Case Study

Ikinari Steak: Reflections on a Failed Foreign Market Expansion

Nakato Hirakubo, Caroline Chen, George Whaley, Craig Davis
July 11, 2023
North America
Marketing & Sales, Strategy & General Management
16 pages
strategy, Marketing Mix, international marketing, culture, restaurant, retailing
Student Price: 
$4.00 (€3.76)
Average rating: 

The first Ikinari Steak location in the United States opened in Manhattan’s East Village in February 2017. Rapid expansion in Manhattan was planned over five years, and 11 locations were opened by 2018. However, the standing-only fast-casual dining format was unpopular in the United States and Pepper Food Service, the parent company closed nine of the 11 locations in 2019. At the end of 2019, most restaurants in Japan were in decline. This descriptive case concludes at year-end 2019 with the company’s president contemplating what went wrong with his expansion in the United States.

Learning Outcomes: 

In completing this case, students should be able to:
1. Evaluate an expansion strategy for restaurants outside their home countries
2. Analyze the marketing mix for a novel dining restaurant concept
3. Determine the impact of differences between Japanese and American culture on the steak dining experience in the United States.