The fried chicken industry in Japan is no small fry

What better way to spend Christmas than eating fried chicken and strawberry shortcake? While it may not be exactly traditional from a Westerner’s point of view, that’s the way they do it in Japan, especially if the chicken is from good ol’ American fast food restaurant, Kentucky Fried Chicken. It’s so popular, in fact, that placing orders for Christmas chicken ahead of time is highly recommended, especially if you want a special box, because they might not have any left if you go in on the day.

▼ KFC became the staple Christmas dinner in Japan after their 1974 “Kentucky for Christmas” marketing campaign, and it was still going strong during the time of this commercial in the ’80s.

With it being tradition to eat KFC on Christmas, it’s no wonder that KFC Japan’s sales between December 23 and 25 are calculated to be over 6 billion yen (about US$53 million).

Yes, you read that right: in only three days KFC Japan sold about $53 million worth of fried chicken. That’s the equivalent of about 24 million pieces, enough for every person in Tokyo to have two and a half pieces. Perhaps the only equivalent might be turkey sales during U.S. Thanksgiving, but KFC is a fast food chain, not a whole industry, and Japan is a much smaller country than the U.S., so it’s amazing that a single company could have such high numbers over such a short time span.

This year’s sales are also 1.4 percent more than last year’s, and the highest ever recorded for a Christmas season. The company estimates that it’s because of their promotional campaign, which was composed of a cheery, Christmassy TV commercial featuring a song written exclusively for the campaign by famous songstress Mariya Takeuchi. They also believe it’s because they opened both online and in-store reservations as early as November 1, offering five different Christmas Packs and three different Party Barrels, including chicken that wouldn’t smell too strongly on the train and bother other passengers, so that no one would miss out on the delicious tradition. They sure do have the advantage of variety (and consideration).

The fast food giant’s success at Christmas could also be due to the fact that it’s simply an increasingly popular tradition. What’s Christmas without KFC? Besides, their constant stream of great offers throughout the year, like all-you-can-drink deals for 1,000 yenwholesome deli takeout, and yummy character-inspired desserts may have helped boost their image, making everyone crave KFC every day (like we do now, writing this article). And let’s not forget their delightful KFC seasoning bath salts! (But maybe we’re a little biased on that one…)

▼ Three of the Christmas boxes

Whatever the case, it seems like KFC is doing something right. Somehow they’ve managed to maintain dominance on the fried and grilled chicken market, making them almost the sole provider of a Chicken Christmas. Now if they can only get a handle on the Christmas Cake and New Year’s osechi cuisine market (and it’s not like they haven’t tried the latter), they’ll have total domination of the holiday season.

Source: KFC Holdings, Japan
Top image ©SoraNews24
Insert image: Twitter/@KFC_jp