The legendary California burger joint says it will open its first Japan location in March 2016, to the delight of Tokyo expats and Japanese alike.

The gourmet burger craze is in full swing here in Japan. Most recently, Shake Shack, the New York City institution, opened the doors to its first Tokyo restaurant just a few weeks ago to massive lines of hungry Japanese hoping to get a taste of an authentic American gourmet burger. The chain apparently plans to open an additional nine locations in Japan by 2020, throwing its hat into Japan’s increasingly crowded burger ring.

A mock-up of the first Carl’s Jr. Japan’s interior


And the competition is about to get a lot stiffer starting early next year, now that the legendary California burger chain, Carl’s Jr., has announced its first Japan location in Akihabara, the nerd haven and burgeoning “B Class Gourmet” destination.

If you’re not American, you may have only a vague notion of Carl’s Jr.’s notoriety; but to Americans, Californians especially, the chain has the kind of lizard brain-indulging allure that will surely have Tokyo expats crashing through the walls of the new establishment, Kool-Aid Man-style, in their excitement to get their fix.

Sure, Carl’s Jr. doesn’t quite enjoy the nearly religious fan devotion of its chief West Coast competitor, In-n-Out Burger, but seeing as In-n-Out—as involuntary orgasm inducingly delicious as it may be—is unlikely to open a permanent location in Japan any time soon due to its staunch insistence on keeping things relatively local. That makes Carl’s Jr. the California-origin chain of choice for Japan, and it appears the business is taking the region very seriously: apparently, there are plans to open a whopping 150 total locations in the next ten years, with 70 storefronts planned for the next five years.


In a bold move, it also seems the chain will be making minimal concessions to the tastes of its newest market. That’s partially because Carl’s Jr. already has a policy stateside for making every meal by hand and to order, according to this Reddit AMA, at least, so there was no need to up their standards for the fickle Japanese market in the first place (unlike McDonald’s and a certain Tex-Mex chain). The company apparently also wants to ensure Japanese consumers get the authentic Carl’s Jr. experience, stating they won’t be changing their recipes for the region.

The company will even be keeping its current US slogan, “Eat like you mean it,” for the Japan market, too.

According to reports, menu items will start at about 400 yen (US$3.50 or so), with the more complicated—and, presumably, messy—burgers going for as much as 700 yen a la carte.

Source: Ryutsu Biz
Images: Carl’s Jr. Japan