From food trucks to wine, the brand’s most famous character is everywhere.
For anyone who’s ever found themselves getting drunk and doing karaoke to let off some steam after a long week, Aggretsuko understands. She may be a cartoon red panda created by Sanrio (the Japanese company that brought us Hello Kitty), but she too has an office job and a boss she hates — so she unwinds by singing along to heavy metal and drinking a lot of beer, as chronicled in her YouTube videos.
So it’s appropriate that tired and tipsy patrons at Energy Bistro & Karaoke in Hacienda Heights, California, will find that Aggretsuko is there for them, in the form of a branded room and snack: For $19, visitors can order an Aggretsuko Mini Rage Burger, which comes on a brioche bun and is topped with shredded lettuce, tomato, pickles, melted American cheese, thousand island, and ketchup.
Sanrio is a massive, international business, worth an estimated $2.4 billion in 2015, according toForbes. But a surprising number of those dollars come from collaborations with smaller, sometimes-food-focused businesses, like Energy Bistro and the family-run Tanaka Farms in nearby Irvine.
Tanaka Farms, founded in 1940 when Teruo Tanaka emigrated to the U.S. from Japan, began its partnership with Sanrio last fall: Its pumpkin patches featured plywood stands with Hello Kitty and other characters. In the winter, that switched over to a Santa tour and a Sanrio village; this spring, visitors can pick strawberries in Tanaka’s fields and then pose for a selfie with a statue of the lady Kitty herself.