Struggling to boost profits amid increased competition, McDonald's is adding a new item to its menu in Japan: the shrimp burger.
The ¥270 (US$2.40) burger, shown to reporters yesterday and set to go on sale this month, is the latest effort by the Japan unit of the US fast-food chain to win over Japanese palates -- and spark sales.
McDonald's Japan is also testing other additions, including chicken salad and yogurt.
The hamburger chain with more than 3,700 stores in the world's second largest economy has tried everything from tofu burgers to advertising blitzes to coax diners back to the Golden Arches after the company posted a loss in 2002 amid the mad cow scare.
"Many people who used to come to McDonald's had stopped coming, but they're coming back," said Eikoh Harada, who took over as chief executive last year.
Profits at McDonald's Holdings Co (Japan) Ltd, about 50 percent owned by the US McDonald's Corp, have been gradually recovering since its first loss in 29 years in Japan.
Although McDonald's uses Australian beef unaffected by mad cow disease, the fatal brain-wasting ailment, Japanese consumption of beef -- and Big Macs -- dropped sharply at the time.
Yesterday's news conference, held at a McDonald's in Tokyo, included taste-tests of recent menu offerings such as a grilled chicken sandwich and yogurt with granola -- all a change of pace from the Big Mac.
The shrimp burger developed especially for Japan is a bit similar to the Filet-O-Fish, except it's filled with shrimp.
Harada defended his decision to introduce the ¥100 items, including the cheeseburger, as critical to coaxing people back to McDonald's.
In the US, McDonald's offered 99 cent Big Macs, but the discount menu has shrunk and salads can cost US$5 or more. The new chicken salads in Japan, which aren't offered at all stores, cost ¥450.
Senior Vice President Pat Donahue, Harada's predecessor, who oversees the US-Japan partnership said he had faith in Harada and a solid revival takes time.
"He's clearly turned that decline around," Donahue said. "To permanently turn our business around and have sustained profitable growth requires rebuilding a foundation for our business."
EXTRADITION DEAL? A former prosecutor said that the US Department of Justice might ask Taiwan to extradite the men in return for the US doing something in return The US won arrest warrants for three Taiwanese men — a former president of China-based Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co (福建晉華) and two engineers — charged with stealing secrets from Idaho-based Micron Technology Inc. The effort to apprehend the three men — former Fujian Jinhua president Stephen Chen (陳正坤), and Ho Chien-ting (何建廷) and Wang Yong-ming (王永銘), who work for Taiwan-based United Microelectronics Corp (UMC, 聯電) — is notable because they were charged in 2018 in the first case filed under the “China initiative” of US President Donald Trump’s administration targeting trade-secret theft, hacking and economic espionage. However, legal experts have said
There was a net reduction last year in the number of Taipei residents and this year is expected to set a 23-year high for population decline in the city, Ministry of the Interior statistics released yesterday showed. From January to last month, 18,861 more people moved out of Taipei than moved into the capital, an increase of 7,000 from the same period last year, the data showed. That is a 7.2 percent decrease in the city’s population since the start of the year, the biggest drop in both percentage and total number among all municipalities and counties nationwide, the data showed. The data
COUNCILS CLASH: The Mainland Affairs Council said a new office in Hong Kong is to assist people with issues related to investment, study and employment in Taiwan The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) yesterday denied an accusation by the Hong Kong-Taiwan Economic and Cultural Co-operation and Promotion Council that its Taiwanese counterpart in the territory was “interfering with Hong Kong’s internal affairs.” The Hong Kong council leveled the accusation after Taipei’s Taiwan-Hong Kong Economic and Cultural Co-operation Council this month announced it would establish a Taiwan-Hong Kong Services and Exchanges Office to facilitate humanitarian aid for Hong Kongers. The new office is scheduled to begin operations on Wednesday. The MAC yesterday asked the Hong Kong council to “not misinterpret” the government’s intentions. The two Taiwan-Hong Kong councils were established in 2010 to
IRRESPONSIBLE ATTITUDES? Some experts say the NHI system does not do enough to educate the public, or pay doctors to talk to patients, about healthy lifestyles While the life expectancy of Taiwanese newborns in 2018 reached 80.69 years, the number of years people spent in poor health hit a record high at 8.41 years, Ministry of Health and Welfare statistics showed on Saturday. Healthy life expectancy is calculated by a person’s life expectancy minus the time they spend in ill health, such as the loss of mobility, disabilities and chronic disease, based on medical records and calculations about the years they live with disabilities. The number of years that Taiwanese spend in poor health is increasing slowly, but steadily, rising by 0.46 years, or five-and-a-half months, between 2012