fast food

McDonald’s Japan faces largest deficit ever, closing 190 stores and retiring 100 HQ staff

We have said it many times: 2014 was not a good year for McDonald’s in Japan. Ever since being involved in an expired chicken scandal last summer, the Japanese public at large has held a grudge so deep against the restaurant you’d think Ronald himself left a flaming bag of dog poop on everyone’s doorstep and keyed their cars on his way off the premises.

Now as the new fiscal year in Japan begins we can see that this anger wasn’t limited to mere online whining either. Japanese people seem to have united and hit McDonald’s where it hurts most: the bottom line.

In an announcement on 16 April, McDonald’s Holdings Company Japan President Sarah Casanova announced that the company currently sits on the largest deficit ever at a super-sized 38 billion yen (US$319M).

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Paying for nothing: Japanese burger chain’s latest sandwich doesn’t actually have a patty

It’s not unheard of for customers at fast food restaurants to discover that the burger they ordered is either missing one of its ingredients or contains something that they asked to be left out. It’s quite another issue entirely, however, to receive a burger that’s missing its patty and for that order to still be technically correct.

But that’s exactly what wacky Japanese hamburger chain Lotteria has done with its latest creation. Say hello the “No-Shrimp Burger”; a shrimp burger without the shrimp.

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Vegetarian Yoshinoya? We taste test the chain’s new veggie rice bowl

Yoshinoya, Japan’s most ubiquitous domestic fast food chain, is known first and foremost for its beef bowls. So strong is the mental connection between the restaurant and gyudon, as beef bowls are called in Japanese, that Yoshinoya’s nickname among fans is Yoshigyu.

So we were surprised to hear that Yoshinoya’s newest menu item is not only beef-free, but doesn’t contain any meat at all! A vegetarian option at the king of beef bowl restaurants? Not only does it exist, but we’ve tried it.

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Here’s what we got when we ordered the chef’s recommendation…at McDonald’s!

If you’re a foodie who dreams of eating at Michelin and Zagat rated establishments, perhaps you’ve also fantasized about saying to the Maitre d’ at a fancy restaurant, “Can I speak with the chef? I’d like to thank him/her for a superb meal.”  Granted, such a dining situation may not come up very often, but what you may be able to do more easily instead is to order “whatever the chef’ recommends.

And that’s exactly what our RocketNews24 Japan staff decided to do at a series of restaurants, the first one being  none other than…McDonald’s! Now, we’d like to think that all people working in a kitchen, whatever the type of restaurant, actually want to serve tasty food, and to that end would likely have a definite opinion on what they would most like customers to try.  So, asking for the chef’s recommendation should result in a more than satisfying meal, right? Well, we were certainly excited to find out what the recommendation would be at one of the world’s best-known fast food chains!

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Tokyo chain puts french fries on soba noodles, proves dreams really can come true

Ramen burgers. Bulgogi tacos. Cronuts. Sometimes the stars align and the gods see fit to bless the world with visionary new dishes–the kind that make people say, “Is that even possible?” Eventually, those same people end up wondering why no one came up with the concept sooner.

One of our Japanese writers was able to experience the joy of culinary experimentation firsthand during a recent trip to Tokyo’s Nadai Fuji Soba, which is now serving… wait for it… French fry soba! Though at first glance you might think someone spilled their Happy Meal over a plate of noodles, the tasty result is sure to make you a believer.

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We try the new Tokyo Tower Burger from Mos Burger

We brought you news of its coming and now it’s time for us to take on the new Tokyo Tower Burger from much-loved Japanese hamburger chain Mos Burger. With 14 layers of goodness, including chilli sauce and fried onion rings, this promises to be a spicy encounter as well as a heck of a mouthful.

But with Mos Burger known for its relatively small serving sizes, just how big is their latest offering? Come with us as we take you through the burger dedicated to Tokyo Tower, bite by delicious bite.

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Japan’s Mos burger releases inaugural tower burger to celebrate new Tokyo Tower outlet opening

For years, fast food chain Lotteria has reigned supreme as the tried-and-tested purveyor of the loveable monstrosity known as the Tower Burger. Now it’s shouldering up to some heavy competition, as Japan’s most successful home-grown burger franchise, Mos Burger, is set to release a tower burger of their own. And it’s all in celebration of the opening of their newest location at Tokyo Tower.

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Taco Bell to tackle Japanese market–but should we cheer or groan? Our foreign writers reflect

With perennial favorites such as Mos Burger, CoCo Ichibanya, Hotto Motto, and more, Japan has no shortage of tasty casual dining establishments to satisfy any craving. Yet many a foreign resident has surely at one time found himself longing for something more–the kind of guilty satisfaction that can only result from a visit to our favorite not-quite-Mexican joint, the peerless Taco Bell.

According to recent reports, the American fast food chain will soon be reentering the Japanese market, following up on its previous, disastrous, attempt almost three decades ago. Is this the beginning of a Mexican food renaissance in Japan, or simply the beginning of the end? We asked our foreign writers currently residing in Japan for their opinions, which proved to be mixed, to say the least.

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Just like the cherry blossoms, KFC potato chips return to Japan this spring!

Last year, something beautiful came to Japan. It was only here for a short while, but in that time, it left a deep impression on many people, including us here at RocketNews24. And while we were sad to see it go, it’s time to dry our tears, because this spring, it’s coming back again!

So, all excited for cherry blossom season? That’s great, but what we’re actually talking about right here are Kentucky Fried Chicken-flavor potato chips.

