Society for Case Research MBAA 2020

Experience level: 
Intended Audience: 
Craig Davis, George Whaley

The Aftermath of Failed Ikinari Steak Expansion in New York City

Kuni’s Corporation opened its first Ikinari Steak restaurant in Ginza, Tokyo in 2014 and gained instant popularity. The standing-only fast-casual dining format was sustained, the Ikinari Steak locations were expanded, and revenues grew. Kuni’s Corporation decided to expand into the U.S. and opened the first Ikinari Steak in East Village of New York City (NYC) in February 2017. Rapid expansion in NYC was planned over five years and eleven locations were opened by 2018. However, the standing-only fast-casual dining format was not popular in NYC and the company decided to close nine locations. The critical incident ends in February 2019 with the Kuni president contemplating what major factors contributed to the failure of Ikinari Steak’s business model in the U. S and what strategic actions should be taken to enable it to rebound. This evaluative, descriptive case is most appropriate for graduate and advanced undergraduate courses in marketing, retail, branding strategy, and international business policy