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Mister Donut in Sendai, Japan
|Wholly owned subsidiary|
|Industry||Food and Beverage|
|United States, Canada, Middle East, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, China, Philippines, Thailand, El Salvador, Malaysia and Indonesia|
|Products||Doughnuts • Coffee • Bagels|
|Parent||International Multifoods Corporation (1970–1990)
Allied Domecq (1990–2008) Dunkin' Brands
Mister Donut (ミスタードーナツ Misutā Dōnatsu) is a fast food franchise founded in the United States in 1956 and now headquartered in Japan, where it has more than 1,300 stores. The primary offerings include doughnuts, coffee, muffins and pastries. After being acquired by Allied Lyons in 1990, most North American stores became Dunkin' Donuts. Mister Donut also maintains a presence in El Salvador, South Korea, Mainland China, Philippines, Thailand, and Taiwan.
In 1955, Harry Winokur worked with brother-in-law William Rosenberg, the founder of Dunkin' Donuts. After Winokur broke his partnership with Rosenberg, he went on to create Mister Donut with his son-in-law David Slater in 1955, with stores in most of North America. The Mister Donut business became so popular that Winokur and Slater decided to go into franchising. As a result, Mister Donut began a rapid expansion that resulted in the opening of 275 stores in the U.S. and Canada. In 1970, Minneapolis-based International Multifoods Corporation, one of the world's largest and most successful food companies, acquired Mister Donut and its franchising concept from Winokur.
The first Mister Donut outlet in Japan opened in Minoh, Osaka in 1971. Also in 1971, a Mister Donut training center was constructed in Japan. In 1973, the French cruller became available in Japan stores. In 1983, Duskin Co., Ltd. of Osaka, Japan, acquired the rights to franchise Mister Donut throughout Japan and Asia.
In the 1980s, Mister Donut was the largest competitor to the multi-national company Dunkin' Donuts, which was founded in the United States as well in 1950. On March 31, 1987, Elie G. Saheb and his business associates acquired the trademark rights for Mister Donut in the United Kingdom, and afterwards opened a Mister Donut pilot store and bakery in Fulham, London. On May 2, 1988, the Mister Donut franchise sold the trademark rights for the European market at large.
By the 1980s, Mister Donut had over 550 stores in the United States and Canada. In 1989, the English corporate giant Allied-Lyons plc acquired Dunkin' Donuts from Rosenberg for a reported £196 million. After becoming a subsidiary of Allied-Lyons, Dunkin' Donuts immediately acquired Mister Donut from International Multifoods. Mister Donut stores were offered the option convert to Dunkin' Donuts. Mister Donuts was acquired by Dunkin' Donuts' then-parent company, Allied Lyons, in February 1990. After the acquisition of Mister Donut by Allied-Lyons, all Mister Donut stores in North America were offered the chance to change their name to Dunkin' Donuts. Mister Donut sold its Middle East trademarks on October 14, 1995.
In July 2005, Allied-Lyons was acquired by Pernod Ricard SA. On 12 December 2005, Pernod Ricard announced that it had agreed to sell Dunkin' Brands, which owned Dunkin' Donuts and Mister Donut, to a consortium of three US private equity firms (Thomas H. Lee Partners, the Carlyle Group and Bain Capital LLP) for $2.43 billion. The closing of the sale occurred on 1 March 2006. In August 2012, Dunkin' Brands became completely independent of the private equity firms.
As of 2017, only one Mister Donut store remains in the United States, in Godfrey, Illinois (outside of St. Louis), while there were 10,000 stores worldwide. As of 2016, Mister Donut Japan had over "1,300 stores, making it the largest donut chain in the country." and as of June 2016, Duskin Co., Ltd. was also operating Mister Donut stores in China, Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Japan and Malaysia.
Mister Donut has a distinctive orange and white logo in the likeness of a moustachioed chef. More recently, the chain developed a set of mascot characters based on its donuts. One character in particular, "Pon de Lion" (ポン・デ・ライオン Pon De Raion), a lion with a mane shaped like its "pon de ring" (ポン・デ・リング Pon De Ringu) donut line, has become equally recognizable (if not more so) to customers in Japan.
One popular Mister Donut advertising jingle featured a song sung by two people in various settings:
- Hey, Mister, that's a doughnut!