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Hawaiian-inspired loco moco and kalua pork burgers coming to McDonald’s Japan

As part of their World Mac Hawaii campaign, McDonald’s Japan will be serving up island-inspired burgers and desserts starting February 10. With flavors taking a cue from popular Hawaiian main dishes such as kalua pork and the famous loco moco, and desserts featuring a tropical flare, these new menu items are sure to put a little sunshine in your cold, snowy Japanese winter.

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We try the new 1,500-yen Kobe beef burger from Lotteria 【Taste Test】

Japanese hamburger chain Lotteria‘s newest luxury burger has finally landed, and it features legendary Kobe beef made from special livestock reared on pure water and premium feed. Kobe beef is of such renown that there are even rumours that cattle from the area are allowed to sip on beer, listen to fine music and enjoy a good massage so that their meat tastes simply divine.

So what would the fast food version of this luxury beef taste like? We were so curious we had to swing by Lotteria to pick up one of the new Kobe beef burgers as soon as they were released. Check out all the delicious details after the jump!

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Burger Decision 2015! Which crazy Lotteria sandwich will you vote for to make a comeback?

Hamburger chain Lotteria has to walk a difficult tightrope. On the one hand, it’s got its reputation as the mad scientist of the Japanese fast food industry to uphold, meaning it needs a sizeable roster of unusual, outlandish, or just plain massive sandwiches on offer. On the other hand, in order to ensure each item has plenty of impact and novelty factor, the chain doesn’t want them hanging around on the menu so long that customers start to get bored with them or take them for granted.

As a result, most of Lotteria’s most interesting items are only available for a limited time, sometimes as short as a single day. But just in case you missed your chance to try one, Lotteria is bringing back just one of its special sandwiches from last year, and its letting fans decide which by tallying the number of Yahoo! searches for each of the candidates.

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KFC’s Double Down evolves into a fried chicken-wrapped hot dog in the Philippines

KFC launched its Double Down menu item in 2010, and after it sunk in that the fast food chain was serious about making a bacon and cheese sandwich with two pieces of fried chicken substituting for the bread, reactions were split between horrified and hungry. All agreed though that the decadent offering was in no way to be mistaken for a healthy dining option, and many commentators declared it the sort of thing that could only have been birthed in response to the extra-gluttonous fast food culture of the U.S.

Except it turns out that Americans aren’t the only ones who occasionally like to go crazy and stuff themselves with as much KFC-cooked meat as their mouths and stomachs can hold. The Double Down was also a sales success in Korea, and this week, KFC launched an evolved version in the Philippines called the Double Down Dog.

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Kobe beef burgers coming to Japanese fast food chain Lotteria

It’s kind of ironic that the hamburger gets saddled with a stigma as the lowest rung of entrées. Sure, it’s a staple of cheap, low-quality fast food chains, but it’s also beef, the highest form of our three most commonly eaten meats, and as such deserves a certain measure of respect.

That goes double for the newest hamburger from Japanese hamburger chain Lotteria, since it’s made with the most respected beef of all: Kobe beef.

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Chinese commenter equates recent anime with fast food–What do you think?

How do you feel about the state of anime nowadays?

That question is likely to draw some strong opinions from our readers. There’s no question that the past few years have produced a number of works critically acclaimed for their innovative plots and characters. But then there are some series that have built up huge fanbases for their…wait, why was that again? As one Chinese anime fan so eloquently put it, it’s almost as if these “mass-produced series” are on par with fast food… 

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A farewell to fries: Twitter users document their last meal of L-size Mcdonald’s potato snacks

As we recently reported, McDonald’s has made the crushing decision to end the sale of its medium and large size fries. The controversial decision was made due to fears of a potato shortage, meaning that the days of gleefully ordering obnoxiously large amounts of fries with reckless abandon are now well and truly over. The potato cull prompted several Twitter users to head to McDonald’s for one last order of M and L size greasy, salty fries, in order to document their “last meal” for posterity.

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Sayonara, spuds! McDonald’s Japan halts sales of medium and large orders of French fries

I’m heading back to the U.S. for a couple of days at the end of the year, and as much as I love Japan, it’ll be nice to spend some time doing things I can’t here. Aside from seeing family and friends, I’m looking forward to watching a college bowl game or two, plus soaking up some warm January sunshine, which tends to be much more plentiful in California than Kanagawa Prefecture.

And as long as I’m making a list of things you can’t do in Japan, I should probably add getting a large batch of French fries at McDonald’s, since, for the time being, the chain will only be selling small sizes of spuds in Japan.

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In Japan, nothing says “Merry Christmas, Baby” like greasy convenience store chicken

We all know that KFC is a big, big deal in Japan around Christmas-time. Families order huge Christmas platters for the holiday and singles celebrate by inviting friends over and bringing home a bucket of Special Recipe.

While it may strike Westerners as a delightfully quirky example of holidays getting lost in translation this side of the Pacific, to the Japanese, it’s a cherished tradition. And, of course, a multi-million dollar cash cow for KFC; one that convenience store chains are always eager to get a piece of.

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Kentucky Fried Café – New KFC in Japan to offer upscale coffee, tea, and sweets

Although I never met the man, Colonel Sanders doesn’t strike me as a hurried individual. Anybody who’s willing to add 11 different seasonings to his fried chicken can see the value in taking the time to appreciate the finer things in life. I like to imagine that rather than rush through his meals, the KFC founder would linger at the table, at least for a few minutes, and when his schedule allowed, for periods extending to “a spell.”

That’s why I think he’d approve of KFC opening its first full-fledged café this month in Japan.

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We go hunting for a fast food venison burger and are not disappointed

Last month, Becker’s, Japan Railway East’s hamburger chain, announced its venison burger, which put us in a bit of a quandary. It’s part of our life’s mission to try every intriguing bun-based sandwich we come across, but could we really bring ourselves to eat something as cute as a deer?

Sure we could!

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