Case Study: Shaka Shaka Chicken at McDonald's, Tokyo. Japan
Sunday January 27th, 2008.
By Peter Hanami
Video: The Shaka Shaka Chicken bag at McDonalds Japan.
I first noticed the introduction of Shaka Shaka Chicken in January 2008. The chance to eat a filet of deep fried chicken at McDonalds for 100 yen seemed like a good deal and a great meal. The deal is that you get a good sized filet of coated chicken which is deep fried and placed in a paper bag that is perforated. The choice of three types of baste are available that you as the customer apply yourself by adding to the bag and then shaking the bag to baste the chicken. The three flavours of baste are lemon pepper, cheese and pepper.
As a menu item it is best described as a snack rather than a meal. Good with a drink and another menu item or just by itself. Chicken is a common menu item in Japan and to see it as an offering in the 100 yen menu item is a good sign of a balanced range of choice between a hamburger, fries and salad.
My preference of baste was "Lemon Pepper" as I felt it would be the least strong taste of the other choices. After going through the routine of adding, shaking and tearing the bag, I was surprised by the taste that was better than imagined!
A key element in the design of the Shaka Shaka range must be the fact that you can hold the chicken without touching it with your fingers hence the perforated bag. In Japan customers never touch the food when they eat in fact eating with direct contact with the food is pretty much unheard of. Onigiri rice balls can be eaten by holding the wrapper, bento lunch boxes can be eaten with chopsticks. Even hamburgers at McDonald's in Japan are carefully eaten with the wrapper peeled back for a number of reasons 1. to stop sauce from dripping 2. to control the eating of the burger and 3. to stop droppage. It really is an art form in Japan how they eat without touching food!
Video: Packaging of Shaka Shaka Chicken Bag
I imagine this menu item is particularly aimed at the large segment of junior and senior high school students all over Japan that descend on McDonald's daily in the afternoon to hang out with friends, do homework and to have some free space from school and home to enjoy a tasty snack with pocket change
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