- Hey, Mister, that's a Mister Donut doughnut!
Today, the Mister Donut brand survives in Japan, Thailand, China, and the Philippines, and the company is expanding into other areas of Asia such as Taiwan and South Korea. In Taiwan, the chain is owned by a joint venture between Duskin and the Uni-President Enterprises Corporation, which also operates 7-11 and Starbucks stores in Taiwan. Mister Donut had opened stores in seven Asian countries, including Japan, Thailand, the Philippines, China, Taiwan, South Korea and Malaysia. Of those stores, over 90 per cent were franchised. Japan had over 1,300 "full-scale" stores, with about 1,800 Mister Donut outlets in the Philippines, with 200 of those full-scale. There were also 80 Mister Donut stores in South Korea, 84 in Taiwan and 20 in Shanghai, while the first in Malaysia had opened that August.
A Mister Donut stand in Angeles, Philippines
In Japan, Mister Donut is owned by Duskin Co., Ltd., a part of the Mitsui conglomerate. Mister Donut is the largest donut franchise chain in Japan. Many Mister Donut stores in Japan house Yamucha sub-stores that serve a small variety of dim sum. These sub-stores are usually advertised with the phrase "San Francisco Chinatown", reinforcing the chain's American image even while selling Chinese food.
Keiji Chiba, who was Duskin Company's general manager and director of food industries, adjusted the recipes and gave a higher class image so the company would be successful in the Japanese market; prior to the introduction of Mister Donut, Japanese perceived doughnuts as being snacks for children.
The Star wrote in 2007 that "Mister Donut has gained a following among mostly younger Japanese for its American-style doughnuts, decor and music, becoming the country's biggest donut chain." On September 13, 2013, a survey by the Japanese retail research company, Softbrain Field, surveyed close to 6000 Japanese citizens of all ages on their favorite fast food restaurant. Mister Donut came in third, at 17%, behind McDonald's at 33% and MOS Burger at 25%.
In the Philippines, Mister Donut is the second largest doughnut chain, with Dunkin' Donuts as its main competitor. Mister Donut outlets are mostly stands, most often located inside shopping malls or other stores but sometimes in stand-alone stands along the street. Doughnuts from Mister Donut are also sold in 7-Eleven stores and KFC restaurants. Some locations sell coffee but mostly it focuses on donuts including as pasalubong, gifts by visitors to friends and family. The doughnuts sold are adjusted to the local market with smaller and therefore cheaper sizes and different flavors.
In 2004, the Uni-President Group introduced Mister Donut in Taiwan through the newly established joint-venture Mister Donut Taiwan Corp., announcing a goal to open 100 outlets in Taiwan in three years.
In Thailand, Mister Donut has been a leader in the Thai donut market since 1978. It is known for its concept "Donut for Fun". As of December 2011, Thailand was the "largest market outside Japan for Mister Donut in terms of sales volume." Mister Donut has more than 320 branches across Thailand with more opening yearly. They include stand-alone stores as well as branches at shopping malls and supermarkets. In 2014, donut consumption increased 10 and 15 per cent in Thailand, with Mister Donut accounting for half of that increase. In 2015, Thailand’s Central Restaurants Group announced plans to open 30 new outlets in 2015, bringing its store number to 350. The company stated that it would be able to sell "ts doughnuts in all 77 provinces by year end." Central has also stated it is considering expanding Mister Donut in Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia.
Europe, Middle East & Africa
On 31 March 1987, Elie G. Saheb and associates acquired the Mister Donut Trade Mark rights for the United Kingdom and opened the first Mister Donut bakery and pilot shop in Fulham, London. Saheb was credited for introducing the American Donut culture in Europe, and on May 2, 1988 The Trade Marks rights for the European markets were acquired followed on 14 October 1995 by the Middle East, and Africa region as well as some countries in South East Asia.
Mister Donut operations downsized in the late 1990s; the final surviving three in the Toronto, Ontario area closed quietly around or prior to June 2006.
As of 2014, there were 30 Mister Donut stores in El Salvador.
