The world's largest chain of Japanese-style curry restaurants CoCoICHI is coming to India through a new joint venture between Mitsui & Co. ('Mitsui', 60 per cent equity) and ICHIBANYA Co Ltd. ('ICHIBANYA', 40 per cent equity).
Mitsui is contributing its long experience of operating successfully in India to the partnership with ICHIBANYA which has 1,264 outlets of its famous chain in Japan, and another 180 restaurants scattered through the US, UK, China, and South East Asia (as of June 2019).
The partners will make a combined investment of approximately USD3 million to establish ICHIBANYA INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED ('ICHIBANYA India') to directly own and operate outlets, and franchise the CoCoICHI brand throughout India. The first store is expected to open in Delhi NCR early next year, with plans to expand progressively into major cities nationwide through franchise agreements.
The partnership marks Mitsui's entry into the restaurant business in India after a long-standing presence in the country with a diversified portfolio of businesses in the industrial and consumer sectors. It supports the company's Medium-term Management Plan strategy that prioritises Retail & Services as a new growth area.
Taku Morimoto, Executive Vice President and COO of the Asia Pacific Business Unit at Mitsui & Co. said: "In the Asia-Pacific region we are increasingly taking a consumer-centric approach to our business. With a population of over 1.3 billion and a rapidly growing middle-income class, we believe the time is right to launch the CoCoICHI brand and concept in India, one of the world's largest food and beverage markets. By investing in businesses with direct consumer touch points, we aim to create connections with our established portfolio of businesses, industrial expertise, and deep customer networks to stimulate further growth."
Shinichiro Omachi, Managing Director of Mitsui & Co. India said: "India is world famous for curries and I am a big fan. I personally love CoCoICHI's curry, and I am really excited to bring the brand to India, as we believe the market is ready to embrace more variety and choice. I hope many people in India will enjoy the unique taste of CoCoICHI's curry, and a quality Japanese food and dining experience."
Mitsui & Co. India also plans to second members of its locally hired team to key management positions in the joint venture.
Prasenjit Adhikari, Assistant General Manager, Administration of Mitsui & Co. India and Project Leader and Chief Executive Officer designate of ICHIBANYA India said: "Leveraging our experience and networks in India, together with our strong capabilities in logistics and marketing, we look forward to supporting the launch and future expansion of CoCoICHI in India."
ICHIBANYA (7630: JP) was founded in the outskirts of Nagoya, Japan in 1978. Their CoCoICHI brand of restaurants has grown to become a household name in Japan with 1,264 outlets across the country (as of June 2019). The restaurant is popular for serving Japanese-style curry with a highly customizable menu allowing diners to choose their rice portion, spice level, and a large variety of optional toppings. CoCoICHI has successfully exported its brand of Japanese curry overseas and now counts 180 (as of June 2019) stores outside of Japan, dotted across the US, UK, China, and a number of countries in South East Asia.
Mitsui & Co. (8031: JP) is one of the largest and most prominent global trading and investment companies. Founded in Japan in 1947, the Group maintains a unique, unobstructed view of international markets through its worldwide network spanning across 66 countries, with a diversified business portfolio stretching across six key sectors.
Working in partnership with many of the world's most prominent private companies, Mitsui & Co.'s outstanding long-term performance is founded on its core business areas of Energy and Resources, Machinery & Infrastructure, and Chemicals. These strong and expanding legacy businesses provide a stable platform across bold and increasingly innovative areas of Mobility, Healthcare, Nutrition & Agriculture, and Retail & Services.
Mitsui & Co.'s success is also founded on its adaptable approach to partnerships, which offers it unparalleled insights into the world's broad economic drivers. These insights enable Mitsui leaders to identify trends and opportunities for growth while driving effective collaboration across its businesses to harness synergies and realize additional value.
Mitsui in India
Mitsui has a long-standing and widespread presence in India. Since the 1950s, Mitsui has progressively grown and expanded in the country to operate across a diversified portfolio of businesses. Today Mitsui has investments in steel, power infrastructure, chemicals, logistics, motorcycles, bathroom products, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, fast moving consumer goods, and television shopping. Mitsui has offices in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, and Hyderabad. The following are some of Mitsui's recent investment activities in India:
- 1. Mitsui invests in GOQii, a preventive healthcare platform business in India
- 2. Mitsui to acquire an additional equity stake in a major international hospital group in Asia
- 3. Mitsui invests in OMC Power, an Indian renewable energy based mini grid operator
- 4. Mitsui invests in TV shopping startup Naaptol