A little family-run butcher shop in Japan wanted to see if selling their “Extreme Croquettes” online would increase their customer base…
… never dreaming they’d one day become an internet sensation.
In fact, if you want to try a box of their frozen Kobe beef croquettes yourself – you’ll have to get in the 30-year online que – and here’s the insane details on how this all got started.
We get it – some food is so good it’s worth the wait.
But THIRTY YEARS!?!
Apparently the “Extreme Croquettes” are that good.
Asahiya, a family-run butcher shop in Japan, has been serving their local community since 1926.
They’ve long sold Kobe beef and added their deep-fried potato and beef croquettes to the menu after WWII – never imagining how this small move would change everything.
Currently, Asahiya offers four different types of croquettes – with their “Extreme Croquettes” being the most popular.
“We started selling our products through online shopping in 1999,” explains Shigeru Nitta, third-generation owner of Asahiya. “At that time, we offered Extreme Croquettes as a trial.”
In fact, Asahiya first sold the Extreme Croquettes at a bargain price – charging customers less than it cost to make them – but hopeful that once they tried them, they’d end up purchasing other products from the butcher shop.
What started off as a gamble actually worked.
And once people began to taste these delicious croquettes, the rest was history.
Their marketing strategy was so successful, they ramped up production.
Asahiya went from producing 200 croquettes a week – to 200 a day – and even with this increase in production, a large number of customers are still waiting to get their order.
“We hear that we should hire more people and make croquettes more quickly, but I think there is no shop owner who hires employees and produce more to make more deficit… I feel sorry for having them wait. I do want to make croquettes quickly and send them as soon as possible, but if I do, the shop will go bankrupt.”
Fortunately, Nitta says that about half of the people who try the croquettes end up ordering their Kobe beef, so it’s a sound marketing strategy.
Each box of Extreme Croquettes, which includes five pieces, sells for JPY2,700 ($18.40).
The shop sends a regular newsletter to waiting customers updating them on the latest shipping estimate. A week before the delivery date, the shop will confirm the delivery with the patient customers once again.”
And just when you thought you heard it all!
While the average person likely wouldn’t waste the time to get on a 30-year waiting list… there are the adventurous foodie-types who will jump at the chance.
And if it just so happens that you’ve actually gotten to sample these Extreme Croquettes – we’d love to hear your thoughts and if they’re really worth the wait!
Would you wait 30 years to try the world’s most coveted snack?
What are your thoughts on Asahiya marketing strategy?
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