McDonald's admits 1,000 people paid to join queue for Quarter Pounder debut in Osaka

McDonald's admits 1,000 people paid to join queue for Quarter Pounder debut in Osaka "Customers" queue outside the Midosuji-Suomachi branch of McDonald’s in Osaka on Tuesday.

OSAKA —

Around 1,000 people were paid to join the queue outside the Midosuji-Suomachi branch of McDonald’s for the release of their Quarter Pounder burger in the Kansai area on Tuesday, it was learned on Thursday.

The company has admitted to the fact that around 1,000 people who lined up on Tuesday were compensated, but claims they only made a request for consumer feedback to one of their marketing companies. There are suspicions however that the people were employed to help promote the new product, serving a role known as “sakura” in Japanese.

It is estimated that as many as 2,000 people were lining up outside the McDonald’s store at its peak on Tuesday, and that around 15,000 people in total visited the store during the day, setting a new record for daily sales for one of their stores. But it was learned on Thursday that about 1,000 of the people queuing outside were paid an hourly wage of 1,000 yen and also had their purchase paid for. These people were hired by a human resources company at the request of a marketing company commissioned by McDonald’s Japan.

A McDonald’s Japan spokesman said: “We wanted to know how the service and product quality were on the first day. We didn’t know 1,000 people had been sent to the store.”

News reports

  • 0

    WMD

    Ha ha ha. I thought something was a bit odd, even for japanese who always copy each other, to line up in such numbers just for a damn burger.

  • 0

    pathat

    "A McDonald’s Japan spokesman said: “We wanted to know how the service and product quality were on the first day. We didn’t know 1,000 people had been sent to the store.”"

    They were only expecting around 900 paid customers.

  • 0

    Spidey

    So what's the big deal? Simply money spent on marketing. Nothing new here.

    And it looks like it paid off well.

    S

  • 0

    AlfGarnett

    Bloody twisters. Someone should get the scak for this kind of thing.

    Bloody McDonalds and their unhealthy rubbish.

  • 0

    smartacus

    Is there any company in Japan that is trustworthy? This year we've had false labeling, products past their use-by dates being sold, cover-ups, and now McDonald's. What is left for the poor consumer to believe in?

  • 0

    ronaldk

    Wow, sounds like a good job!

  • 0

    ANOTSUSAGAMI

    Still means 14000 or so nuts were there who weren't paid.

  • 0

    johnshiomi

    i'm sure lots of people seeing the long decided to join in on the wait... their strategy paid off but its seems a bit manipulative to me... the schemer will always remain...

  • 0

    Richard_the_First

    Krappy Kreme will be next. Genius really. Pay to make yourself look popular, Japanese lemming effect will take hold and you have a snowball..

  • 0

    TeruSensei

    Lucky people who got a good payday and a free burger.

    How do you score that gig?

  • 0

    Dogdog

    This sort of tactic could really resolve the unemployment crises of temp workers in Japan. I expect to see it in Aso's next budget and the government to set aside 3 trillion yen of taxpayers' money to ensure its effective implementaion.

    Of course those saying this was a good pay day for those employed, get real! This is Japan and we all know Japanese work practices. They got paid for 1 hour's attendence but were expected to attend for 5 hours. They being the work slaves they are, dutifully put in their 4 hours unpaid OT but were pleased with their end of work bonus of a free quarter pounder.

    Y200 an hour, even Shui would turn his nose up to that wage.

  • 0

    soldave

    Great work, Japan!

  • 0

    maryhinge

    I would not eat a 1/4 pounder even if you paid me.

  • 0

    tkoind2

    Money! Money!! Money!!!

    There is little or no integrity left in big business today. They will lie, cheat, misdirect, misinform and try anything they can to get you to consume. They do not care about you, your health, the long term quality of what they are selling you or the cost to value relationship of what they sell. They don't even care about their own employees and certainly not much about the community beyond their token efforts at philantropy to help improve their "good company" image.

    All they care about. ALL they care about is that you consume what they make. Period.

    Hiring 1000 people to fake a line, not remotely shocking. I wonder if Crispy Creme is doing the same thing?

  • 0

    PepinGalarga

    are you sure they only were paid for 1 hour? I heard there were time card machines and the beginning and end of the line hahahahaa...at any rate to get paid $10 an hour to stand in line is great!... so many easy jobs in japan for the uneducated masses.

