Last call for Wendy’s

December 18th, 2009 by Philip Brasor & Masako Tsubuku

All lines lead to Ginza

All lines lead to Ginza

You may have heard that the American fast food chain, Wendy’s, will be closing all 71 of its Japanese outlets on Jan. 1. Zensho, the local company that runs Wendy’s Japan, announced at the beginning of the month that it would not renew its contract with Wendy’s, which runs out Dec. 31. According to J-Cast News, McDonald’s is just too strong in the hamburger biz and Zensho has other chains that it wants to concentrate more resources on, like the gyudon (beef bowl) restaurant Sukiya, udon (noodles) restaurant Nakau, Cocos Japan, and the family restaurant Sunday Sun.

As often happens in situations like this, Wendy’s is suddenly the most popular fast-food chain in the country. Since the announcement was made, all the outlets have reported lines forming even before they open, and then after they open selling out a full day’s worth of their hamburger products by the early afternoon. The Wendy’s at Shin Yurigaoka in Kawasaki told J-Cast that usually by the time dinner rolls around all they have left is chicken sandwiches and fish sandwiches, but other outlets don’t even have those left. After the standard Wendy’s burger, the most popular item is Wendy’s chili, something you can’t get at McD’s. There’s been hundreds of Twitter posts a day from Wendy’s fans reporting on what’s available and what isn’t. “I went to mourn, but everything is sold out except drinks!!!” one micro-blogger reported.

A Zensho PR rep told J-Cast that they read the tweets and will do their best to ship more hamburgers and other items to all the Wendy’s so that everyone can get a last chance to enjoy what they’ve obviously missed since 1980, when the first Wendy’s Japan opened in Ginza.  (Zensho, which was established in 1982, took over Wendy’s Japan in 2006.) And even if they’re shutting down in only two weeks time, they announced two new items on the menu, a bacon demi-glace cheeseburger for ¥680 and a creamy mushroom chicken sandwich for ¥660. They are also going to revive the Super Mega, one of those humongous double burgers, which they originally sold in December 2007 for a limited time. The Super Mega offers 300 grams of “pure beef” and costs ¥550. They’ll start selling it on Dec. 21, obviously for a limited time. You should probably get in line about now.

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2 Responses

  1. I ate at The Worlds first Wendys every week after I returned to Columbus from Japan. When it closed it took a part of me too. I want to return to Japan but without a Wendys it won’t feel any better then home. I invented the Grand Slam burger. 4 quarter pound pattys with cheese and everything on it. One box of napkins. I miss my Wendys. Getting hungry thinking about it. The chili was best taken home and put on rice. Gotta go eat now.

  2. I LOVED Wendy’s in Japan!! WTH?


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