KFC Is Having A Hard Time In Japan 

Photo: Ian Muttoo, Flickr

For decades, KFC has been a beloved fast food chain in Japan. These days, it seems, things are difficult.

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According to Business Journal, KFC Japan has been posting lower sales on a monthly basis. For example, sales were down 3.1 per cent in June, 4.9 per cent in May and 6.3 per cent in April.

The number of customers also dropped 5.5 per cent in June, 8.1 per cent in May, 8.5 per cent in April. The drop in sales and customers has continued over a nine-month period.

Part of the difficulty, Business Journal explains, is that KFC’s menu isn’t as flexible as other chain restaurants like Mister Doughnut, which now serves pasta and hot dogs. Also, much of KFC’s sales come around Christmas, because in Japan eating Kentucky Fried Chicken is a holiday tradition.

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What the article doesn’t mention is that KFC is also more expensive than many other fast food restaurants. Eight pieces of KFC, plus a small order of fries, a crispy strip, coleslaw and one biscuit costs 2,390 yen ($29.47). Using 100 per cent domestic chicken is pricey, resulting in drumsticks, breasts and wings that simply aren’t as large as imported bird bits.

On popular net forum 2ch, common complaints are that KFC is too expensive, too greasy and not crispy. One commenter added that as Japanese society ages, greasy foods are harder for most people to eat (which isn’t that good of an argument because the country is filled with greasy eats).

The cost, however, seemed to be the biggest sticking point. Even those who said they liked KFC admitted it was too pricey.

“Convenience store fried chicken is good enough and cheap,” wrote yet another commenter.

KFC sales have been flat since around 2000, and since the early-to-mid 2000s, the fast-food chain has been facing intense competition from delicious convenience store fried chicken.

In Japan, KFC has sold off its Pizza Hut business, allowing it to focus on its core restaurants. According to Shared Research, revenues are supposed to improve over the course of the next year thanks to new store openings and food items.

If that doesn’t work, maybe KFC can dream up some new seasonal fried chicken traditions? Fried chicken and easter eggs? Halloween fried chicken?


    No the real problem is they haven't brought back the Hot Shot shakers for their Popcorn Chicken!

      Japanese kfc is nothing like rest of the world juicy fresh free range chicken crunchy skin no grease i no ausse kfc is gressy as fk to

    Sounds like the same problems KFC has here. Too expensive and too greasy. Except over in Japan they have plenty of tasty and better value alternatives. I also suspect they don't have the quality control issues Aussie stores have. I love pigging out on some KFC once every few months but knowing that it's 50/50 whether it will be any good is a massive turn off.

      This is the big thing for me, I never know if when I go there what I purchase is actually going to be edible or not.

        Our local KFC always seems to stuff up orders with drive through. Its an art form to them it seems.

        Last time we ordered, we asked for a family burger box and an extra zinger (5 of us and the box only comes with 2 twisters and 2 bugers). We got home to find that not only was the extra zinger missing, the box was missing its nuggets. Oddly enough they had inexplicably given us 2 extra large chips and a large gravy.

        I know the feeling all to well... my sister and i love the spicy wings but good grief the consistency is so shit...

        You get the great crispy batch with some kick, then you get a batch thst is just skin with some flour coz they didnt coat the batch right, then you get lovely burned batches witch stayed a tad bit too long in the fryer... but the worst one was when me and my sis bought 2 24 piece boxes... and quickly learned that some branches dont change their oils and got treated to the joys of greasy spicey wings with the full "smokey" flavor of past its used by date tastes like charcoal burnt oil... needless to say most of the 48 pieces went to the trash swiftly followed by a complaint...

        I can only imagine how the hell people put up with their orders from that shop that day... i love me some kfc but bloody hell i think twice when i feel like ordering them because nothing as annoying as getting drive through going home and finding out the kids on roster on the day have half assed the prep or worse...

    If ever I eat a KFC meal, I actually finish it feeling like I’ve physically hurt myself.

    I don't understand how KFC competes with Family Mart. I'm not the biggest fried chicken fan, but Family Mart chicken won me over.

    It probably doesn't help that their chips are totally different and taste awful compared to the kind you get in Aus. Or that their restaurants stink of cigarette smoke :S

    Seriously though, the fried chicken available at places like maxvalu supermarkets and konbini strongly rivals the kfc I've had here in Aus (haven't tried Japanese kfc). And I guess it's cheaper, so I can understand that.

    Every time I have KFC I leave thoroughly disappointed. Burgers are too small and too expensive. Ditch the mash+gravy and give me more chicken!

      Yeah what’s with that instant potato shit? Who in the world thinks that is a nummy treat?

    Who goes to Mister Doughnut for pasta or hot dogs? Crazy Japanese people...

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