Chicken outlet feeds fast-food frenzy
( 2004-01-17 11:47) (China Daily by Zhang Lu)
Fast-food goers will have more choices when ordering a meal at Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) outlets, as the US chain plans to develop new products catering to local stomachs.
Over the past year, KFC has adapted to Chinese tastes by introducing menu items such as the "Duck Soup" and the "Old Beijing Twister" -- a wrap modeled after the way Beijing Roast Duck is served, but with fried chicken inside.
"Our experience shows that the adaption to Chinese taste has gained popularity for KFC among customers," said J. Samuel Su, president of Yum Restaurants China, the brand owner for the Chinese market.
Su said he was optimistic about the KFC brand in China at a press conference on Friday marking the opening of KFC's 1,000th outlet here.
In addition to the promotion of new products, Yum will continue to open more KFC restaurants in China, Su said.
"We will continue to maintain KFC's current fast growth rate here," he said without giving specific figures of KFC's expansion plan this year.
The company opened 231 new KFC restaurants across the country in the year 2003 and 200 in 2002.
Some insiders worry that outlets may face problems due to such rapid growth.
KFC's major rival, McDonald's, has just opened 560 outlets and plans 100 more for this year.
"Though we have opened 1,000 outlets, the market here, with a huge population, is far from saturation,'' Su said.
"And the good market return in recent years supports the company's fast development," Su added.
Yum has placed China as the most important market in its global development, he said.
Since the opening of its first restaurant in Beijing in 1987, KFC have spread into 230 cities in all the provinces and regions, except Tibet.
The company is now planning to enter the southwestern market.
"We are expecting to open outlets in Tibet as soon as possible, but at present I can't tell you the exact time," Su told reporters.
The major difficulty for entering Tibet is in guaranteeing supplies to the proposed outlet in a place with limited road, rail and air links.
In addition to the opening of regular KFC restaurants, the company is to present a new outlet model. The fist KFC Drink & Dessert outlet is to open in Beijing on Sunday, according to Colin K.C. Tan, general manager of Beijing KFC Co Ltd, under Yum Restaurants China.
"The D & D outlet will not only serve customers drinks and desserts we already have, but also newly-developed ones which will not be sold at KFC," Tan told China Daily.
KFC also plans to increase the number of drive-through outlets, currently limited to one in Beijing, as there is sharp growth in private car ownership among urban Chinese.
Yum is also planning an expansion for its other two restaurant brands, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.
"We will open at least 10 more Pizza Hut restaurants in Beijing and will step up home deliveries," said Samuel Chen, general manager of Beijing Pizza Hut Co Ltd.
So far, Yum operates 22 Pizza Hut restaurants in Beijing and over 120 nationwide, and six Pizza Hut Delivery outlets in Shanghai and Beijing.
"With improving living standards, people would like to enjoy tasty foods at home rather than going outside, therefore, I believe Pizza Hut Delivery will be developed even faster than restaurants," Chen said.
Plans are also underway for Taco Bell, an American and Mexican fast-food restaurant, which currently has only one location in Shanghai.
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