It's just a matter of time, and finally the big three from Japan all opened their store in Indonesia. Started by 7-Eleven (with Modern Group, famous as distributor of FujiFilm's consumer film in Indonesia) and Lawson (with the owner of Alfa Midi, a local chain of mini markets), now Family Mart entered Indonesia together with Wings Group as local partner (IIRC, started business as soap maker).
Their first store is opened in East Jakarta's Cibubur area, while the second store opened today, is located in Bulungan area close to Blok M where there's substantial Japanese population frequently visiting. Next stores would be in the Kelapa Gading and Pejaten area.
The Bulungan store is located in the same building as Yoshinoya beef bowl restaurant, a luxurious looking two storey glass building.
There's even an outdoor dining area with a stage so there can be music band performance to entertain the customers.
The interior is more luxuriously designed compared to the competitors, but maybe it's the use of the wood and glass elements in the dining area while the two earlier competitors use plain white on their whole floor area.
According to a casual source (probably related to the owner company, but I don't verify), their food is "better" than the competitor. According to him, they get support from the Social House, a mid-high market lifestyle restaurant in Grand Indonesia shopping mall, owned by F&B business group who's "great in making concept stores but have overpriced menu for the taste" (not my words). This restaurant helps in creating the menu for Family Mart.
If Indonesia's Lawson have Oden as their special house menu, Indonesia's Family Mart has Yakitori menu.
Now, less than 10 minutes' walk away is the Little Tokyo area with many serious restaurant and bar that sells fresher, better, bigger and more varied yakitori menu. But at Rp.4'000 price point, almost ¼ of the price in those restaurants, FamiMa yakitori is more acceptable as casual snack to peoples who won't shell out expatriate worker class expense.
I'm not sensitive about taste, so it hits a nice bang for the bucks ratio for me; although the more Indonesian traditional grilled meat product, Sate, would cost less that Rp.1'500 each with more local stomach palatable peanut-sweet soy sauce based dipping, alas without the foreign style.
No comment about the other menu since I hasn't ate any of them, but the price is more or less at the same range as the competitors.
Just as the case of the other two names, Family Mart in Indonesia is not like what it is abroad. Here, convenience store are more like cafe where peoples have light foods and gather with their social circles.
Indonesia, especially the Jakarta metropolitan area, had enough of convenience stores (usually called mini mart) that grow uncontrollably and many doesn't even have complete permission from the whole set of bureaucracy (well, part of it is the bureaucracy's fault for being inefficient and overlapping).
Besides, there are regulation that small scale retail business have to be ran by local investors. So, the fact that 7-Eleven and Lawson works under F&B business license is both a business concept and exploiting a loophole in the regulation that made the Ministry of Trade requiring them to limit the number of their outlets. In my opinion though, the convenience store part is really more of a decoration and their main business is lifestyle F&B like cafe.
Not a bad choice. I always thought that these days, to satisfy the irrational need of growth for the sake of growth in various business during this difficult times, there's two route. First go to big buyer like Business to Business or Business to Government. The other is to move from commodity (high volume) to premium like Apple (small volume high value). They target the young adolescent population especially the mid-high class with large expense.
Serve only those who can afford to pay, or quoting a celebrity chef's cynical remark to a bad hotel's management, "if you have to ask for the price, you don't deserve it".
My original feeling towards convenience store business is based on a historical comic about 7-Eleven in Japan that I previously worked on. There, the two men and their team who eventually developed the Japanese style convenience store know-how, want to find a new business model to revitalize the retail business in Japan and they found convenience store in America. This convenience store is a store that offers convenience by providing things you'd need within close reach of your neighbourhood even until late at night.
That's why, personally for me, these so-called "convenience store" practice in Indonesia left kind of a sour taste in my mouth.
A sad thing is, like many business in Indonesia, they seems to be very paranoid against camera. You can't take picture inside, and not even take picture of the tree across the street from inside the store. It's like they're so afraid of their design being stolen or having the pictures used for defamation.