  • 0

    Ultradude

    Most new restaurants/bars in Japan use sakura, ask someone who has recently opened one. Consider this - 7pm on a Thursday, you're with a friend in an entertainment area and you spy a new izakaya, glancing in the window, every chair is empty and the staff are wiping the counters for the 67th time. Or you walk up and see a few groups of people quaffing some cold beers and sampling some tasty sashimi, etc. Hard choice? In this case, it looks like it was overdone and the media found out but still McD's is getting some amazing and free PR from this, so they win as even more morons will stuff their pieholes with this crud.

  • 0

    Mark_McCracken

    There is little or no integrity left in big business today.

    The use of sakura isn't limited to big business. Plenty of mom and pop shops do the same thing.

  • 0

    Disillusioned

    What's everybody complaining about? It's McDonalds, the largest food franchise in the world. So, they paid a thousand people with nothing better to do to hang out the front for a few hours. Good on'em! However, it's a shame they made the people eat the stuff after standing inline for so long. McDonalds will never go away until people stop eating it, which means, sadly, it here to stay.

  • 0

    Statistician

    Good investment. they got two stories for their money, the first one and then this one a day or two later.

  • 0

    samsarks

    i wouldnt blame mcdonald here.for a japanese will only walk in to an empty store.they have the impression that stores with long ques have something better to offer so they blatantly join the que.elcome to the world of japan

  • 0

    samsarks

    sorry-''will not walk into an empty store''

  • 0

    buttamimi

    The Big Whopper! Let's face it, Maccas have been caught with their pants down. The people were paid 1,000 yen an hour to swallow the lie. They were recruited on the internet by a recruitment company called Full Cast. In the recruitment blurb, it was stated that they wanted people to work near Shinsaibashi Eki. It did not state that they would be lining-up to take part in a fake hamburger binge.

  • 0

    meanmutha

    guess it beats the smut and AV business.

  • 0

    SuperLib

    So 15,000 people came instead of 14,000. My God, it's going to take me hours to get over this.

  • 0

    Betting

    Sakura is extremely widespread in Japan. One of the companies I used to work for, uses it. And I know many others do as well. I think the Japanese know all about sakura already.

  • 0

    Bogi

    If I were running a food/beverage establishment in Japan, I would do EXACTLY the same thing.

    Good marketing.

  • 0

    noborito

    Japanese people love standing in line. Donuts, MAC, BK, Costco, ever where there is a line. If there isn't a line they think the shop is no good.

    Lines equal poor management and or poor service.

    When will Japanese learn. As for now, seems like everyone has enough time to stand in line. Instead of working.

  • 0

    STC

    Didn't the article indicate McDonald's hired a marketing firm to evaluate the food and service - not that McDonald's itself hired any of the so-called 'sakura'? Strange how people twist the facts to suit their own agenda and blame the company. What's wrong with a Quarter Pounder, in moderation? I would trust a McDonald's sandwich before some of the filthy restaurant kitchens I've seen in Japan. 14,000 (not counting the suspected 'sakura') visited the store's opening - that says a lot.

  • 0

    adamantine

    I suppose it was only a matter of time before McDonald's warped the seemingly incorruptible business ethos Osaka has always been famous for.

  • 0

    smithinjapan

    I think it's more a statement on culture than on the incident itself. Sure, any huge line for a shop in ANY country will spark interest in passersby, but only in Japan does it ensure the masses will automatically join in the queue. I don't like McDonald's, plain and simple. If I were interested in why people were lining up and found out it was for the new quarter pounder (new to Japan, that is), I would just say they are all suckers and leave. Many Japanese would look at the line and think that the new product is therefore delicious, want what the others are getting, and line up.

    It's a gross generalization, of course, but it's true; just look at the result. Highest sales of any day of McDonald's in Japan EVER. It's not limited to food either; if there's a crowd gathered to buy something, the crowd will only grow.

  • 0

    buttamimi

    I would take a Subway sandwich any day over a Mcdonald's quarter pounder enhanced by a fake sales campaign.

  • 0

    redninja

    Some people just love to line up. One day, I was doing my shopping and saw a queue of around 20 persons. Then I caught two girls chatting. The first one asked, what is new here? The second replied, I don't know, just lets join the line. To my amazement, they did. Another example, take Shinjuku minami station. You will notice that some persons will make a queue to buy train tickets, while other machines are empty.

  • 0

    bimyou

    Just like people lining up for an iPhone, could never understand that.

  • 0

    omarbabilon

    TWATS!!!

  • 0

    bamboohat

    They paid fans to show up when the beatles first arrived.

    Club singers and bartenders routinely salt their tipjars.

    they pay shills in casinos

    I don't see the problem. Social proof goes a long way.

