Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Ltd (DPE), the largest franchisee of Domino’s outside the United States, is celebrating the grand opening of its 1,000th restaurant in Japan. This milestone officially establishes Japan as the primary market for the group in terms of the number of restaurants.
The occasion was marked today at the Koto Furuishiba restaurant in Tokyo, with the presence of DPE Group CEO and Managing Director Don Meij, APAC CEO Josh Kilimnik, Domino’s Pizza Japan CEO Martin Steenks, and esteemed guest Ernest M Higa, the founder of Domino’s Pizza Japan, who all participated in the official ribbon-cutting ceremony.
DPE initially acquired a controlling interest in Domino’s Pizza Japan in 2013. According to Meij, this acquisition was viewed as a daring step back then, given that pizza in Japan was predominantly perceived as a premium dining option reserved for holidays and special events, rather than a choice for individual or routine consumption.
“We knew Japan was an opportunity like no other, but pizza purchasing behaviour was quite different to our other markets. At the time, Domino’s only operated in 17 of Japan’s 47 prefectures and only 43 of its 259 stores were franchised. We could see we had extremely experienced operators, but without the means to grow,” Meij said.
Meij stated that DPE successfully harnessed its operational, franchising, and marketing proficiency to tap into the nation’s potential. Simultaneously, they crafted a tailored local strategy aimed at delivering an authentic Japanese customer experience.
In 2018, Domino’s had grown its presence to 550 stores in Japan, which then surged to 900 by the end of the following year. Just a little over 18 months later, they achieved the significant milestone of 1,000 stores.
Domino’s currently has a presence in all 47 prefectures in Japan and holds the distinction of being the largest pizza chain in more than half of them, specifically in 30 of these regions, in terms of store count.