- United States
There were many stores in the Pennsylvania and Ohio region that remained Mister Donuts, mostly due to being close to then-existing Dunkin' Donuts stores. Nine Mister Donut owners formed a cooperative to continue to receive bulk pricing on materials. As of May 2006, these stores are now known as Donut Connection, serving the same items as Mister Donut stores. Hundreds of Donut Connection franchises are in the eastern U.S. Some businesses retained the Mister Donut name; fewer than 10 stores continue using Mister Donut; most folded while others are now Dunkin' Donuts. Only one business still uses the Mister Donut name; it is in Godfrey, Illinois.
Some locations of the Donut Connection partnership have retained the original fixtures of the original Mister Donut location. The Donut Connection store in Shakopee, Minnesota still has the orange motif and an original Mister Donut price board.
There are no plans of bringing Mister Donut back to the United States.
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As of 2004, the first Mister Donut shop opened in Taiwan featured "doughnuts in 50 different flavors every day. Each flavor comes with a label indicating the level of sweetness." The store also sold around 15 kinds of drinks and beverages.
In 2007, Mister Donut attracted media attention in Japan, when it admitted it had used outdated syrups in some of its drinks earlier that year.
The company has created special donut lines for various events, for example creating soldier-themed doughnuts for National Doughnut Day on June 1 in Thailand, with funds benefitting military personnel in the country.
In June 2013, Mister Donuts in Thailand debuted the SushiDo, sushi-themed donuts created as a part of "a special sushi-themed menu." At the time, they had not been added to the menu in Japan or other countries. Options included "sweet donut versions of ebi, tamago, maguro, salmon, with sugary frosting replacing raw fish." For Halloween, in October 2013, Mister Donut debuted Hello Kitty jack-o’-lantern doughnuts in pumpkin or strawberry flavor, as well as other seasonal pumpkin flavored items, including pumpking versions of their regular donut.
There have also been items such as straw-berry glace donuts.
In April 2014, the company launched a croissant-style doughnut, which proved popular.
On May 27, 2014, Mister Donut collaborated with the Japanese fast food franchise Mos Burger on the MOSDO!, a burger using "a spiral-shaped chorizo, lettuce and spicy chili sauce sandwiched between Mister Donut's French Cruller donut as the buns." The menu item was released at Mos Burger stores, while Mister Donut stores at the time were selling "Mos Burger's famous rice burger with sweet bean paste, sweet potato paste, and custard cream stuffing."
In April 2015, Mister Donut released new items such as the "Brooklyn Merry-Go-Round, which uses both cookie and bagel dough." At the time, the company announced that it will "launch new key products quarterly while maintaining its standard menu."
In 2015, Japan revealed a summer doughnut menu themed to Brooklyn, New York. Japan Times explained that the menu was "'Brooklyn themed' in the sense it combines several foodstuffs together into one, in the style of New York-born fusion treats such as the Cronut." Items included "berry or lemon doughnuts cut in half, with a layer of yogurt added to the middle, or a chocolate option with sugary cream in the center."
As of May 2016, "some 80% of the menu at Mister Donut bakery and cafe is made up of coffee drinks and the rest is doughnuts."
In Japan, current items as of July 2016 may include the old-fashioned doughnuts covered in chocolate or cinnamon flavored. There is also a "chocolate almond croissant muffin," a salty donut, a chocolate-covered churro, a financier donut," and "Japanese-style matcha kuromitsu stick."
In Japan, Mister Donut's "signature" is the "Pon de Ringu, with its cartoon lion mascot." The Japanese stores also sell the "pon de ring, Mister Donut’s signature item that’s made of a connected circle of dough balls." Pon de ring varieties include the pon de angel, which is cream-filled, and the pon de kokuto, or a pon de ring with brown sugar.
"Mister Croissant Donut", a cronut-inspired donuts available at Mister Donut stores throughout Japan
Rice congee at a store in 2006
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mister Donut.|
- Official Mister Donut website
- Official Mister Donut Japan website (in Japanese)
- Official Mister Donut Korea website (in Korean)
- Official Mister Donut Taiwan website (in Taiwanese Mandarin)
- Official Mister Donut China website (in Chinese)
- Official Mister Donut Philippines website
- Official Mister Donut Thailand website (in Thai)
- Official Mister Donut El Salvador website (in Spanish)
- Brief history of Dunkin' Donuts and Mister Donut