Pizza toppings include Beijing duck and seafood. It took off quickly, and so did the Harvard-educated Okawara, who climbed through the company ranks and served as president and CEO of Kentucky Fried Chicken Japan from 1984 to 2002. Though predominantly Western-educated, being ethnic Chinese, they inherently understood China. Today, KFC and McDonald’s are the top-grossing American fast-food chains in China, with KFC consistently leading ahead of McDonald’s. The highest Pizza Hut in the world is perched on the 24th floor of a skyscraper in Xiamen, a city (population: 3.5 million) in the Chinese province of Fujian. “You have open kitchens and fairly decently maintained dining rooms. With more than 5,000 restaurants in 1,100 cities in China, KFC dominates the country’s fast food landscape. “The thing about China is that it’s a very large market,“ Dong says. KFC grew quickly and attracted urban consumers—particularly women, children, and young professionals—and became a magnet for tourists and out-of-town visitors. “You can have a semi-captive audience when you’re next to tourist sites,” Dong says. Opened in 1987 in Beijing, it was quite the affair in a world where folks still wore Mao-style tunic suits and got around primarily by bicycle. There are many international fast food chains in China like McDonald’s and KFC. KFC is best known for serving fried chicken to Americans by the bucketful, but it actually makes most of its money in China. “That’s a signal that they have confidence in the market and are not pulling back.”, Clarissa Wei is an LA-based journalist who has spent extensive time in China and Taiwan.Editor: Daniela Galarza, The freshest news from the food world every day, Why China Loves American Chain Restaurants So Much, Sign up for the [Chinese consumers] feel that American companies won’t cheat in the way that Chinese companies will cheat,” says Dong. After a … While these dishes may seem odd to the average American, Chinese consumers do not have predisposed biases as to what hamburgers, bagels, and burritos should taste like, allowing for more creativity. Restaurant brands like KFC, McDonalds, and Starbucks have been expanding rapidly in China. While KFCs in China serve fried chicken, they also serve a variety of local dishes like egg tarts, congee (rice porridge), and the “Dragon Twister.”. Pizza Hut and McDonald's were launched in China in September and October 1990, respectively. “The thing about China is that it’s a very large market,“ Dong says. According to a report from IBIS, the fast-food industry in China generated roughly $150.9 billion in 2017, up 9.6 percent from 2016. Fried chicken became so popular that dark humor went around that KFC laced its chicken with opium to get Chinese hooked on foreign products again. And this is not an exaggeration. McDonald’s plans to open 2,000 additional restaurants in China, which will make China the company’s second largest market after the U.S. And China is the biggest earnings driver for Yum Brands, which owns Pizza Hut and KFC; it announced plans to add more than 15,000 restaurants in the next 15 years. The lettering is a modern take on its old logo (pictured above). There’s often a wait for seats; calling in for reservations is highly recommended. E-bikes weren't always so popular on the mainland. Starbucks has an ou… In early 1988, Bank of China took a 25 percent stake in the venture, and KFC's original stake was diluted to 51 percent. Both brands are American fast-food copycats, with menu items like chicken nuggets and burgers. The answer is a mix of timing, adaptation, and marketing ingenuity. McDonald’s has had a more difficult time catering to the Chinese palate. KFC's China operations also benefited from factors beyond its control. In 1987, when the first Chinese KFC opened in Tiananmen Square, Western-style fast-food restaurants were unknown in China. 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In addition to being the world’s most populous country, Dong points out that “the population is highly concentrated across the eastern seaboard of China from Beijing, back to Guangzhou, and Shanghai in the middle” — and Western brands have been especially proficient at securing prime real estate in these cities, especially at iconic historical sites. So at the age of 64, Sanders took to the road, with a pressure cooker and a bag of seasoning. 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Adapting to local tastes has been integral to the success for American brands, but the embrace of American chains in China goes far deeper than just good food. As of 2016, KFC still holds 11.6% of the market share in China, according to Euromonitor, far ahead of McDonald’s 5.6%. In China, KFC has achieved such dominance over McDonald’s and local rivals that Colonel Harland Sanders’s image is a far more common sight in many Chinese cities than that of Mao. Moreover, KFC was one of the first fast-food restaurant chains to expand internationally, including the opening outlets in Beijing, China, in November 1987 (KFC Website, 2013). Even so, American chains are not immune to their fair share of scandals. McDonalds in China is as efficient as it is anywhere in the world, so being in China has nothing to do with KFC’s problems. KFC is owned by a company called Yum! The rise of American chains in China is as remarkable as it is almost incomprehensible in its scope. They don’t trust the medicines because almost every other day there’s some kind of scandal about tainted food: used cooking oil, gutter oil, and adulterated meat and vegetables that have loads of pesticides on them.”