Thursday, March 24, 2005

Donut update

Stopped by Waili Donuts again the other evening and was pleasantly surprised to find a jelly donut filled with blueberry ... uh... jelly! This made me a little more hopeful about the future of my relationship with this institution.

On the other hand, Poagao reports that he found red bean paste-filled donuts at the Mr. Donut in Taipei. I guess this is one of those "glocalization" examples I can mention in my ICC class next semester.

By the way, I was interested (but a little disappointed) to see that one of the most frequently used search terms that led people to this blog was "donuts" (including "Mr. Donut" and "taiwan donuts"). I'd like to think I have more to offer than commentary on donuts, but I guess it's a surfer's market. And "donuts" is a better fitting search term than another one I noticed: "Who cares. Taiwan is a mess anyway."


Anonymous said...

You haven't developed a taste for red bean? ; )

Anonymous said...

Clyde said:

I really want to get over to Waili's (it is very close to my home) but I'm afraid if I do, I'll regret it! I just found pretzels and ginger-snap cookies at Tesco. I wonder if I should just move back to the US, all the junk food I like seems to have found me after all these years!

Technically, I don't think glocalization applies here because Waili's is a local operation. What you are observing may be thought of as doughnut diffusion, interpreted through local tastes. Glocalization is a corporate strategy choice made by a single firm, requiring that the firm be global to start with.

Jonathan Benda said...

Actually, I was thinking of the red bean donuts at Mr. Donut as my glocalization example. Would that count as glocalization, since Mr. Donut is an international chain?

When my mother hears about all the American food available here, she wonders why I stay here. But I tell her there's lots of great Taiwanese food, too, that it's pretty hard to get in the States (at least where I've lived...)

Anonymous said...

Clyde Said:

Yes, it is hard to get good Chinese food outside of Taiwan and Honk Kong in general I think.

Mister donut was not a large chain and was acquired by dunkin Donuts in 1990. But this all has nothing to do with Japan, because the name was bought outright and the company run within Japan had no link to the American concern. (This is often the most successful pattern for Japanese localization--just take over management 100% and start from scratch--using the imported name "foreigness" as a draw and "educating" the Japanese public on this new and international product)

Thus, the red bean is not a localization strategy, but simply the Japanese firm's local menu (this was not made for Taiwan but was already popular in Japan). When they come to Taiwan, they bring with them their menu from Japan, and I've tasted the doughnuts in Japan--they are not American style, but they do use raised dough. In a way, the Japanese firm's expansion is not localized, since they are simply exporting the Japanese menu.

At first I thought Waili's was from Japan also, but I can't find anything about it. I tend to be with the sceptics on the future of any doughnut chain in Taiwan. Foods that are not core to chinese consumption tend to be very fadish, and doughnuts are a great example. Doughnuts are not at all new to Taiwan, and they are generally of medium popularity, but the market for the raised dough, which is very chewy, is not so large. Also, with so many breakfast shops/stands, is there a need for a breakfast chain? Can people take the time to sit down and eat in the morning (which is one of the big success markets for Mister donut in Japan. Lastly, local bread stores are so numerous and very competitive, soon people will feel there is nothing special, and the idea of paying a 60K NT$ rent a month and only selling doughnuts will be like the Scotch Tape store in Saturday Night Live (too narrow a product line). And the killer is general social trends--healthy eating not tons of fat (one of the main reasons for the silly rise and fall of Krispy Kreme).

Poagao said...

I hear they now have curry-flavored donuts as well.

Jonathan Benda said...

Yuck--then y'all can keep Mr. Donut up there...

By the way, I went to Waili's recently on a weekday evening--there was hardly anyone there! C'mon, people--get out and support your local donut shop!