Wendy’s Opens First Restaurant in Japan

Quick service restaurant Wendy’s (NYSE:WEN) opened its very first branch in Japan on Tuesday, kicking off a planned national rollout of the restaurants over the next few years.

The Wendy’s opening in Tokyo’s Omotesando area marks the first of an estimated 100 expected to pop up around the country over the next five years.

The U.S. company estimates the long-term market potential to be about 700 restaurants.

Wendy’s Japan was established earlier this year as a joint venture between Wendy’s and Higa Industries. Ernest Higa, CEO of the joint venture, successfully owned and operated 180 Domino’s Pizza stores in Japan before selling the business in February 2010.

“The opening of our first joint venture restaurant in Japan is an important step in our international growth plans, and an expression of our confidence in the bright future of Japan,” Wendy’s International president Darrel van Ligten said in a statement.

Higa says Wendy’s in Japan will have its signature made-to-order foods, such as square-beef patty burgers, salads, chili and the Frosty desserts.

He also plans to differentiate the restaurants by adding new menu options catered toward the Japanese market, including the avocado wasabi hamburger and the truffle and Porcini gilled chicken sandwich.