Mitsubishi Corporation

vol.2 KFC Japan(1/3)

Our Endeavors - The stories behind our business

vol02 KFC Japan Endless Quest for Great Taste and Innovation

While faithfully carrying on the tradition of Colonel Sanders' secret recipe, Kentucky Fried Chicken Japan has shaped the lifestyles of people in Japan by popularizing the custom of eating chicken at Christmas. The company's development has long been driven by a hearty appetite for new challenges and this spirit continues to live on today.

Green Light Given After Four Years of Negotiations

A test store opened at Osaka World Expo in 1970

As a rich source of protein, chicken is now an important part of our diet. While there was once a time when many people in Japan were not very familiar with fried chicken, Kentucky Fried Chicken Japan (KFCJ) has helped to enrich Japan's food culture by establishing fried chicken as a part of the nation's diet. The company has continued to grow while building a broad base of fans that extends across generations, and today, KFCJ operates 1,131stores* nationwide. However, it hasn't always been smooth sailing for the company; in the early years, it was a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs.
Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) and Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) first crossed paths back in the 1960s. At the time, the broiler chicken industry was flourishing in the U.S. and the top buyer of chicken was none other than Colonel Sanders' KFC. Colonel Sanders had achieved great success in the U.S. by franchising his fried chicken restaurants. The answer now seemed clear: "Let's bring KFC to Japan!" In order to secure a license to develop KFC business in Japan, an employee from MC who was in charge of food-related business visited Colonel Sanders many times, and after four years of persistent negotiations, he finally got the nod.
A test store was opened at the Osaka World Expo in March 1970, marking KFC's debut in Japan. The store offered a 350-yen combo meal, consisting of fried chicken, french fries and a roll. It was an instant success, with the store selling some 4,600 meals a day and posting average daily sales of 1.6 million yen. One day, the store even recorded sales of 2.8 million yen. After this successful debut, KFCJ was established in July 1970.

* As of September 30, 2010