McDonald’s to start coffee chain in Japan

TOKYO, July 12, 2007 (AFP) – McDonald’s said Thursday it will launch a chain of coffeeshops in Japan, hoping to tap into the country’s growing love of coffee but at lower prices than rivals. The Japanese unit of the global burger empire said it will open 15 “McCafes” in the Tokyo region next month and hoped to set up more from the next financial year.

McDonald’s, which was the pioneering fast food chain in Japan in the 1970s, said the new project was aimed at drawing people to “fast casual cafes.”

“With the menu priced at levels at which customers feel they can save money, we will build coffeeshops not only for one person or a few people, but also for families,” McDonald’s Japan said in a statement.

Japan, traditionally a nation of green tea drinkers, has seen a rapid rise in coffeeshops since US giant Starbucks opened the chain’s first store outside of North America in Tokyo in 1996.

Several coffeeshop chains are now competing in Japan including Starbucks, fellow Seattle company Tully’s Coffee and several local franchises. .