Au Bon Pain coming to Japan

It’s like all the best chain stores suddenly found out I was coming to Japan and decided they needed to step up:

Monday, February 26, 2007

U.S. Bakery Chain Au Bon Pain To Enter Japan In Summer

NEW YORK (Nikkei)–U.S. bakery cafe chain operator Au Bon Pain plans to open its first store in Japan this summer under a franchise agreement with Reins International Inc., company sources said.

The cafe will offer such items as bread, sandwiches and coffee. Au Bon Pain aims to increase the number of outlets to 300 in five years.

Reins International, a group company of Rex Holdings Co. (2688) and operator of the Gyu-Kaku chain of grilled beef restaurants, plans to open the first cafe in a Tokyo business district. It will begin introducing outlets in other major cities from next year.

The Boston-based Au Bon Pain operates about 230 cafes in the U.S., mostly in urban areas. It has also begun opening outlets in such Asian economies as Thailand, Taiwan and South Korea.

I’m not a huge fan of this place, but I know MF is. Hey, why not. Hopefully they will have good bagels. I don’t think I can realistically hope it will be cheap since it’s a big ripoff in Washington.

17 thoughts on “Au Bon Pain coming to Japan”

  1. I’m fairly skeptical. There’s nothing that Au Bon Pain would bring to Japan that isn’t here already.

    There’s already a lot of competition for the Au Bon Pain market. From the bakery side, there’s Kobeya Kitchen and others of that ilk.

    From the coffee side, there’s all the usual suspects, (Doutour, Excelsior, Starbucks, Seattle’s Best, Tully’s, etc.)

    If Reins has a hold on key real estate positions, then it’s a different story, but for this kind of business, it’s all about location, location and location.

  2. Gen, there isn’t a single place in all of Kyoto where you can get an even vaguely edible bagel, and also no place where you can get sandwiches like the ones they have. The only place in the entire city I know of where you can actually order sandwiches to order is the ONE Subway franchise underneath Kyoto station, and the ABP sandwich menu is pretty different from that in any case. ABP also has quite a lot of cookies, which for some reason are virtually nonexistent in Japanese bakeries.

    You are spoiled out there in Tokyo.

  3. Looking for proper bagels in Kyoto is like looking for proper sushi in Philadelphia. Not likely to lead to much. MF, you just need to be in a more cosmopolitan city. Even Osaka must have something.

  4. There’s a bagel place in the Hankyu station in Umeda that’s pretty good (I don’t remember the name, it’s on the street heading north if you take the exit at Bigman you should see it on your left) and you can always get bagels (of debatable quality) at the Costco in Amagasaki.

  5. Donuts I can do without, but I’m not sure you fully appreciate how important bagels are to a guy from a family of Brooklyn Jews.

  6. Need I to tell you that I went Krispy Kreme in Shinjyuku for the fourth time in the three month and I am munching one as I type this right now?
    But I still say the doughnut is too sweet for my tastes…

    What about “Bagel&Bagel”
    Do they serve”real”bagels to your Brooklyn jewish taste?

  7. I’ve never heard of that store before, but it says there is one inside the Takashimaya in Kyoto so I’ll try and go there and make a report soon!

  8. I know at least one good bagel place in the kansai. It was directly across the road from my old apartment. Unfortunately that was in Minoo, so unless you’re making a trip to see the monkeys and the waterfall, its somewhat out of your way. Good (and fairly cheap) set menus, salmon & cream cheese bagels and great coffee.

  9. You might like to read this girl running the site is doing one-woman bagel creditation scheme in Japan.

  10. Wow that bagel site is really something. It reminds me of those sites in the US people have to compare gas prices in a local area.

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