In what has to be some of the saddest news I’ve heard in a while, fast-food consumption is on the rise in Japan. In and of itself, that’s not actually the sad part. It’s the reason why it’s growing that’s a little disheartening.
Fast-food joints such as McDonald’s are the only restaurants that accept single diners, Bloomberg News reports. And, according to consumer trends research firm NPD Group, single-person households are on the rise. “The only restaurants available to single parties are fast food,” an NPD analyst told Bloomberg. “McDonald’s has a counter where single diners can go and hook up their PCs and just browse on the web.”
Put those two facts together and the fortunes of fast-food chains look good. Fast food is the only restaurant category to improve in Japan last year. The chains, such as McDonald’s and those owned by local company Zensho, are seeing their stocks appreciate as a result.
Perhaps one of the other reasons McDonald’s is doing well in Japan is its well-trained crew. If you missed the news back in March, the chain has partnered with Nintendo to train its staff on the video game maker’s DSi portable console. The fast-food chain is spending more than $2 million on the devices and custom-built games, which train crew how to make burgers, clean restaurants and so on.
It’s yet another way in which fast-food companies are similar to the military. You may remember reading the news here about how the U.S. military is using Microsoft’s Project Natal system – now known officially as “Kinect” – for research and training purposes.