Mitsubishi is one of the world’s largest companies with business divisions in a wide range of different market segments and industries. The organization was developed in the late 1800s and quickly diversified into a number of businesses starting with shipbuilding, mail service and mining.

The company was heavily involved in the Japanese war effort during World War II and the following was disassembled. By the mid-1950s, the organization began to take shape again and was slowly put back together, by 1954, Mitsubishi was officially back in operation. The company then began to expand with new offices in 14 different countries and entryway into new industry segments such as banking and trading.

One of the Mitsubishi business divisions is what is defined as the Living Essentials Group which focuses on products, services and other consumer goods. Through this division, the organization developed a subsidiary under the brand Jalux. Jalux is also involved in a wide range of products and consumer markets, one of which was a speciality sweet and confectionary retail brand called J. Sweets. The brand consisted of products that originated from the Japanese market but had appeal throughout the Asian markets. The model had been originally proven in a single Los Angeles retail outlet.

The J. Sweet brand was successful, but needed scale to be able to purchase products at less cost and advertise the brand on a broader scale more efficiently. Although the Japanese American market was the “low hanging fruit” for the J. Sweets brand, there was a much larger market that just needed to be educated and shown how great the product line was and introduced to the brand.

In 2013, Mitsubishi hired Franchise Marketing Systems and Christopher Conner to develop the franchise model and create a franchise prototype that could be developed throughout the United States. The Franchise Marketing Systems team worked closely with Jalux management to conduct franchise research and develop a franchise business plan.

Market demographics were reviewed for the current customers to understand how far people were travelling and what primary demographics were for the key customer base. Retail locations for J. Sweets were very high-end and a bit too expensive for broad scalability, the model was toned down and stripped down to only what was necessary to make the model work and allow for a lower initial franchise investment. Franchise Marketing System’s team developed the franchise business plans for both the franchisor and the franchisees who would invest in the J. Sweets business model.

Franchise Marketing Systems completed the franchise feasibility study and presented it to Mitsubishi’s management team. Retail and confectionary products had performed well in the U.S. franchise market in recent years and there were no brands that focused on the Asian population throughout the U.S.

The opportunity for the brand to scale was significant and given the strong backing, credibility and significant market for Asian-American products, but the Franchise model would require a focused U.S-based team to support growth, deliver training and execute the expansion model. Mitsubishi’s team was not willing to have personnel in the U.S. in order to support this growth.

As a result, Franchise Marketing Systems recommended holding off on a retail franchise model and focusing more on e-commerce as a way to leverage the product lines and develop revenues through online sales.

For more information on how to develop a Franchise Feasibility Study, Contact Us:

Middle Spoon

The Middle Spoon is a speciality cocktail, light fare and dessert bar which was founded originally in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  The concept was designed to offer a cosy, warm and intimate setting for primarily female clientele.  The menu, atmosphere and entire personality of the Middle Spoon were created to make an excellent venue for events such as company lunches or dinners, date nights, girls' nights out or just an after-dinner treat for a dessert and a drink in a romantic setting. 

The Middle Spoon was an immediate hit with the Halifax crowd and the first location took off with a bang and became a Nova Scotia favourite.  The original location was enormously successful, but the opportunities for growth were limited given the geographic location of the original store.  There were opportunities to open maybe two more stores in the Halifax, Nova Scotia market, but outside of this, there were limited markets for expansion considering the long distance between markets.  The natural evolution of the expansion strategy.       

In 2015, The Middle Spoon decided to franchise the model in order to scale from a single location to new markets in both Canada and the U.S.  The Canadian franchise decided to hire Franchise Marketing Systems to develop the brand and create the franchise model. 

Franchise Marketing Systems team of consultants, led by Chris Conner, worked with The Middle Spoon to create a market strategy and develop a plan for how to scale the model.  What was particularly intriguing about the Middle Spoon model was that the market was generally open for both dessert and high-end cocktails on both the consumer and franchise side of the business. 

The Middle Spoon brand needed to be transitioned to the U.S. from a branding, business model and operating concept standpoint effectively.  The franchise strategy was designed to offer a single, multi-unit and area developer franchise platform which could provide options for both owner-operator franchisees and larger, well-capitalized franchisees. 

Franchise legal work was handled by a franchise law firm that created the FDD, Franchise Agreement and handled the legal work needed to launch the franchise system in both Canada and the U.S. 

Franchise Marketing Systems then created the operations manuals, training programs and franchise development platform needed to support the new franchisees as they came on board and opened franchise locations.  The documentation was wrapped into franchise operations manuals and training classes by FMS consultants and documented to deliver support and training. 

Then Franchise Marketing Systems creative team put together the brochures, presentations, franchise website and other materials to be used to promote the Middle Spoon Franchise Offering

The first two franchises were sold in Canada and the first U.S. franchise was sold in Sugarland, Texas outside of Houston.  Sugarland was considered one of the best markets around Houston as it exhibits the key characteristics of what makes an ideal market for Middle Spoon. 

Sugarland has great demographics, higher income levels, has a focus on family and is made up of a large population of people with higher disposable income levels.  The menu for Houston was redesigned to focus on a wider range of lunch and dinner offerings to accompany the dessert and drink offerings.  Sugarland, Texas also has a lower level of dessert and cocktail lounges making the Middle Spoon offering even more attractive. 

The concept opened at the following address:

Sugar Land Town Square

15911 City Walk, Sugar Land, TX

For more information on The Middle Spoon Franchise, visit the corporate site: