The No-Brand Burger Joint

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500 people lined up for a Tokyo Quarter Pounder store opening.
500 people lined up for a Tokyo Quarter Pounder store opening.
The McDonald's Quarter Pounder made its debut in Japan with no trace of the Golden Arches, bright yellow plastic or McAnything. Temporary shops set up to sell the signature sandwich in Tokyo don't exhibit the fast food giant's name, logo or any other McDonald's signifier—so Japanese diners only get beef and no branding.

Part of a limited-time promotion, two McDonald's stores in fashionable Tokyo neighborhoods were closed, remodeled and reopened as unbranded Quarter Pounder shops on November 1. The minimal black and red shops, said to be operated by the "Quarter Pounder Secretariat," feature Le Corbusier sofas and only two menu items: meals with the Quarter Pounder with cheese or Double Quarter Pounder with cheese at a little more than $5.00 and $6.00 respectively. Extending the motif, all food is served in solid red packaging with black block lettering.

The Quarter Pounder is new to Japan and the unbranded stores are intended to provide Japanese consumers with a "blind test" of the new burger.

"We want consumers to discover great taste and not care about who produced it," a shop spokesman said. "Those who think of McDonald's as fast food can just focus on taste and find a premium burger, without prejudice or preconception."

The black and red design (more photos below) leaves the traditional McDonald's aesthetic for something more in line with the Tokyo fashion districts, Omotesando and Shibuya East, where the shops are located.

Japanese agency Dentsu contributed to the project. The promotion also includes sweepstakes for trips to the United States on the Quarter Pounder Web site.

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