Fast food development: China


We could hardly leave China behind without completing our assessment of its fast food development.

Big cities have a reasonable number of western fast food outlets, especially in the richer areas. In Zhengzhou, featured in the photo above, we noted six separate KFCs in the square out the railway station. In fact, KFC seems to be the fast food of choice. It’s telling that McDonald’s also offers fried chicken in a kind of can’t-beat-them-join-them sort of way.

We confess to having sampled some k-fry, once when famished on our return from the Great Wall. Once when sort of lost in a train station. We can recommend the sichuan style burger and the prices. You’re looking at about $4NZD for a combo. That’s certainly not the cheapest meal available, but it’s cheaper than a flat white at the Shanghai branch of fuel. Other western brands are priced similarly.

There are no western fast food brands in small town or rural China. None. And by small town we mead small town in a Chinese sense, say, cities under a million people. That, combined with the pricing leads us to conclude that China is a stage 3: Western fast food is available in most towns or cities and is an aspirational brand for the middle classes (with a price tag to match).


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