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This is a common site in France whenever they open a new McDonald's. People in Japan don't seem to mind American franchises as much, so I'm not sure what happened here.
As a follow-up to my last article about Japanese retailers, I thought I'd take a look at another big chain store that has always puzzled me. Like many of my fellow gaijin, I'm very fond of the fast food chain Mister Donut. They aren't quite up to par with Krispy Kreme Donuts, but their donuts are still very oishi and full of sugary goodness. One annoyance is that unlike donut shops back home that are normally 24/7, Mister Donut usually closes at 8 or 9, just like most gas stations, ATM's, McDonald's restaurants and just about everything else in Japan.
I don't think I've ever seen a Mister Donut before coming to Japan, though I always felt since coming here like maybe I had seen it somewhere before. Mister Donut is by far the biggest donut franchise in Japan. In fact I'm not sure if there even are any other competitors. The impression that you get when walking into a Mister Donut in Japan is that it's part of some huge American chain, yet I'd never seen a Mister Donut in Canada or the States as far as I can remember. Inside any Mister Donut, you'll see hanging on the wall a picture of this guy:
I always wondered if he was for real, or some Colonel Sanders wannabee character they made up to try to give the chain some much desired American cred. Well I once again did a little research and here's what I dug up...
Mister Donut start out in 1955 in Boston, Massachusetts. A year later the two brothers-in-law that founded it, Bill Rosenberg and Harry Winouker, broke off their partnership, each to begin their own chain of coffee and doughnut shops. Harry founded Mister Donut which grew to 550 shops, while Bill founded Dunkin' Donuts which grew into over 1,800 shops. In 1970 Harry Winouker sold Mister Donut to Minnesota based International Multifoods.
In 1983, Duskin Co. Ltd. of Japan bough the franchising rights for Mister Donut and has since opened over 1000 stores in Japan and hundreds more all over Asia. Duskin still operates the Asian franchises today. They got lots of bad press not too long ago when they were caught selling buns that contained some sort of illegal chemical.
In the 1980's Mister Donut had 558 shops in the United States and Canada and claimed to be number two in the US market after Dunkin'. In 1990 Allied-Lyons plc, which also owns Baskin Robbins, bough both Dunkin Donuts and Mister Donut reuniting them at last. Mister Donut stores were offered the opportunity to convert to Dunkin' Donuts stores if they so wished, and judging from the lack of Mister Donut shops these days back home, most of them must have taken them up on the offer.
So there you have it. Now lets enjoy eating donuts!
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