Wendy's, the fast-food chain known for its square hamburgers, is withdrawing from Japan, ending a seven-year presence in the crowded market, a company official said Friday.
Zensho Co., which runs the burger chain in Japan, will end its contract with Ohio-based franchisor Wendy's/Arby's Group Inc. and close all of its 71 outlets by the end of this year, Zensho spokesman Naoki Fujita said.
"We decided that it was no longer necessary to invest funds and human resources" into the chain, he said.
Wendy's has struggled to compete with bigger rivals Burger King and McDonald's, which was the pioneering fast food chain in Japan, where it opened its first restaurant in 1971 and now operates some 3,800 outlets.
Wendy's Japan racked up sales of 6.2 billion yen (70 million dollars) in the business year ending March 2009, Fujita said. Zensho also operates other fast-food chains, including the Sukiya beef-bowl restaurants.