If you were to overlay a map of Japan with the locations of major restaurant and retail chains both domestic and international, the Chugoku region would look like a meteor hit it and Tottori Prefecture would be ground zero.
Tottori was the last prefecture in Japan to have a Starbuck’s open within its borders and still doesn’t have a 7-Eleven or Circle K anywhere. However, their fortunes appear to be changing, because the Australian coffee chain Muzz Buzz will be opening their first drive-through store in Tottori this autumn.
Muzz Buzz has 80 locations across Australia and New Zealand with a focus on fast-yet-safe drive-through service by offering straws even in their hot coffee. They also have windows on either side providing service in a two-way flow. Here’s a promotional video aimed at prospective franchisees showing that even in Australia they use new-age rock and power-point graphics in corporate videos.
Not to rain on Tottori’s parade but there needs to be an asterisk beside them having the first Muzz Buzz in Japan. There actually already is a Muzz Buzz in the Aeon Laketown shopping center in Koshigaya, Saitama. However, that outlet is more of a food court counter, so the Tottori Muzz Buzz will be Japan’s first true drive-through location.
They also plan to develop a menu unique to Japan, offering goods unavailable in Australia.
Hopefully they hang onto the warm pretzels. Those are hard to come by out here. It also appears Muzz Buzz wants to further complicate what fried sticks of potato care called in Japan (fried potato, potato fry, rarely French fries) by referring to them as “potato chips” the term already used in Japan for what some countries call “crisps.”
May the best name win.
It will be interesting to see how successful Tottori will be as a launching pad for Muzz Buzz. There certainly is a marketing advantage by saying “all those other coffee chains think of Tottori last, but to Muzz Buzz, you’re number one!”
▼ Left: Muzz Buzz mascots Muzzly (dog) and Buzzy (cup) / Right: Muzz Buzz outlets also have walk-up service
On the other hand, if Muzz Buzz fails in Japan, the stigma this would lay on the prefecture could be disastrous. In that case they can kiss their chances of ever getting a Pizza Hut goodbye.