The launch of McDonald's Premium Roast Coffee in Japan
Wednesday February 20th, 2008
The new McDonalds Premium Roast coffee strategy is rolling out. In Tokyo, yesterday consumers had the chance to try the new taste in one of four free sample days that have been planned for Tuesdays in February and March, 2008. According to the promotional flyer, Tuesday 2/19, 2/26, 3/4 and 3/11, between the hours of 14.00 pm - 24.00pm, customers can get a free cup of premium roast coffee by saying the key word when they approach the counter. "Premium roast coffee kudasai".
We tried at our local store and staff were eagerly prepared and ready for our request. The coffee is served in the new look cup and has a new black plastic lid as reported in our post "McDonalds new coffee strategy Japan". The taste is certainly better than the previous coffee and will change the perception of McDonald's coffee in Japan from being a weak to a stronger taste. Japanese consumers can be very sensitive to full or strong taste in western products. For example: western chocolate, jams and ice creams are often too sweet and heavy for many Japanese consumers. Is this the same for coffee as well? Japanese coffee tends to be weak and thin in texture and taste.
Video: McDonald's new Premium Coffee
The strategy is an important step in gaining new customers and keeping them in store. Japanese customers are big coffee consumers and coffee shops play an important role in daily Japanese life as a meeting place for friends, mums and children after school, business men having meetings with local suppliers, sales people preparing presentations on their laptops, high school students doing homework and retirees catching up. The difference between western and Japanese daily life is that it in Japan it is quite acceptable to sit and stay in store a long time which is great for business as the longer a customer stays the more chance they have of buying something else and attracting new customers who see a busy shop as being popular and successful.
The 100 yen price point is smart as it attracts a wide audience, keeps it simple with one coin, (a 100 yen coin) and does away with the extra charge other retailers tend to use, for example: some retailers price an item at 99 cents to which tax of 5 yen is added making the item a total of 104 yen. This is messy and clumsy for retailers and consumers who have to rummage their pockets looking for one yen coins or wait at the cash register as store clerks slowly and carefully count out change. Looks like a winner!
Sources: McDonalds tray mat, letterbox flyer and in store coffee pamphlet McDonalds Japan website, http://www.mcdonalds.co.jp/ February 20th 2008.
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