My hometown newspaper (Mpls. Star Tribune) had an article today about Burger King's plans to enter the China market.
to fast food, Western-style outlets rule. For this you can thank — or
blame — changing consumer tastes, and the breathless expansion plans
of chain restaurants, which are eager to grab a bigger slice of the
country's estimated annual $29 billion fast-food market.For two decades the battle for the modern Chinese stomach was fought
between two American giants: McDonald's, the world's largest fast-food
chain, and Yum Brands Inc., which operates the KFC and Pizza Hut brands
in China. In April Burger King had only 12 outlets on the mainland, including
nine in Shanghai. But after this cautious start, the company is pushing
ahead with a faster store rollout: In June it announced plans to open
between 250 and 300 outlets in China over the next five years,
including another 10 restaurants in Shanghai. As in other markets, 90
percent of them will be franchised and one-tenth owned by Burger King.
For comparison, KFC has more than 2,200 outlets in some 450 cities and
McDonald's has 950 outlets.
Now this is a battle that I can sink my teeth into! The article goes on to write about Beijing's first Burger King, which opened at the new airport Terminal 3 about a year ago. Of course many of the local Americans were thrilled, and I know some who even made special trips out to the airport just to eat there. Not me, of course. But I did manage to check it out in August while I was at the Terminal 3 meeting some friends coming in from the US. For the expressed purpose of eating at Burger King, I made an early trek to the terminal. Since it was my first time to Terminal 3 (which is HUGE), it took me a bit of hunting to find the place, up on the second floor overlooking the check-in area. Once there, I encountered a long line. Never mind. I was just happy to be standing in a BURGER KING line in Beijing. Unfortunately, it was a big let-down. I asked for some extra mustard and they told me that they didn't have mustard. Not at all? NO! NO MUSTARD FOR YOU! Sure enough, my burger did not have any mustard on it. Can you imagine??? I'm sorry, but a hamburger with no mustard has no meaning. Period!!! One thing is certain—I will not make special treks to Terminal 3 to eat mustardless hamburgers!
Now, if I can only persuade Culvers to come to China…….a Beijing Butter Burger……OK, now I'm dreaming!