. Pizza Hut in China has a full wine list and a three-course menu complete with dessert. So as a result, there was a huge fascination with foods that are completely foreign to the Chinese palate.”. The last couple of decades have been challenging for KFC, while the chicken business has been booming for its rival Chick-fil-A, which passed KFC as the No. History. Häagen-Dazs markets itself as a premium brand and often decks out its stores in gold accents and posh red furniture to target the higher-end consumer. Chains like Pizza Hut and Häagen-Dazs have been able to leverage the Chinese intrigue and trust of Western brands and rebrand themselves completely. “And when you’re next to tourist sites you have foreign and domestic customers. China opened its economy to the outside world 30 years ago, sparking a natural curiosity towards Western culture and brands. Beans — some of which are grown in the southwest province of Yunnan — are stored in a 40-ton copper cask. Please BAN all KFC and McDonalds fast food restaurants for the good of China. The operation was a joint venture, with a 60 percent stake held by KFC, 27 percent by the Beijing Tourist Bureau and 13 percent by Beijing Food Production. The menu is expansive, with pizza and pasta, salads, steaks — there’s even a brunch menu with bacon and scrambled eggs. In the U.S., where bikes are still overwhelmingly used for recreation rather than transportation, e-bike sales are expected to break 200,000 this year, or about 1% of China's sales. The restaurant was an instant success, with customers lining up outside the restaurant for months on end after it opened. Many also ca… Starbucks has an outlet near the Great Wall of China. Here's what it was like. “You’re dealing with a civilization that pretty much closed itself off to the outside world for the greater part of the post-World War II period,” Dong says. The 29,000-square-foot monolith opened in December 2017 and still draws a line out the door; it’s a massive operation that has the capacity to serve 6,000 to 7,000 customers each day. But, at least in China, KFC is far more than just a fried chicken specialist. McDonald’s opened not long after that, in 1990. McDonald’s notably brought its own french fry vendor, Simplot, to China to grow its own potatoes. And in 2012, KFC and Pizza Hut owner Yum Brands was hit with allegations that its suppliers had injected hormones and drugs exceeding food safety limits into their poultry. What happened in China with Yum! KFC was the first American fast-food chain to touch down in China. Because China is so big this has a huge impact on the rest of the global food system. We took a 4-hour flight on the new Delta Airbus jet that Boeing tried to keep out of the US. Today, a Starbucks store opens in China every 15 hours, and on a recent earnings call, the brand said China will surpass the U.S. as its largest market within a decade. Craft beer and nitrogen-brewed tea are readily available, and the food and baked goods are provided by Rocco Princi, a famed Milanese baker. Many Chinese still wore the tunic suits of the Mao era, and bicycles were the main means of transportation. KFC was the first American fast food chain to launch in the country, opening its first China branch in 1987. But how did American companies get to this point in a country where, just 30 years ago, foreign businesses were mostly prohibited? It will generally be easier for you to order food at a fast food restaurant that you are already familiar with, but keep in mind that there may be variations in the menu and some things might not be available. KFC’s first location was on the southern edge of Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. ... ‘One of the reasons the campaign lasted so long is … “There’s a trust arbitrage in China,” Dong says. “Starbucks is a place where you can sit down and have a coffee and chat with your friends.”. Over the past five years, industry revenue has grown at rate of 11.2 percent annually, compared to 3.1 percent in the U.S. over the same period. CNN Travel explores how the American fast food chain grew to be synonymous with the holiday seeason. Back then, a KFC meal was considered a luxury to most Chinese. But high costs soon became associated with high quality and being American, so KFC became popular in China. KFC is extremely popular in China — it made almost 5 billion dollars in 2017. Brands, and with KFC in particular, had a lot to do with China division chairman and CEO Sam Su. What Are Hot Chocolate Bombs and Why Are They Suddenly Everywhere? In 2015, Simplot was fined for water pollution. Although Yum Brands still controls more market share, domestic companies like Hua Lai Shi and Ting Hsin International Group (which owns the burger chain Dicos) are slowly catching up. They also have ghost shoppers to check on the stores.”