Despite the growing competition in Japan’s coffee industry, Doutor–the first coffee shop franchise in Japan–has remained solid and steady against its competitors through all these years.
In fact, its unparalleled success as the leading company in the Japanese coffee market is brought about by its intensive study of the attitudes and behaviors of the Japanese consumers with respect to coffee. History has shown time and again how Doutor has changed the mornings of a typical Japanese worker.
Hiromichi Toriba, established the first coffee chain franchise of Dotour in Japan on April 18, 1980, with an area of 9 square meters only. Before Toriba started to set up the chain company, he first went to Sao Paolo Brazil in the 1960’s to study coffee. In pursuit of his passion for understanding the different facets of the coffee culture all over the world, he focused on the process of roasting beans in which his company is well known to make lucrative profits today.
In the late 1960s, Japan started to open its doors to the Western culture. It was during those times that Japan became open to the idea of coffee. It was also at that time when Hiromichi Toriba was taking up coffee studies in Brazil. As he ran down along the streets of Sao Paolo, he saw the street sign named after a prominent figure in Brazil–Dr. Pinto Fereis which is spelled as Doutor Pinto Fereis in Portuguese. And born was the company name Doutor, to commemorate his days in Brazil while he was learning how to pick and roast the best coffee beans.
After a few years, Doutor executives as well as other big coffee roasters in Japan such as UCC and Key Coffee have been invited to tour Europe. Eager to learn more about coffee, Toriba always woke up early before his peers and sauntered along the streets of Paris. As he passes by a metro station near the financial district of the City, he saw a group of Parisians standing and drinking their coffee while savoring their pastries and sandwiches.
As Japan approaches the pinnacle of its economic sector in 1971, Doutor founder, Hiromichi Toriba had envisioned the demand of Japan’s labor force every morning with thousand of workers always in a hurry to leave their house and no time to eat proper breakfast. He realized that these people would want to pick their coffee paired with their affordable bread and sandwiches to ease their hunger until lunch time. Seats were available for people who had time to dine in the shop. However, his plan was to establish a shop that could accommodate a large number of customers at a fast pace. A shop for someone who would just grab their coffee and quickly run out the door.
Eventually, Hiromichi Toriba’s vision was right. Using such formula, Doutor eventually grew in Japan. Toriba still used the same formula until of course the introduction of Starbucks in Japan in 1996. Toriba had to change his strategy to keep up with the coffee market.