yen (US$18)…