. Quality is accomplished by establishing independent supply chains. Then came 2,000 other outlets, which sprung up across China within the next 20 years – a phenomenal achievement by any standard. Key to KFC’s success in the country has been catering its menu to local tastes. There’s a spectacular view of the glistening harbor and the adjacent island. In Japan, Christmas is a time to feast on KFC. And if there is any truth in the survey results, YUM is facing a bumpy road in China. Even smaller brands are getting into the game: NYC-based burger chain Shake Shack recently announced it will open in Shanghai in 2019. For many Chinese, it was their first taste of the Western world; the food was exotic and the experience felt a tiny bit illicit. Why Japan Is Obsessed With Kentucky Fried Chicken on Christmas ... the popular American fast food chain KFC. What happens in China, what Chinese people eat, impacts what you and I pay for food." That's why within the next four years, McDonald's plans to open a new outlet daily in China. KFC is by far the most popular fast food chain in China. Key to KFC’s success in the country has been its aggressive catering to Chinese tastes, with menu items that will never make their way to US restaurants. In Fujian, the chain that’s struggling to survive in the U.S. is a popular date-night spot that attracts couples dressed to the nines. Not only is the KFC name simply faster and easier to say, according to the official KFC website, but other reports also note that the nickname was already popular with customers, too. Risotto comes studded with mushrooms; clam chowder is served under a pastry puff cap. Source:Supplied “And even before WWII, they did not have a lot of exposure to the West. Locking in real estate at heavily trafficked hot spots has been at the core of these companies’ development plans. Proving that it knows how to cater to Chinese tastebuds while maintaining its American brand identity, the chicken purveyor also serves pork chops, curry, congee, deep-fried crullers (a Chinese breakfast staple), and the most authentic Portuguese-style egg tarts in all of China. I decided to give KFC a try on a recent trip to China to see what it was like. Despite the increased competition, Dong says American companies don’t seem to be slowing down their Chinese expansion plans. In addition to being the world’s most populous country, Dong points out that “the population is highly concentrated across the eastern seaboard of China from Beijing, back to Guangzhou, and Shanghai in the middle” — and Western brands have been especially proficient at securing prime real estate in these cities, especially at iconic historical sites. Foreign fast-food still popular in China (Xinhua) Updated: 2005-06-06 13:45. Although customers didn’t like the food much, KFC made steady progress, ac… McDonald’s, KFC, and Starbucks are growing faster in the Chinese republic than in the U.S. “Until recently people bought foreign products solely as a status symbol, so the more expensive the better,” says Antonio Graceffo, an economics PhD and MBA at Shanghai University. Today, as the vanguard of Western businesses, Kendeji,as KFC is known in the China, stands as sparkling economic testament to the influx of capitalism in the aftermath of Mao’s revolution in China. A massive crowd showed up for opening day, and the store sold over 2,200 buckets of fried chicken, raking in $83,000 USD in just 24 hours. The coffee chain is wildly successful in China, where it sells itself as an authentic taste of the West (unlike at KFC, the menu at Chinese Starbucks locations is largely the same as it is in the U.S.). Though options like rice bowls and bubble milk tea fill out the menu, the Chicago-based company hasn’t been as bullish on adapting its dishes for the Chinese consumer. In most urban environments in China, you can hardly find a seat,” says Arthur Dong, professor of strategy and economics at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business. Three leading internet sites went so far as to survey user opinions on the safety of KFC’s food. Last year, it launched KPRO, a health food-focused concept restaurant, in Hangzhou, China to test the country’s growing interest in healthy eating. “The Chinese consumer doesn’t trust anything. KFC became the first Western fast food company in China after its first outlet opened in Qianmen, Beijing, in November 1987. After opening in some of these major cities, [an American chain restaurant] can then slowly expand its footprint into the more inward regions of China.”. They will hold their store managers accountable. But it’s trying: In 2017, McDonalds sold an 80 percent stake in its China and Hong Kong operations for $1.7 billion, announcing that it would expand while focusing on menu adaptation. It was a place where residents with spending money could go for a special occasion. Go to a fast food restaurant if you want something familiar. "He really flexed the model," says Shelman. It quickly became a symbol of the country’s rapidly reforming economy and newfound openness to the world. Brands, which also owns Pizza Hut. 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KFC is popular in China because its western food, and chinese also likes to taste ot, just like Mc Donald. One of the coffee bars spans 88 feet and is touted as the longest in the world. Starbucks stores in China are up to 40 percent bigger than even their largest U.S. counterparts, according to Quartz, a smart tweak that allowed the brand to stand apart from other American concepts trying to attract Chinese customers. McDonald’s only has around 2,500 restaurants. Forget turkey. Fast Food Insider posted an episode of a ... with 5200 locations China is home to the most C S in the world In comparison Mcdonald's only has around 2500 locations So why is C? Pizza Hut isn’t the only American company to completely rebrand in China. While American brands are not infallible, there’s a pervasive belief in China that American companies hold themselves to much higher standards than their Chinese counterparts. 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