MOS to take Japanese burgers international

Japan's largest chain of domestic burger restaurants is to beef up its international presence by opening outlets in Europe and the United States.

MOS Burger operates 1,370 restaurants in Japan and around 200 outlets in China and south-east Asia, but has set its sights on establishing a presence in the booming fast-food markets of Europe and North America.

Aware that it will be going head-to-head with the heavyweights in the industry -- the likes of McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's -- the company said it plans to play on its Japanese strengths.

As sushi, tempura and Japanese drinks find an increasing audience beyond these shores, MOS Burger hopes items with a Japanese flavour will also catch on overseas.

These include rice burgers and burgers containing chicken in a sweet teriyaki sauce.

"As a member of Asia, we have promoted our advancement into Asia since 1991 with a special emotional commitment," the company said in a statement. "In recent years, we have received many inquiries from people overseas who have tried MOS dishes, either in Japan or in other countries where we are present, asking 'When are you opening MOS in my country?'

"This gives us the strong feeling that our Japanese-taste hamburgers have a taste that is acceptable to the world," it added.

MOS Burger has a loyal following across Japan due to a policy of only cooking food after it has been ordered. That may mean the customer has to wait a little longer, but it is fresher and has not been sitting waiting to be served.

The company plans to gradually open new stores to raise its international presence to around 1,000 outlets by the end of the decade and has already started laying the groundwork.

On December 26, the company organized the global launch of the newest addition to its range, the grilled chicken burger with orange-pepper sauce. The same promotional posters appeared at restaurants in Japan as in Thailand, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Indonesia, although in different languages.