Though KFC is struggling stateside, in China it is dominating over all other fast food rivals, even global juggernaut McDonald’s. In some parts of the country, the image of Colonel Sanders is more ubiquitous than Mao’s, reports Bloomberg Markets magazine. That’s no mean feat in a country that has proven resistant to foreign penetration. The secret, is in the sauce, using local ingredients in the food as well as its management team, building up partnerships with local suppliers and catering menus to include regional dishes.
The strategy has worked. Yum brands, which owns KFC along with Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, opens a new store in China every 18 hours and has a 40% market share in the country. McDonald’s only has 16%.
Chinese KFC’s offer the “Dragon Twister,” a Peking duck-sauce soaked chicken wrap, as well as spicy tofu chicken. But bending to meet local tastes doesn’t just stop with the menu. While McDonald’s in America often host birthday parties, the KFC’s in China advertise that they will host parties for the parents of boys who have just undergone ritual circumcision.
Instead of telling consumers what they want or just trying to sell the same stuff that worked in a different country, they worked with the indigenous population, found out actually what they wanted, and then sold it to them.
McDonald’s No Match for KFC in China as Colonel Rules Fast Food [Bloomberg Markets magazine]