  • 0

    Blackbone

    Go MacDonald's. I love Capitalism, so the more money they can creatively make - WHILE paying others to help them - is fantastic. I hope they keep it up. It only helps the economy and makes employees, shareholders, and customers happy. Keep it up for the benefit of all.

  • 0

    boarder

    The only way I would consider eating Mcdonald's would be if I were to be paid 1000¥ per hour while I was eating it.... even then I don't know if I would eat it. think of the rest of the suckers that lined up for free....

  • 0

    presto345

    I would take a Subway sandwich any day over a Mcdonald's quarter pounder enhanced by a fake sales campaign.

    I like this comment. Especially when I think of what else the quarter pounder has been enhanced by!

  • 0

    VOR

    just curious about those posters that feel compelled to let everyone know they don't like McD's. Do they really think the rest of us care what they like or don't like to eat.

  • 0

    Taka313

    I've told my wife on several occasions, if we ever open a restaurant, the first thing we would do is offer our friends free food if they would stand in line outside our restaurant to make it look popular. She thought the idea was crazy.

    Heh.

    Taka

  • 0

    Nessie

    There are suspicions however that the people were employed to help promote the new product, serving a role known as “sakura” in Japanese.

    "Sakura"? Isn't that another word for horsemeat in Japanese?

  • 0

    Nessie

    There is little or no integrity left in big business today. They will lie, cheat, misdirect, misinform and try anything they can to get you to consume.

    Do you really think people were being duped by this line?...As if they somehow didn't know what a MacDonald's was until they saw this publicity gimmick?

    Honestly!

  • 0

    Nessie

    The tipoff was the people standing in the line but eating Subway sandwiches.

  • 0

    medievaltimes

    Great marketing. Have to agree with redninja and Taka.

  • 0

    ptolemy

    Step right up folks, step right up. Collect your 1000 yen and take a place in line. Step right up.

    You'd have to pay me to eat at McCrappy.

  • 0

    telecasterplayer

    Sugars, salt, fats and starches.. Fine to dine at the golden arches.

  • 0

    PASHA_51

    Crazy idea to popularize.

  • 0

    likeitis

    sorry-''will not walk into an empty store''

    Uh...., this MCDONALD'S!

    Didn't the article indicate McDonald's hired a marketing firm to evaluate the food and service - not that McDonald's itself hired any of the so-called 'sakura'? Strange how people twist the facts to suit their own agenda and blame the company.

    McD's: We want you to handle our marketing.

    Marketer: What would you like done?

    McD's: You handle it ok? Anything is fine.

    Marker: Anything? How about...

    McD's: We don't want to know. Do whatever. How much?

  • 0

    likeitis

    just curious about those posters that feel compelled to let everyone know they don't like McD's. Do they really think the rest of us care what they like or don't like to eat.

    Apparently McD's feels very strongly that people really do care what other people think of it's food. I agree. The more honest opinions of dislike we get to counter the dishonest and paid for opinions of like, the better. I can't wait for the day that I can go to the drive thru of a healthy all vegetarian fast food place as easy you can pick up a rat burger at McD's.

  • 0

    Sarge

    McDonald's Japan sales for 2008 is most likely going to top half a trillion yen.

  • 0

    Mark_McCracken

    I can't wait for the day that I can go to the drive thru of a healthy all vegetarian fast food place as easy you can pick up a rat burger at McD's.

    You're going to be waiting a very long time. Vegetarian restaurants have been around for decades, yet no restaurant stands out as being particularly popular with the public. McDonald's is Japan's largest restaurant chain based on sales volume. Most humans are carnivores, and love the taste of animal fat. The mingling of melted cheese and meat is a delight to the senses.

  • 0

    Sarge

    A Quarter Pounder with cheese has 420 calories, 28 grams of fat and 730 mg of salt. Bon apetite!

  • 0

    Nessie

    You say that like it's a bad thing, Sarge.

  • 0

    AlfGarnett

    Boody McDonalds and their sneaky way of promoting their unhealthy rubbishy food.

    Pie and mash or fish and chips anyday, none of that processed salty muck for me!!

  • 0

    presto345

    It finally has come to that. McD now has to pay people to eat their junk. Ugh.

  • 0

    smithinjapan

    VOR: "just curious about those posters that feel compelled to let everyone know they don't like McD's. Do they really think the rest of us care what they like or don't like to eat."

    Do you really think people care if you don't care? In some cases, adding that the person does or does not like McD's is integral to the comment; in other cases it is not. Anyway, take a chill pill, my friend. If you don't like people saying they don't like something, you don't need to come on here and say you don't like it.

