Cookie Time has opened its first international cookie bar in Tokyo – the first step in an international strategy to roll out more in Japan and surrounding territories.
The Cookie Bar, which formally opened today, is located in Harajuku, world famous as Japan’s centre of street fashion. It had a soft launch in late December and the company says there have been queues of people waiting to get in every day.
With a focus on hot cookies along with ice cream and drinks, the cookie bar puts Cookie Muncher front and centre with pop art style cookies and distinctive speech and thought bubbles. Cookie Time's internal design team worked on the brand, and the store design was crafted by Christchurch company Redesign.
Director Lincoln Booth says the response has been phenomenal.
“Harajuku is an excellent location and the Cookie Bar’s got a great vibe. There’s something very special going with the Cookie Muncher character, pop art design and New Zealand heritage. We’re not pushing the New Zealand angle, but it certainly does add some extra flavour to the experience,” Booth says.
The Harajuku Cookie Bar is a partnership between Cookie Time and Japan’s largest privately owned food distribution business IceCo, with IceCo holding the Japanese license for the Cookie Muncher Cookie Bar concept.
Two more Japanese stores are planned for the next year, and Cookie Time is also in discussions with potential partners in Thailand and Malaysia.
Last year founder Michael Mayell told Idealog that Cookie Time was always set up with a view to international franchising.
"Any city with a million people or more is a potential market for a cookie bar. Once we get a cookie bar into a city and establish our brand, we can potentially branch out into wrapped cookies into outlets around it. The bar acts as an anchor, a way of getting into the market."
Cookie Time opened its first domestic Cookie Bar in Queenstown in 2010, which will be refurbished over the next six months.