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Fried chicken VS roast duck: the story along a street
Updated: 2004-12-31 15:53

The four-year and half Sun Qinglong is treating himself to favorite fried chips, a snack he can never get enough of.

"Mummy, I want more," he says, in the florescent lit KFC chain store in Shijiazhuang, capital of north China's Hebei Province. Sun and his mother eat out at KFC twice a month.

Opposite the American fast-food chain, about 100 meters way stands Quanjude, a tasty, traditional Chinese roast duck restaurant.

"I never brought my kid to Quanjude before, I heard that it is expensive there," said Cai Liping, Sun's mother, an ordinary worker in Shijiazhuang, pointing to the shining duck logo of Quanjude from KFC's window.

Along the direction of her finger, the brown round tables and chairs are lined orderly within Quanjude's hall, with exquisite droplights hanging from ceiling, and chefs with white hats are busy roasting ducks in the kitchen.

The 140-year-old Quanjude boasts of traditional recipes of Roast Peking Duck. It is a brandname shop of long standing famous nationwide for its culinary creation.

"We do not vie with KFC," said Wang Meihua, the department manager of local Quanjude chainstore. But, she said, with the different style of restaurant the competition is not serious.

"Our dinner takes time, but KFC serves fast food, and can be taken away," said Wang.

Quanjude boasted of 56 working procedures from a live duck to a dish served on table, and seasoned chefs are indispensable.

The skill on how to toast a duck is not easy to learn and the prices here are much higher than that of fast food chainstores including KFC.

"The fee here is about 50 yuan (about 6 US dollars) per person,"said Wang, "but in KFC, 20 yuan (2.4 US dollars) is also OK."

Wang said the need for skilled chefs and higher prices have hindered the expansion of Quanjude; there are only two Quanjude chainstores in Shijiazhuang, and some 50 stores throughout China.

KFC started its first store in China in 1987, and the number surged to more than 1,200 in 2004, covering all over China's provinces and autonomous regions except Tibet Autonomous Region.

"Our expansion speed can not compare with fast food chain store," acknowledged Wang.

KFC belongs to Yum! Brands Inc., the biggest restaurant group in the world, which also owns Pizza Hut, A&W and Long John Silver's.

In 2003, Yum! got a turnover of 9.3 billion yuan (1.1 billion USdollars) from China, which has seen the fastest growth rate in the global business of KFC.

Quanjude Group sells about 10,000 roast ducks per day, and enjoys a yearly turnover of 700 million yuan (84.3 million US dollars).

"I like KFC's fried chicken and ice-cream most, McDonalds is also good," said Sun. While Sun's mother said that she wants to taste roast duck in Quanjude if she has the chance.

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