Fast Food Chains Trying to Reinvent Themselves in China


Published Date : Feb 17, 2016

A scandal at a supplier in 2014 has led Chinese consumers to walk away from fast food joints. Yum! Brands, which owns Pizza Hut and KFC, and McDonald’s have struggled over years to dominate the Chinese fast food market but with the supplier Husi Food Co. being punished by court, both Yum! And McDonalds are trying to improve their images across the food chain. Chinese consumers are becoming less tempted by fast food and are looking out for healthier options, like their Western counterparts. Further, the rapidly expanding consumer class is shifting their focus on Chinese culinary heritage.

‘Create Your Taste’- The Customized Burger Joint by McDonald’s

Since last year, McDonald’s has started taking efforts to know their customers’ preferences. The customized burger joints ‘Create Your Taste’ encourages diners to choose their bun, burger, salads, and dressings. McDonald’s has opened 11 such joints so far and is planning to open 150 more this year. In Beijing, the first McDonald’s CYT restaurant has opened in January and is witnessing long queues of waiting customers. According to industry experts, McDonald’s is trying to get itself associated with trendy and healthy lifestyle to attract new generation of customers.

Pizza Hut Comes Up with Posh Furnishing and More Original Italian Offerings

Following McDonald’s footsteps, Yum! Brands’ Pizza Hut announced its plan last year to boost its business across China. Accordingly, KFC and Pizza Hut will be more flexible in adapting to changes in the China market. Pizza Hut is trying to offer enhanced dining experience to its customers with posh furnishing and more original Italian offerings. Though analysts have stated that it is too early to determine the effects of reinvention by these brands across China, it might be possible to repeat the Starbucks story. Starbucks entered the Chinese market quite late but managed to create a premium image among the middle class consumer’s segment.