  • 0

    Badsey

    I don't think these people were lined up for the 1/4 - must have been a slick Disney "Happy Meal" toy or something similar. Brings em' in every time.

  • 0

    Sarge

    "Boody McDonalds and their sneaky way of promoting their unhealthy rubbishy food. Pie and mash or fish and chips anyday"

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

    "McD now has to pay people to eat their junk"

    You must have missed my 5:27 post. McDonald's is poised to record a record half trillion yen in sales in Japan. This means people in record numbers are paying to eat McDonald's food.

    Lovin' it or hatin' it, McDonald's RULES.

  • 0

    NuckinFutz

    Japanese Business Ethics 101. Pay attention now children! It's important you learn these things!

  • 0

    telecasterplayer

    The mingling of melted cheese and meat is a delight to the senses.

    McDonald's ought to try selling that.

  • 0

    kenjinakasone

    who's next, Burger King?

    they probably got paid at the front of the queue. after the first 1,000, the buck stopped there.

  • 0

    holyman

    very stupid fast food...hahahah...people in japan are boneless...no brains..try waiting to take a dump...freedrom should be a benefit not a sign of stupity or insanity...no way will japan be a first world nation...give up the bullshit...go fine true freedom.....go to America where mcds is shit

  • 0

    MikeBarrymore

    I've had many a quarter pounder, oh lovely i can have them all day!!!

    Never paid or waited ina queue for one though.

  • 0

    OhioDonna

    I would have to be well compensated to stand in line for a Quarter Pounder. They are not all that great.

  • 0

    scoobydoo

    1000yen/hr not bad wages for doing nothing. Is there anything actually wrong with employing people to do that apart from just opinion? I think that money could be helpful for many people in this economic time and advertising is not generally considered wrong.

  • 0

    jonnyboy

    whether or not you like mcdonalds or not, i really feel strongly that their (very powerful) way of marketing to children should most definitely be illegal. children don't have the mental ability to make rational purchasing decisions and are easily swayed with bright lights and smiling (actors) faces

    in fact, i think any advertising aimed at children is questionable, full-stop

  • 0

    MikeBarrymore

    McDonalds are naughty doing this promotion.

    I prefer English takeaways anyway. MMmmm, a nice meaty jumbo sausage in my mouth anyday.

    I hope the Japanese enjoy Quarter Pounders. I think they should get some chippies though , and some Pukka pies, oooh that sounds awight.

  • 0

    Sarge

    "I really feel strongly that their very powerful way of marketing to children should most definitely be illegal"

    Oh, for cryin' out loud, so, Donald McDonald should be banned?!

  • 0

    MikeBarrymore

    Sarge- The name is Ronald not Donald , dear!!!!

  • 0

    Sarge

    Mike - In Japan, he's Donald. You know how the mix up the Rs and the Ls in Japan ha ha ha

  • 0

    unscrejects

    1000 per hour is going to have a bigger fallout than the con job. McD. pays its workers less per hour. And on the record half trillion yen sales let's look it at in real sales and remove the supply of materials to privately held stores which they're in the habit of passing off as retail sales.

  • 0

    MikeBarrymore

    I recommend watch Mclibel darlings. You wouldn't beleive the dirty tricks McDonalds gets up to to promote its food. Much more scandlous than this scam, but i admit i like quarter pounders, they're awight!!!

  • 0

    cainhf1

    Take a good look at what Fast food has done to American children and their parents. Sure it seemed great at the start no we have the most obese people in the world. Heck even our homeless are obese. Say no to Fast food no matter how good you think it tastes. I would hate to see Japan follow the footsteps of America in that regards.

Login to leave a comment

OR
  • Sales & Marketing Staff

    Sales & Marketing Staff
    Nicolai Bergmann (ニコライバーグマン株式会社)、Tokyo
    Salary: ¥230,000 / Month Negotiable
  • Social Media Manager

    Social Media Manager
    Nicolai Bergmann (ニコライバーグマン株式会社)、Tokyo
    Salary: ¥230,000 / Month Negotiable
  • Cafe Kitchen Staff

    Cafe Kitchen Staff
    Nicolai Bergmann (ニコライバーグマン株式会社)、Tokyo
    Salary: ¥200,000 / Month Negotiable
  • Cafe Manager

    Cafe Manager
    Nicolai Bergmann (ニコライバーグマン株式会社)、Tokyo
    Salary: ¥250,000 / Month Negotiable
  • Service and Support Specialist

    Service and Support Specialist
    SCALA KK、Tokyo
    Salary: ¥2.5M / Year Negotiable

More in Business

View all

View all